Letter to the Editor

As I find my seat on the second floor of the media center to take my AP English Literature and AP Calculus exams, it is hard not to be amazed at the number of people in the room. With the attention being given to education reform in the news, and the pressure within state and local governments to improve educational standards, it is understandable that school administrators would view this increasing participation as a positive. The bigger question, especially within the context of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, is at what cost does this increased participation come? The answer is simple: quality of education.

In 1955 the AP program was established to give the best and brightest high school students an opportunity to learn at a higher level and to place out of introductory-level college courses. However, this dynamic has shifted to a program where any student, qualified or not, is pressured to sign up for these classes to boost their transcript and improve the school’s rating. The result is larger AP classes and a dichotomy of student performance. It is important not to regard the program as an ultimate path to improving the school. In fact, I believe our school would benefit from scaling back our AP program and offering more accelerated courses. This would allow students to challenge themselves in a non-AP class while increasing the quality of respective AP courses.
There is no secret formula for successful educational reform, but our growing AP program seems like a great place to start.
Andrew Citera
Class of 2013