Letter to the Editor: Time to replace the AP courses

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In a possible glimpse at hope for American education, some private schools have taken a stand against Advanced Placement courses. These schools dropped AP exams, believing in their teachers to create a challenging curriculum without conforming to College Board standards. In these schools, teachers want students to to take classes of interest without worrying that the prestigious AP label won’t show up on their transcript.

At Montclair Kimberley Academy in Montclair, N.J. History Chairman Geoffrey Branigan dropped the AP US History course and replaced it with a Modern US History class focused on research and writing. Instead of an AP exam at the end, the students write a major paper and depending on its quality they receive a mark of distinction on their transcript. This class eliminates the stress of cramming all of US History into one year, the AP standard. This sort of movement towards credible education is a taste of what our educational system desperately needs.

Since arriving at Townsend Harris, I have realized that we are all slaves to our own education. We work and toil tirelessly for numbers. We feed our superficial desire to score higher than the person next to us, when in reality our education is supposed to serve us. Our knowledge is supposed to help us understand the world and the things transpiring within it. Scantrons and No. 2 pencils have taught me nothing. While AP exams are only a part of this flawed system’s problems, they are nonetheless a problem. There is no harm in being challenged, but AP courses claim to prepare us for college, when in practice they do not. It is our duty as students to recognize these faults. It is our duty to stand up and actually do something.

–Christina Marshall, junior