English IV Honors is gone?

At my school, course selection sheets have just come out, and EVERYONE is chattering about how English IV honors is no longer being offered to seniors. Now, the only classes offered are ESOL, college-readiness (the flunky class), AICE Literature, AICE General Papers, and AP Literature.

At first, I was quick to dismiss the complaints as just that. Empty, angsty complaints. After all, how privileged do you have to be to really give a hoot about what English course is offered senior year. Let’s face it, you’re not going to try anyway. It is senior year, the year most notorious for senioritis and general laziness. Why does English IV matter?

However, the more I thought about it, the more befuddled I became. The whole situation was just plain unnecessary. If English IV had remained on the selection sheet, there would be no harm. Just the opposite, actually. Many students take a free period senior year to work at a job or enjoy themselves. Now, with the only only real option for senior English classes being college-level classes, those seniors now have to work that much harder in a class they did not want to take in the first place. And all for what? I’ll tell you why.

Money.

Every student that passes the AICE or AP exams in the Spring earns the school additional funding. So, by making most seniors take a college class, the chance of more kids passing the exam increases drastically. On a basic level, my school is profiting from forcing kids to take exams they did not want to take.

Now, I understand that my school needs money. I am completely fine with that. Schools pretty much get the funding equivalent to the worth of the gum found on the bottom of the governor’s shoe. But the move towards all college classes is illogical.

It is like inflation, or the Flynn Effect. The Flynn Effect refers to the gradual increase in IQ scores since testing began around eighty years ago. Researchers are not sure if the test is the issue, or if increased food supply, medicine, education, and technology are to blame for the inflation of the scores. Let’s say you have an IQ of 100, average. Back in 1940, that may have meant you were in the middle, while now it may make people think you are a dumb ass.

This is very similar to what the administrators are doing to English students. Standards are going to have to be lowered in the courses to accommodate those not ready or not willing to take the college-level class, or all the students’ little mommies are going to complain to the school board that little Johnny is flunking AICE General Papers. So, the work required is lowered, and many people achieve high marks. If you are an alumni of the school, and took the class when the standards were higher, your ‘A’ is now meaningless.

Then Spring rolls around, and AP and AICE tests are upon us. All the flunkies who took the class to get the credit are going to A) not even show up the exam B) Christmas-tree it C) try, yet still not understand it because they are stupid as hell, or D) have no idea what they are doing because the class was way easier than the test. In all these scenarios, the student has a snowball’s chance in hell of passing, and all of the work put in over the year is in the dumps. The pass rate of the exam falls, and over all, the move to all college classes was a waste of time. And the mommies still end up complaining to the school board about how little Johnny did not pass his exam, and how it is all the school’s fault.

And, yeah, it kind of would be.

I hope they end up putting English IV Honors back so I don’t have to deal with stupid kids in my Literature class next year, but it is not the end of the world. I only have a year left. Thank God for that.

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The Cynical Teenager: Why the Cynicism?

Ah, high school. The tumultuous period of life where everything matters. The guidance counselor messed up your schedule? She must hate you, for absolutely no reason. Someone has the same prom dress as you? Sweet baby Jesus, it’s Armageddon. There is no point in trying on anything anymore. One eyeliner wing is more angled than another? You can’t leave your bathroom for fear of someone actually caring.

So, I’m going to lay down the law in regards to teenage ‘issues’ and the, like, million things teenagers deal with everyday.

No one cares. Least of all me.

In this blog I will document anything that pops into my head that I think I should talk about. Sex-ed? You betcha. Book reviews? Yep. The difficulties of my life? Hell no.

For example, there is a real issue at hand right under the noses of many teenagers, currently affecting their lives. The AP U.S. History course offered by College Board recently altered its curriculum after a group of conservatives criticized the course for taking a negative view of American history. Ben Carson, the one and only, stated that “‘most people’ who completed the course would then be ‘ready to sign up for ISIS'”(Found this in the Washington Post, thought it was funny as all hell).

Ignoring the frankly amusing idiocy that appears to have come over Ben Carson in this moment, let’s take a look at this issue head-on, shall we? There are two sides to this, the side that does not believe that the course was negatively slanted, and the side that does. For consolidation purposes, and I am sure you guys will agree, we will refer to these groups as the left and the right, respectively.

The right stated that in the 2014 version of the exam, the history of the U.S. was described as shifts in power, a glorious tug-of-war. The exam did not include some names such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Benjamin Franklin. The course framework did not describe the exceptionalism of America, nor the principles that unify the nation. By not including these necessary elements, the exam was doing students a disservice.

The left, namely College Board until it decided to woos out, defended the framework, stating that the right ‘misunderstood’ the course framework. College Board explained that AP U.S. History teachers are already experts in their field of study: American History. The framework was only a guide for teachers to use in the classroom.

So here is my take: What the f*** is exceptionalism? I am being completely serious right now. I even looked it up on Wikipedia, because we all know Wikipedia is legit. It says, “American exceptionalism is one of three related ideas. The first is that the history of the United States is inherently different from other nations”. Really? Are you for real? Because, I would think that the U.S. would have an inherently different history, because it is, I don’t know, an inherently different country. I mean, damn. What about Canadian exceptionalism? Peruvian exceptionalism? Icelandic exceptionalism? Their history is inherently different, and therefore must be exceptional.

The central dogma of this issue is the fact that it lies in treacherous waters. You don’t believe in American exceptionalism? Oh my God, you are a terrorist, socialist, abomination of nature. At least, that is what Ben Carson thinks. That is why the right was able to get the curriculum changed in the first place.

Again, this is all my opinion. Feel free to disagree. Actually, it may be good if you don’t, because then you would not be nearly as cynical as me.

Not all of my posts will be this heated, but if you like this, please visit my blog again!