Advanced Placement? Or All People?

Advanced Placement? Or All People?

Emily Ludovic

Recently, the Lakota Administration decided to make it easier for students in regular classes to take AP/ honors classes. Now students can take whatever classes they want, without a teacher’s recommendation. More students than ever are taking difficult classes- and failing. This decision made by Lakota was a mix of wanting to better the education of the students and to increase the status of the district.  However, teachers have differing opinions on this change. 


One side of the argument, favored by West’s principal Mr. Brown, is that the school should challenge the students more, by having them take harder classes, even if it results in failure. This gives students an opportunity to work hard, and disciplines them when they experience failure in life. “We are preparing more kids for college” as Brown puts it. 


Many teachers agree with this idea. Mr. Phillips, for example, thinks that it’s better for a student to take an AP class and get a low grade, than taking the same class in the CP level, and getting an A, because it could potentially “save them thousands of dollars in student loans.” Another common argument is that students may have a difficult time getting into honors classes based on biases from their teachers, so Mr. Brown thinks that this gives kids “more opportunities.” 


However, many teachers are in disagreement with this idea because it puts too much pressure on students. New honors kids are not aware of what they are signing up for, and may not have the skill set needed to succeed in these kinds of classes. Teachers are left in a dilemma with having more kids than ever failing, and being “unable to slow down” because there’s too much material to cover. Mr. Brown believes that “teachers need to take a bigger responsibility” in teaching new honors students, and that it is the fault of the teacher if too many students are failing. 


Many teachers are rebutting this by claiming that “honors classes should be left for the students who have the skillset for a fast-paced class”. Teachers are claiming that the only reason the administration had made it easier for the students to take harder classes was to boast the status of the school. The more kids taking AP/ honors classes, the better the school looks. Many teachers believe that this decision should be revoked because it isn’t for the better of the students, and adds too much stress for the teachers and the students. 


Despite the different views on this topic, both sides seem to agree that students should be given more of an opportunity to drop their classes if it gets too challenging for them. Nevertheless, the school needs to do a better job at informing students on how hard a class is before they take it, which is why there has been a spike in failures in hard classes like APs. The decision the administration made has its pros and cons. When it comes to challenging students, how much is too much? Overall, students should build their responsibility, and be prepared for whatever challenges they face in school.