Skip to comments.School districts move away from honors classes in favor of AP courses (to push minorities into AP's)
Posted on 05/24/2011 7:25:45 AM PDT by reaganaut1
Not long ago, honors courses were considered a hallmark of student achievement, a designation that impressed colleges and made parents beam.
Now, those courses are vanishing from public schools nationwide as administrators move toward a more inclusive curriculum designed to encourage underrepresented minority students to join their high-achieving peers in college-level Advanced Placement classes.
Fairfax Countys public schools are at the forefront of the movement, nudging would-be honors students toward more-rigorous AP courses, despite criticism from some parents that eliminating honors will have the reverse effect and lead some students to choose less-demanding standard education classes instead of AP.
Honors courses are generally taught from the same lesson plan as regular classes but at a faster pace and in greater depth. An AP course contains altogether more-challenging material charting a path that coheres to national standards, which are heavily endorsed by the Fairfax school system.
This fall, Fairfax will discontinue honors-level courses in subjects where an AP class is offered, drawing the ire of parents who want to restore what they call an academic middle ground. They have formed a group called Restore Honors Courses.
Prince William County took an even bolder stance about 10 years ago, doing away with the honors track. There has been resistance to that in other school systems including Montgomerys and Loudouns, where the honors option has been scaled back.
Considerable opposition from Fairfax parents has prompted the school board to review its decision to do away with high school honors courses that for years served as an alternative to basic and AP courses.
Weve found that traditionally underrepresented minorities do not access the most-rigorous track when three tracks are offered. But when two tracks are offered, they do, said Peter Noonan, Fairfaxs assistant superintendent for instructional services.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
I dunno, they could try studying and doing their homework like we had to.
I got an email yesterday from a high school senior girl who took AP English. There was not a single comma or period in her paragraph. Nothing was capitalized. Unbelievable.
I’ll keep on homeschooling my kids. They seem to have no problems getting scholarships and getting into colleges. And once there, they are at the tops of their classes. And I did it all without AP classes. Imagine!
Look for Fairfax AP scores to plummet. The next step will be 'dumbing down' the AP tests so that 'minorities' will 'perform better'.
The SATs and ACTs have already been dumbed down substantially. I helped my daughter study for them, and she got above 750 every time (and 800s on all three sections of the SAT, though not at the same time). The questions are easier and the test is shorter. And the "writing" section is a complete laugher.
Our high school (private, nominally Presbyterian - my daughter, my mother and I all graduated there) still has the three tier system and I'm sure will continue to do so.
I know I shout this all the time here but it's still true: School performance is FAR more dependent on the students' own willingness to work hard and desire to learn...which, comes from their PARENTS. Could it be that these "minority" kids come from households where the parents have 5th grade educations themselves and don't instill the value of education in their children? Naa, it would be racist to say that!
“A C? I guess the letter C stands for ‘My teacher is a racist’. I took AP Trigonometry to learn about stars and s%$#, not all these numbers. Find for X? Here it is, right here on the paper. How is that wrong?”
Just when you thought dumbing down education couldn’t get any worse.
My kids say the state AP exams are a joke. Luckily, we still have honors classes.
I guess AP will stand for: Almost Passing.
Now, they may "dumb down" the AP later, but until they do, I look at this as challenging the students more, not less.
Now that's progress!
State AP exams? Things may have changed, but AP was nationwide when I was a kid.
Check out Steve Sailer blog entry “The forever war over tracking” for good discussion of this
If you want college credit for an AP class I believe you have to pay a fee for the final exam and get a certain score on it ..B??? .. it would be interesting to see if the token students take the exams or pass them ..
I have mixed feelings here. AP courses now dominate kids lives. Add in all of the other resume building--and they don't have time for church or even just being a kid without becoming completely exhausted.
AP is not for everyone. In fact, I would argue that college itself is not for everyone. A college diploma is in fact "overvalued" in many cases. But the upper middle class is now obsessed with credentials.
I think you are confused. The Advanced Placement exams are national, not state exams, administered by the College Board.
Our high school started offering many more AP classes this year but I believe it was due to some large “grant” they received.
For our high school, the grant pays some of the test fees, some not. I had to pay 87.00 for the History AP test, I think, or it could have been the English one. Heck, I just write the checks as they ask for them. Daughter made a 36 on the English portion of the ACT and Auburn gives students making a 35-36 6 hours credit for English 101 & 102, I think, so the AP English score didn’t matter anyway.
Really? Where is AP a joke vs. Honors? Our kids, all the ones I know from 1st grade up to now in 11th, are working MUCH HARDER in the AP classes vs. the Honors. Many of these kids are having to “work” the first time in their public education lives. I’d say here the AP classes are much more in-depth and they are making them study, again, many for the first time after breezing through all the honor and T&G type classes.
Where I came from, “honors” and “AP” meant the same thing for seniors. For underclassmen, “honors” put you on track to the “AP” course as a senior, though you could work your way up into them (or down out of them) from year to year. I placed high enough on my AP exams to get 2 semesters college credit each for calculus and chemistry. (Add to that the fact that my college waived the freshman composition requirement based on my SAT verbal and high school class rank, and I actually finished my freshman year of college in one semester.)
For “non-academic” courses, an “honors” designation required putting in some form of extra work — in my music classes (band and chorus), honors students were required to put in the extra work and practice to audition for selection to the all-state music festival (oddly enough, I never made all-state chorus in CT, but I did make it to all-New England chorus my senior year — different auditions, different results, I guess).