By the students, for the students. We want to be relatable, and we want to accurately represent the students of HISD. Anyone can submit – see the sidebar to learn how. Powered by the HISD Student Congress.
Lynn Huynh, Carnegie, 2017
The media has brainwashed us into thinking that high school is full of boozy high school parties, jocks, preps, nerds, hipsters, and stoners.
Maybe it was just me, but this is what I expected from the time I was in elementary school until I found myself sitting in a high school auditorium for freshman orientation. I have never seen an accurate depiction of high school because the truth is that high schoolers are staying up until 1:00 AM — not partying, but studying for the next two or three tests (and they probably aren’t even done with the project due on the same day).
That’s a big truth for Carnegie, and the reality could get a lot worse.
For HISD superintendent Dr. Terry Grier, Carnegie Vanguard High School wasn’t enrolling enough students in AP courses because of the reputation Carnegie has for its rigorous academic curriculum.
The chances of adding AP classes are slim since out of the 37 AP courses available, Carnegie already offers its students 29. The eight other courses would require additional teachers to be hired, even if not enough students showed interest in those courses. With budget cuts and lack of classroom space, there’s little possibility that we could hire any more new teachers.
The only possible way to get around that is to cut down on electives. The limited choices would force students to enroll in AP classes that they most likely were uninterested in to begin with.
Students forced into AP classes who aren’t ready to take them, or don’t enjoy them, will participate less — and more importantly, not understand the curriculum. They’ll get behind, they’ll give up, they’ll hate school. Grades will plummet, and the chances of passing the class and the AP test will be lower (and those AP scores will go on your record for colleges!)
AP classes are for students who would enjoy the challenge in the subject being studied, for kids who would enjoy learning about the topic. What matters the most when considering what AP classes you should take is what you’d get out of that subject and whether the new information you’re learning could help your future. If I wanted to be an environmental engineer, then AP Biology would get me that head start before college and in my chosen profession…but honestly, I’m the worst with any sort of science and it’s just a never-ending struggle. But if I wanted to be a writer and were forced to take AP Biology because my school lost its Creative Writing Honors, what would be the point of taking that AP class? More importantly, I wouldn’t have that chance to further my studies in something I loved.
High school students continue to be more obsessed with their scores than with what they’re getting out of their classes. Some of us are barely passing subjects without understanding the curriculum, guessing on multiple choice questions, just to make ourselves into a good GPA for an education system that continues to look at students as numbers. The decision to cut down on electives, if put into place, would only reinforce that fact: that instead of humans, we’ve become numbers, statistics, facts.
So, Dr. Terry Grier, if you’re reading this, I invite you to visit Carnegie or any other HISD school. Talk to us, sit in an AP class. And if you’re going to be looking at any numbers, look at the hours of work expected to be done by students, look at the percentage of students at an unhealthy rate of stress and unhappiness, but most importantly, look at us as budding individuals with infinite potential to change the world, because that is who we actually are.