Why I (reluctantly) allowed my child to drop her first AP class

In 2014, the American Psychological Association announced the results of a study on stress in America in which teens reported their stress level was higher than adults. (AJC File)

Fifteen years ago, press releases from top colleges would brag incoming freshmen had taken an average of four or five AP classes. That’s a piddling tally now. Last week, Georgia Tech announced the average student admitted this year took 10 college-level courses while in high school.

Elite colleges contend five college-level courses are enough to be considered for admission. Yet, these same colleges urge high school students to take “the most challenging courses available at your high school.” If students follow that recommendation, they could easily end up with 10 AP classes on their transcript.

When my oldest daughter was a toddler, I hired college students to watch her in the afternoon. One of my sitters graduated a powerhouse suburban Chicago high school. The young woman arrived at Agnes Scott College with 11 AP classes, mostly in math and science. I remember being amazed as enrolling in three or four AP classes was considered ambitious in Georgia. Now, I often meet local teens packing their schedules with AP classes.

Is it a good thing? Some private high schools are rethinking how many AP classes they allow their students to carry because of the resulting stress and inability to do anything else but study. There was a great reader debate in the Washington Post on AP overdrive. I found this reader comment interesting as it reflects the contradictory messages:

This is getting ridiculous. I teach AP art history and most of my students are “AP kids,” taking several AP classes at once. My first year teaching there was this one very bright girl who started nodding off about every day toward the end of third quarter (just before AP testing started). I took her out in the hall to ask what was up. She told me that she was taking all kinds of medications for anxiety, depression, sleeplessness. She said she was taking seven AP courses and hoped to get into Penn State. I told her that AP classes are supposed to be college-level equivalents and that if she were a freshman at any university, she’d need administrative approval to take more than five courses. We let our kids drive themselves into the ground in competition with APs, and other things. End of story: she got into Penn State. So I must be the fool.

Allyson Gevertz was a school psychologist in Gwinnett County Public Schools before becoming the parent of children in DeKalb County Public Schools. Now an education advocate, she says crusading for all of DeKalb’s students is often easier than parenting her own. In this compelling column, she shares her experience with her child’s first AP class.

By Allyson Gevertz

For years I heard all the reasons my child had to take AP classes:  she will not get into good colleges without them, she needs the college credit, she will not be challenged by a general level class filled with low achievers.

This reasoning never quite squared with my core beliefs: teaching to the test is wrong, making academic decisions for a high school student can undermine their autonomy, fostering creative thinking leads to resiliency. I listened to parents boasting of their children’s 12-AP-class transcripts. I overheard students telling stories of textbook note-taking at 2:00 in the morning. I read studies showing that kids are cracking under pressure. My brain told me to be skeptical of the AP hype, but deep inside I figured that my student would take all the APs because that’s what’s done in our high-achieving culture.

This year, my daughter had her first chance to take an AP class. She signed up for it, met the teacher on registration day, and processed the “Final date to drop AP” deadline on the chalkboard. School started and the class delved into the subject matter with depth and speed. My daughter almost immediately told me that she didn’t like it. She found the material uninspiring, she didn’t like regurgitating what she memorized from the book, and she craved the opportunity to connect what she was learning to today’s reality.

I scheduled a meeting with the instructor, thinking the teacher could reassure my daughter that her needs could be met in the AP class. When we met, the teacher actually validated my daughter’s concerns. The focus of the AP class is passing the AP test to get the college credit. Because there is so much material to cover, class discussion is often cut short. AP students have the benefit of learning to digest large amounts of information, similar to a real college class; but students in the regular class have the benefit of time, regularly discussing the link between the material and the students’ own lives.

After a few more days of class, my daughter opted to drop AP.  I let her do it. I told myself that I was not a helicopter parent. It was not my decision. I was not the one doing the work. However, deep down, I felt that my daughter was giving up a piece of her future. I thought that the trajectory of her life was shifting and that certain goals would no longer be attainable for her.  Valedictorian, Ivy League, merit scholarships would not be options for her. I thought that she would regret her decision.

It’s nearing the end of the school year and I look back with amusement at my internal turmoil. I did the right thing by letting her make her own choice, but my concerns were misplaced. The subject she found uninspiring at the AP level is now her favorite. Instead of taking notes from a poorly-written textbook, she wrote a children’s book, created interactive games, and planned a character-driven tea party in her regular class. Fiery class discussions have led to a deep understanding of current events and pressing world issues.  The teacher has sparked my daughter’s love of learning, and that, ultimately, is what school should be about.

I’m not suggesting every non-AP class will have an amazing teacher who brings the subject to life. I am, however, suggesting that AP classes may keep students in a box that discourages creativity in favor of a “college experience.” Perhaps all 15-year-olds don’t need that experience. Maybe the work of digesting thousands of pages of dry text is better left for 19-year-olds.

My daughter’s choice has given her breathing room to enjoy high school, maintain outside-of-school activities that have nothing to do with academics, read books for pleasure, and get a good night’s sleep.  This may not earn her college credit or even a seat in a top-tier university, but I hope it will give her a dose of critical thinking, a sense of work/life balance, and the inspiration to solve real-world problems in her lifetime.  I’ve been telling myself that my daughter would be okay, but thanks to our AP experience, I’m finally believing it.

Reader Comments 0

58 comments
Grady Geep Flanagan
Grady Geep Flanagan

Sounds to me like your daughter's AP class sucked. Not all AP classes are that way. As a current- soon to be former- AP teacher, I can vouch that not all AP classes are that way. There are three teachers at Archer who I know very well that do not teach to the test. They teach the methodology of the test so that kids know what to expect and how to think. I have taken their methods and applied them in my own school. I teach the content (like I am supposed to) and I use practice tests to give the kids a glimpse of what is on the test. I also work heavily on breaking down what is on the test and what questions are really asking. I also play games, do impressions, make fun of everyone and everything, and challenge my kids to push themselves. Don't paint all AP classes with one stroke. Schools like UGA are trying to rectify a situation in which they take in a bunch of freshmen and lose half of them after one year because school is hard. How do you do that? You find the kids that supposedly have had that rigor. You find the AP kids. All AP classes aren't created equal and yours appeared to suck, but that doesn't make the program worthless. It means you had a bad teacher. 



Maryanne Kehoe
Maryanne Kehoe

I don't think AP classes are as important as they used to be. I think the overall grades and GPA are more important.

Lauren Godinez
Lauren Godinez

Honestly, I opted out of AP and took honors classes in high school. As I watched my AP classmates hate life and struggle to study, do sports/music, and have a part time job without killing themselves... I made A's, had a job, played in honors symphony, and enjoyed life. I got into a good college and I'm doing very well in my career. Zero regrets. It's ok to opt out of AP and not burn out your kids. And if they can't get into a top school off the bat, they can always transfer in later.

class80olddog
class80olddog

My youngest daughter had her eyes set on going to Georgia (my alma mater).  She maxed out the AP classes at her small rural high school, then took joint enrollment at Kennesaw State.  Even with all that, she was wait-listed (of course she was white and female, two strikes against her).  We found out to our surprise that UGA favors AP classes more highly than joint enrollment classes.  Yes, they may give you college credits, but only if you GET IN.  AP classes are just the new way of TRACKING - we did not have AP classes when I was in school - just HONORS classes.  The AP tests were available and you could get college credit if you made high enough on them.  BUt now, the average classes are so easy, and with grade inflation, all good students could easily have a 4.0 (heck, one girl had a 3.6 GPA but could not pass the GHSGT, a test my children referred to as "ridiculously easy").  In my day, NO ONE had a 4.0, because it was HARD to get an "A" in every class.  Now they give out 4.0s like candy, because teachers don't want students to lose HOPE.

DrTruth
DrTruth

You know, the more I consider the above, the more I see it as an unfair hit piece on AP classes.  Anyone involved with the education of their children knows how important individual teachers can be to not only their kids' academic success, but also their degree of interest in the subject matter.


This piece is seductively written as, "AP class uninspiring, boring, BAD, not necessary....."Regular" class has fiery discussions, takes kids out of a "box", GOOD, leads to critical thinking and success in life."  Since the teacher basically agrees, maybe the teacher shouldn't be teaching an AP class?


"The focus of the AP class is passing the AP test to get the college credit. Because there is so much material to cover, class discussion is often cut short. "  


Blanket statements like this are dangerous and in the case of our twin boys, simply not true.  Their AP Human Geography teacher certainly doesn't "teach to the AP test".  In fact, he doesn't teach the material, page by page, in class at all.  The students teach themselves the material in the textbook at home & during study time.  This frees up class time for discussions on everything from "So there's a theory about the universe and there's nothing outside of it. But when you go there, more universe is created." to "Have I shown you the video with the dog?"  Those are actual quotes from a former student, so I'm not joking here.


It sounds like this daughter got stuck with a (possibly over-matched) teacher that she didn't like....It just happened to be in her first AP class.  Now the daughter and parent blame "all AP classes and the AP system" and use that as a rationalization for "not playing the game" of AP classes and a rigorous course schedule, and her daughter will be successful anyway.


To each his/her own.  The parent doesn't consider the potential growth and maturation the daughter might have experienced by "sucking it up" and staying with the AP class, potentially working with the teacher on making some changes to liven up the class and even by leading fiery discussions in the AP class.  That's called "changing the world", albeit on a small scale....But it's what top colleges are looking for in today's students.


This is how some former students describe our boys' AP Human Geo teacher, "...isn't exactly the spawn of Satan like some people say..." and "... isn't the scum of the earth. Sometimes he sucks 100000% and others he's actually not horrible." and "...is the absolute worst excuse for a human.. im sorry... teacher.. that ive ever met."   and "He jokes around with sarcasm to keep you involved. He has taught me to be creative when your teacher finally lets you off the dog leash. I love the projects, and cooperation of the class. I would not want to miss this class because everyday I learn something interesting, and he also gives great life lessons that you just don't want to forget."  Those are actual quotes.


Sure, our sons could've bailed....In fact, I probably would have myself.  But they DIDN'T.  They've accepted the challenge and will even "debate" (individually) with the teacher when they get an answer wrong on a test.  Several times each one has proven their point sufficiently, and he awards them extra points on their tests.  As a parent, I admire my kids when they adapt and excel at difficult situations better than I know I would've at the tender age of 15.  Much of life involves adapting to and even changing difficult situations to the extent we can.  Better to learn this sooner rather than later.


Oh, they each got an A in the 1st Semester, and this teacher didn't give out many A's.  Not bragging....Just a proud parent.

Charlotte Manning Harrell
Charlotte Manning Harrell

In many states a high school teacher now must have a degree in a particular subject and then certification courses for teaching.

GA_and_Education_futile
GA_and_Education_futile

This is what I tell my kids, two are in college and one is a junior in HS, anyone can go to a college/university, but what's important is that you FINISH college. 


Folks, way too many people don't finish. 

Being/becoming an adult is hard work.  Parents, make sure you don't leave your kids out in the cold. Your kids are not adults yet. They are, as my mother says, "a baby chicken just hatching out the egg" and I mean the egg tooth has only made a dent in shell. 

A full adult does not live with their parents and they pay ALL their own bills. That is the goal and THAT IS A GIFTED CHILD.


Responding to the actual comment: I took an AP English class in HS.  I graduated in 1989. That class prepared me for college English classes.  The crap these days does not prepare the kids for anything...except the AP test.

Denise Roz Boone
Denise Roz Boone

My daughter went to a magnet school and she either took honor or AP classes. The last time she took a r e regular class was back in elementary school.

Christine Guide Montgomery
Christine Guide Montgomery

Great article. AP courses are too often overrated application-stuffers that eat up time kids need to think about what they're learning.

Beach Bound2020
Beach Bound2020

Balance and doing right for your child is the best approach.  A happy, hard-working, involved high school student is the ideal.  HOWEVER, do know if you choose that road, your child will not get into UGA or numerous other colleges.  The average for UGA is 11-13 AP/IB/Dual-enrollment courses.  Not fair, not good, but the reality.


A realistic plan should begin early in high school and come with parental support that a child for aim for a variety of college choices, not just one or two. And ultimately the best fit for post secondary far exceeds anything else.

LeaningLibertarian
LeaningLibertarian

As the parent of two boys now in highly-ranked colleges,  I support this parent's decision whole-heartedly.  I think my boys each took five AP courses over their high school careers.  They got 5s on their tests; and they also had time for sports, friends, and building Minecraft mods that actually earned them some money.  They had kids in their freshman classes who came into freshman year with 12 to 16 AP classes to their credit.  Who does that to their kids?  And both boys' schools have a limit of two AP courses accepted for credit towards graduation.  Two. Now, three years into college, no one cares about their AP classes, but people still recognize their Minecraft mods.


AlreadySheared
AlreadySheared


"By way of attempting to give the reader some general  impression of the way people lived together in those days, and especially of the relations of the rich and poor to one another, perhaps I cannot do better than to compare society as it then was to a prodigious coach which the masses of humanity were harnessed to and dragged toilsomely along a very hilly and sandy road. The driver was hunger, and permitted no lagging, though the pace was necessarily very slow.

Despite the 
difficulty of drawing the coach at all along so hard a road, the top was covered with passengers who never got down, even at the steepest ascents. These seats on top were very breezy and comfortable. Well up out of the dust, their occupants could enjoy the scenery at their leisure, or critically discuss the merits of the straining team. Naturally such places were in great demand and the competition for them was keen, every one seeking as the first end in life to secure a seat on the coach for himself and to leave it to his child after him.

By the 
rule of the coach a man could leave his seat to whom he wished, but on the other hand there were many accidents by which it might at any time be wholly lost. For all that they were so easy, the seats were very insecure, and at every sudden jolt of the coach persons were slipping out of them and falling to the ground, where they were instantly compelled to take hold of the rope and help to drag the coach on which they had before ridden so pleasantly. It was naturally regarded as a terrible misfortune to lose one's seat, and the apprehension that this might happen to them or their friends was a constant cloud upon the happiness of those who rode."


"Looking Backward" - Edward Bellamy (1888)


AlreadySheared
AlreadySheared

Today's AP "arms race", as it were, makes me picture anxious students working hard to scrabble their way to the top of the coach - go to a top-notch college and land a 60k+ job when they graduate.

That beats getting a degree from a second-tier school and end up waiting tables or working in a call center, or both, while their 30k+ of student debt looms over their heads.


DrTruth
DrTruth

One thing's for sure....The College Board is the big winner, again.  They control AP and they control the SAT.  There's an old adage in stock trading:  "trade with the trend".  Obviously the trend now is a highly rigorous course load in high school (AP, Honors, IB) and a near-perfect SAT score for the new generation of "high achievers".


As for my personal opinion, the jury is still out....But I'm quickly warming to the process.  At our HS parents' orientation, we were hammered with RIGOR! RIGOR! RIGOR!  Our twins, who just started HS last fall, took Honors Biology & AP Human Geography this year.  Their 1st Sem, one got all A's & the other had A's & a B (math).


Their study habits, compared to what they were in 8th Gr and my study habits as a HS FR, are pretty freakin incredible.  I no longer have to ask them, "Did you do your homework?" or "Did you study for your test?"  Most of that is done before they even get home.  It's like they're already at college at age 15.

BRV
BRV

It's an issue without clear cut answers. At parent orientation at my kids' very competitive high school the mantra was, "we've been over-emphasizing rigor for its own sake and students need to schedule their classes in ways that are challenging but not overkill." The principal stated that the change of heart was based in part on conversations with admissions officers at selective colleges.

I'm not sure I'd rush hour to link AP/honors/etc. classes with improved study habits either. My older child had good study habits in elementary school. She was eager to head off to Duke for three weeks at the end of seventh grade. Her sister who is in the same AP/honors track, not so much with challenging herself over the summer or with study habits. Good study habits are still a bit of a work in progress with my younger one.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@BRV All kids are different and all school systems are different, which tends to complicate things a bit.  I can say our twins were rarely "challenged" in K-8, so there was no need for study habits.  This changed with AP & Honors.  


I continuously drilled into their heads all summer that AP Human Geography was going to be the toughest class they've ever taken and they better be prepared for it and do well or they were going to get left behind by their friends.  I even bought them the same edition of the textbook they'd be using and "forced" them to read it over the summer.


Then the first AP HumGeo test came and nearly the entire class FAILED it.  My sons got the wake up call their 1st Sem of HS that I got my 1st QTR at GT.  It's possible that would've occurred anyway without an AP class, but based on K-8, I doubt it.


They now eat lunch for 30 min and the other 30 min they spend doing homework & studying.  This transformation happened in less than 1 Semester.  But we also want them to enjoy the HS experience, so we don't want them taking every available AP course and staying up until 3am every night to keep up in them.

TheDeal2
TheDeal2

@DrTruth @BRV You're talking out of both sides of your mouth.  They are cutting their lunch short to study, you ordered a textbook to read over the summer.  It doesn't sound like you want them to enjoy high school at all.  You are bragging that they are learning lessons freshman year in high school that you learned in college?  You sound like the type of parent that stressed over the elite preschool applications.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@TheDeal2  "They are cutting their lunch short to study..."  


You've obviously never seen my sons eat.  A 30 min lunch is a stretch.  If you take a full hour to eat your lunch, you probably need to go on a diet.  And I didn't tell them to study for 30 min at lunch....They developed that "study skill" all on their own.  Get it?


"you ordered a textbook to read over the summer."  


Yeah, they had 2 full months to read through a textbook that they would be re-reading over the course of their first 2 semesters of HS.  They entered AP Human Geography already familiar with the material.  Don't worry, my sons didn't cry while reading the book.  It's just a book.


"You are bragging that they are learning lessons freshman year in high school that you learned in college?"  


The nice thing about it is once you're old enough to have kids of your own, you'll get to take some pride in seeing them do things better than you did at that same age.  You'll see one day...


"It doesn't sound like you want them to enjoy high school at all."


Really?  The very last thing I said in my post was, "But we also want them to enjoy the HS experience..."  You seem to struggle somewhat  with reading comprehension.


"You sound like the type of parent that stressed over the elite preschool applications."


What?  You mean they actually have elite preschools?  Get out of town!!

panthergir88
panthergir88

Its a balancing act.  Some kids are intellectually ready for 10+ AP classes in high school.  My son took 12 AP classes (got As in 10 of them) and was not stressed or overly worked at all.  I would have been livid if the high school had tried to restrict the number of AP classes.  I can't imagine how bored he would have been in school.


However, most students probably are not intellectually ready for all of those AP classes, but because college admissions are becoming so competitive, they feel pressure to enroll in them.  I don't know the answer.  It seems wrong to tell a student that if you are not prepared to take 3 college level classes in 11th grade, you won't be prepared to attend UGA in 2 years.  

DrTruth
DrTruth

@panthergir88 I have to say our HS was right when they said to challenge our kids.  Didn't think ours were ready to start HS with an AP and Honors class their first year....They proved me wrong.  They've already signed up for AP World History & Honors Chemistry next year.


The only way to know if kids can handle the "rigor" is to challenge them...

Sharon Kirby
Sharon Kirby

Sometimes it is necessary to allow a student to drop a particular course, whatever the reason

TheDeal2
TheDeal2

A 15-year old is usually a freshman.  What would a freshman be doing signing up for an AP class anyway?  The problem with AP vs non-AP these days is that schools put their best teachers in the AP classes, so if your child wants the best teacher, they have to take an AP class. 

taylor48
taylor48

@TheDeal2 Many high schools have their freshmen take AP Human Geography.  It was one of the electives our HS signed my son up for next year.  He won't be taking it, because there are other electives he wants instead.  He will be taking AP Biology his sophomore year, and the AP classes will really begin in earnest Junior and Senior year.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@TheDeal2 " so if your child wants the best teacher, they have to take an AP class."


It seems you need to read the above story again.  The whole point of it was the AP teacher was awful & the regular teacher was superior.

Susan Carter Ricks
Susan Carter Ricks

The professors of the Gifted Program told the students and parents (in the summer of 1988 at UF) that the brightest students could do anything. However, their completion of multiple courses might well force them to make choices of a major before they were ready.

Angie Strickland Simpson
Angie Strickland Simpson

True. My older son did AP Geography and wound up not needing any geography for his major. It just counted as an elective.

Mailey McLaughlin
Mailey McLaughlin

I have never for one second in my 50 years on this planet regretted my college degrees (B.A. in English and Masters in Education). College was a valuable part of my intellectual, emotional, and social arc towards adulthood. That said, we as a society seem to be blind to the reality that success is not only tied to top-tier colleges, making straight A's, and being better than everyone else so kids can land lucrative, high-paying jobs that require 80+ hours of work a week and burn you out in a few years. Why do we do this? Success is relative. We need to stop trying to fit young people into little "success boxes" and let them have a bit more autonomy. When is the last time your teenager told you she loved school? Or that he loved multiple subjects in school because they were making him think? It seems like the exception, not the norm. For the majority of professions, grades stop mattering once you are in the real world. But love of learning is lifelong. Critical thinking is not a luxury.

gapeach101
gapeach101

I think any student who has 10 AP classes should have been dual enrolled for at least half of them.  An AP class is not a college class no matter what the College Board wants you to believe. 

Jmand65
Jmand65

@gapeach101 Nor is a dual enrollment class at community college equal to a class at a "Penn State" or other top college.  There is nothing wrong with them, but it is not the same level of professors or fellow students you would get at top universities.

BRV
BRV

The value of dual enrollment depends greatly on the college at which a student is dual enrolling and where the student intends to attend college. I had someone from a highly selective college tell me that they place much more value on AP classes than on dual enrollment classes at a non-selective college. I suspect that is a fairly common view in admissions at highly selective colleges.

gapeach101
gapeach101

@BRV I agree where you dual enroll matters.  Anyone who can hop Marta can attend Ga State, a research university.  All three of my children dual enrolled there, and enjoyed the freedom it offered.  As my daughter said "mom, my calculus teacher doesn't care if I do my homework".   And she didn't.  All that mattered was the student's test scores.  

class80olddog
class80olddog

@gapeach101 @BRV But dual enrollment classes won't necessarily get you into a good school. Of course, if you just want to go to Georgia State...

Legong
Legong

When it comes to education Ms. Gevertz deludes herself on many levels. But if she or her daughter gets seriously ill, I hope for their sake the treating doctors and supporting hospital staff are products of a more realistic view.

GenXEnglishMajor
GenXEnglishMajor

@Legong I'm speaking from experience having been the end-of-life care-giver for a terminally-ill parent. Quite often there are complications with illnesses that have more to do with luck and genetics than the quality of the hospital staff's training or the doctor's education. And if the illness is terminal, not even the best doctor in the world can save you or your loved ones. However, even the best doctors from top-tier medical schools can--and, quite often, do--make mistakes. No amount of education, no matter how high the quality, will ever overcome human fallibility.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

I'm pretty sure my high school offers only 5 AP classes at all, now, and 12 years ago I think it offered 3.


I'm not seeing this AP or bust emphasis here.

bu22
bu22

@Wascatlady The AP has morphed.  It used to be solely to get college credit.  My HS (way back in the 70s) was very good, but I think only had 5 (English, Calculus, History, Biology and maybe Chemistry)-and I can't say I knew anyone who took more than 2 as only English and Calculus were not electives.  Then kids took only in their SR year, because that is when you took the test.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@xxxzzz @Wascatlady This dates me, but in the late 60s there were no AP classes at my high school (about 1200 students).  There was a  "college prep" English, but otherwise we were sorted by the ""plain old" classes we took.


When you got to college, if you judged yourself particularly good at something, you could attempt to CLEP out of it.  I probably should have CLEPed out of Spanish and gotten credit for it.  I did get to, due to scores, get 3 quarters of English credit for 2 quarters of classes, but that was it.

bu22
bu22

@Wascatlady @xxxzzz I only took AP in English and still placed out of 17 semester hours (various subjects-mostly science).  And I didn't try the Spanish CLEP either, but probably could have gotten some more credit there.  Someone above said their student's university only allowed a maximum of 2 AP tests to count for college credit.  So, at least at that school, its previous purpose of placing you out of college courses is pretty limited.

bu22
bu22

@Wascatlady @xxxzzz There were a number of subjects with honors classes when I was in high school.  Now they seem to be "branding" their offerings as AP at the top, honors in the second tier and then regular/college prep at the bottom.  Some of the private schools have 4 or 5 "tiers."

class80olddog
class80olddog

@Wascatlady @xxxzzz Same with me, Wascatlady - that was the generation we were in.  But regular courses were harder, and no one in our school of 1200 had a 4.0.

Mary Cullen Miller
Mary Cullen Miller

Yep, we're in Henry County, too, and we have the same problem. The current class/instructor has killed any desire my child may have had to take another AP class.

redweather
redweather

The 5-4 rates on the AP tests, which is all that many colleges and universities will accept for college credit replacement, is not great either.


chemistry: 23%

English Lit & Comp: 24%

physics 1: 17%

physics 2: 22%


The bright spots:

Calculus AB: 38%

Calculus BC: 61%

Macroeconomics: 46%


Mindee Adamson
Mindee Adamson

Allyson Scott Gevertz - Bravo for making the best choice for your child!

CSpinks
CSpinks

Bragging in any context is unseemly. A parent's bragging about his/her child's academic achievements is particularly unseemly. A parent's pressuring his/her child to pursue an unhealthy level of academic activities in high school is not only particularly unseemly, but it's also particularly stupid.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@CSpinks There's a fine line between "bragging" about your children's academic achievements and being proud of your children's academic achievements.  High school today is not like the HS experience most of us parents had when we were there.  The academic environment in today's HS (for high achievers) is an incredibly high-pressured mine field....It's more like a mini-college than the HS we remember.


Many years ago I graduated with an engineering degree (and a good job) from GT.  Today I wouldn't be accepted at GT.  That's the harsh reality awaiting our kids.  At age 15, very few kids can map out their 4 yrs of HS and 4-5 yrs of college (if that's in the plan) so they have the best chance of success in starting independent lives of their own.  That's why we're parents.


One parent's "unhealthy level of academic activities in HS" is another one's gift to their child's future success.  And as our boys' HS recommended, we need to challenge our kids.  You might be surprised how effectively they rise to the challenge.  It's not stupid to help our kids get to where they want to be....It's parenting.

Annette Laing
Annette Laing

I'm an academic historian who took one look at the APUSH class, and told my son that he should not take it. Busywork is not rigor. A class taught by a high school teacher who holds a BA is, by definition, not a college-level class, a point that often gets missed as the USG increasingly relies on adjuncts to teach introductory courses. One acquaintance of mine called AP and IB classes a "trap", and joint-enrolled her children in college classes. Having now seen my son do the same, I could not agree more. Unless and until we permit and encourage high school teachers to take advanced degrees in their subjects, rather than in "education", we won't see improvement in supposedly advanced offerings at the high school level.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

Of course, next year you'll be writing an opinion piece about how awful it is that Ga Tech accepted "out of state students" (gasp!!) over your daughter.  Because there should be no negative ramifications to our children's decisions.....everyone is a winner!!


Let her drop AP courses if she needs to.  But don't turn around and expect her to be an Ivy league student.  The two do NOT go hand in hand.  


As long as you can accept the consequences of that decision (which btw sounds like a very good one for her), then fine.  But don't expect the world to simply act as if she had never made it - and "helicopter" in with your "AJC education blog" bully pulpit, to keep her from having to face the ramifications.

gapeach101
gapeach101

@dcdcdc He also didn't read the line where is said the mother accepted that Ivy League and valedictorian were not options any more.

LeaningLibertarian
LeaningLibertarian

@dcdcdc I disagree with you.  The college admissions people I know are looking for kids who think about things they've seen and done and how those things affect who they are and what they can contribute, not for robots who took the most hard classes but can barely carry a conversation. 

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@dcdcdc Did you read this? It's not my daughter. I shared a piece by a DeKalb parent about her experience with an AP class. The author's name is cited  -- twice.