Pre-: a prefix originally seen in Latin; means “prior to”, “in advance of”, “beforehand”, and “before”.
Fumbling through hastily written notes over radioactive decay and polyatomic ions, I wondered why I couldn’t have been in a Chemistry class last year that could have prepared me more for the AP class.
Then came the epiphany. Isn’t that exactly what Pre-AP is?
The problem facing the Pre-AP classes, in terms of its success in preparing students for AP, is not in the curriculum. It is in the mixture of students enrolled in the classes.
What if the administration had actually separated the students planning who planned on learning and understanding the material from the other students who would have been more comfortable taking the class at a slower pace?
This is a dilemma almost exclusive to non-GT students. Just because a student has not tested as “Gifted and Talented” does not mean they should be clumped together with every other student in the school. There is more to the spectrum of student intellect and ability than simply “gifted” and “everyone else”. The “everyone else” group of students should still be given the right to choose to be in classes with more like-minded students.
For example, if every student was who participated in athletics was automatically placed on the varsity team, there would be several quarandries, such as a) not every student is capable, or willing to put in the strife and struggle to play for the varsity team, b) the varsity team would lose their elite status and respect, as they would be more of just a nice name to describe the team than an actual program, and, most importantly, c) rather than bringing every athlete to the level of the varsity athlete, the athletes would bring the varsity level athletic program down to the average athletic level.
The organizing officials of the district should recognize the honest fact that not every student is capable of handling the Pre-AP workload or taking a course of study in Pre-AP rigor. There is nothing substandard that not every student learns at that pace or is willing to put in the time and needed for those classes. The problem, however, is that the administration groups all of these students together in one class and hopes to get them to learn at the exact same pace.
Unfortunately, these students slow down the class and create difficulties for the other students enrolled in the class. Not every student intends on taking an upper-level science course. Not every student is dead-set on hitting the books on a regular basis every night. So why should the administration treat every student like they are the same by just lumping them all together in one class in hopes of forcing all students into that Pre-AP program of study?
Should these students really be enrolled in the same class as the students who plan on studying higher-level sciences, or who at least want to try to be successful? Should they take away the teacher’s time and energy from the other students who want to learn even more? The instructor only has a limited amount of time per class and should not have to spend half the class attempting to explain the topic to the kid who did not do his homework the night before, or any night of the school year, for that matter.
If the administration values the individual qualities of the students enrolled in this school, then they should recognize the fact that not every student should be forced into enrolling into Pre-AP classes when they are not capable of handling the course. Every student is different. Each and every student has his or her own unique goals and aspirations, whether it be to get a perfect score on the AP Chemistry exam or to simply pass the regular Chemistry class. Why is it that a student cannot enroll in classes that reflect their personal ambitions?
To play the devil’s advocate for a bit, I will back up the district’s decision to make every student enroll in Pre-AP from the perspective that students should be challenged and since 99.9% of graduates will be going onto college, the Pre-AP/college-prep track is obviously the premium path to get these students prepared for their futures. However, with every single student in the school enrolled in Pre-AP core classes, the curriculum of these classes loses its rigor, challenge, and ability to truly prepare the student for college and beyond.
I am in no way trying to say that our school is a bad school. In reality, it is an unparalleled institution that is one of the best schools around, and one that I, and every other student in this school, is fortunate to attend. However, the only point that I intend to convey is that there are a few flaws in the system that will hopefully be fixed soon.