Very Upset With My H.S.





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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Very Upset With My H.S.
By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 07:10 pm: Edit

It's very odd that I'm writing this message now that I've graduated and now attending college, but I've recently been in contact with a friend of mine that is now a senior at my high school.

My high school has always had very limited course offerings. I didn't really notice that until I came to College Confidential. However, it is just getting worse and worse. Last year, when I was a senior, only four courses were offered to me. Now C (the girl that is currently attending my H.S.) is telling me that the school has now dropped AP English Literature (the quintessential AP course for ambitious seniors). There are four AP courses offered by my H.S., but they are really watered down because there is a lot of students forced into them that need remedial help (seriously, there were people in my AP Calc class that couldn't solve basic algebraic equations). As I mentioned on another board on this site, we had to delay learning genetics in AP Bio because they were individuals who didn't know how to multiply fractions and convert decimals into percentages. Only four academic courses were offered to C as well.

My H.S. does not offer rigorous courses senior year, they basically offer "gut courses" (designed to fulfill requirements for graduation without too much effort in order to increase the numbers of kids that actually graduate...which doesn't actually help as much as it should in theory). These "gut" courses are AP Psychology (not taught on AP level) and regular statistics (where the teacher stops teaching mid-year, it's actually a well-known fact in my H.S. that this happens, but no one does anything about it). These classes actually have huge enrollments, because they are the places that a lot of seniors on the cusp of not graduating pick up an extra credit.

I guess since there were a lot of safety issues last year (when we were named one of the "Top Ten Most Dangerous High Schools in NYC"), academics has taken a sort of backseat to extra police presence and heavy security.

I don't know why I'm so bothered now...but hearing that it's just getting worse and worse and the administration is not focused on stopping what's happening is making really angry. Students from my H.S. have always been involved in letter campaigns to Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein about various issues concerning academics and school safety, quite unsuccessfully, I might add. I wonder if anyone had any suggestions about how I could get some balls rolling on this issue. My school is really crippling its few ambitious seniors.

By Achat (Achat) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 07:55 pm: Edit

How about writing a letter to the NY Times about this issue? It would be pretty high profile if you could get it published.

It's great that you are concerned about the issue.

By Achat (Achat) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 08:10 pm: Edit

Also other newspapers in the locality as well sorry.

By Marite (Marite) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 08:12 pm: Edit

Candi:

I have always wondered how YOU managed to acquire such a wonderful education in that particular setting. All the more power to you. I agree that a letter to the NYT would be a good idea. If you can get a reporter interested, s/he could write an article on the topic; that would be even better. As for your friend, I hope she can find a way of compensating for the inadequate education she is getting.

ÓT but I've been meaning to ask about your nephew. Is he improving? Is your mom able to take classes as she had hoped to do?

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 08:31 pm: Edit

Thanks for the suggestions...I would like to write a letter to NYT...I wonder if I could do it anonymously, however. The school is split pretty evenly between faculty who want the school to improve at all costs (even if that means making a lot of ruckus) and faculty who don't want us to have any more negative press (but does it even really matter at this point?). I'm going to try to do it without ruffling too many feathers.

About my nephew (thanks for asking Marite), I've been meaning to post an update. He's stopped having digestive problems, entirely, and is becoming quite plump. He still has breathing problems, however. Since both his Mom (my sis), his Dad, my grandmother, my aunt, and myself have asthma (plus the fact that he has bad allergies and atopic dermatitis), we think asthma might be the cause. He's been able to go to daycare (thankfully!) and my Mom's been able to go to school. My mom is doing well in school and goes over assignments thoroughly and meticulously. She's quite impressive.

By Achat (Achat) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 08:41 pm: Edit

I don't know why you would write the letter anonymously. But you should know better about the situation.

Also finding a reporter who would be interested and writing to that person as Marite suggested would be good. Look in the Education section for names of people who do that kind of reporting for the NY Times.

By Achat (Achat) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 08:42 pm: Edit

Really glad to hear about your nephew doing well.

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 08:46 pm: Edit

Achat,

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear. I'm planning to go back and get involved with my high school in some capacity (mentoring, tutoring, etc.). I worry if I upset the afore-mentioned faculty (that doesn't want anymore negative press), I would be hurting my chances of doing so. However, I'm not sure that this is a good enough reason for not bringing the issue to light.

By Hoo_29 (Hoo_29) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 09:27 pm: Edit

Candi, you kick ass. What is your major at Yale? Your passion for changes in NY makes me wonder if Public relations/administration would be suitable for you.

By Marite (Marite) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 10:18 pm: Edit

Candi:

This might be a good reason for getting a reporter to work on the story. You can stay in the background.

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 10:31 pm: Edit

Marite,

Makes a lot of sense.

Hoo_29,

Gee...thanks. My tentative major at Yale currently is cognitive science on the neuroscience track. I don't know about public relations/administration. It seems that too many well-intentioned people in this line of work become frustrated because they lack the ability to affect significant change in their environment because of large, ineffective bureacracy. They just keep putting their all in, and they truly care, they just can't get the system to work with them. I'm trying to affect as much change as I can outside of the system...Don't know how successful I'll be, though.:)

By Cangel (Cangel) on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 08:31 am: Edit

Candi, so glad to hear your nephew is better. We read so much about the incidence of asthma in cities, your family puts a "face" on it.


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