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UC High as Two Schools: Beneficial for Students or Not? -Counterpoint

Jazveline Martinez, Staff Writer

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   Imagine sitting in an AP classroom having never taken an AP course before. The student next to you however, has taken five. When you start the curriculum, the material is complicated, and the pace is fast. You start to fall behind, but you’re afraid to speak up. You go to tutoring but the work still makes no sense. The student next you seems to be doing just fine

— getting As on

all the tests, completing the homework within 30 minutes, and just overall staying on top of things.

   You, on the other hand, spend over an hour on the homework each night, getting a C or lower on the tests, and are five assignments behind. You feel like the dumbest kid in the world. At this point you’re so far behind that you feel as though there’s no point in even trying anymore, so you don’t. And that’s how you end up with big fat F on your transcript, compared to the A+ next to you.

   This is the story of many students at UC High who, after never even taken an Honors or advanced course, somehow end up in a difficult AP class. This story illustrates the division at UC High. In one group there are students that excel in certain subjects and in the second group there are those who need some serious extra help and a slower pace in their classes. Some might say that UC High has two schools. One for the AP and Honors type of student, and one for the “regular” students. This stratification is a good thing, because students have different ways of learning and they have different needs.

  Students have different learning styles. According to the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth website, people may be visual learners, auditory learners, or kinesthetic learners. A visual learner learns through images — or any type of media where they can observe and actually see what they need to learn or do. Auditory learners learn best by listening. Kinesthetic learners learn by doing hands-on activities (umassd.edu). Separating students by the way they learn is a positive idea, because they are in classes that use their learning styles instead of being stuck in classes that are too difficult for them. AP history classes for instance, require a lot of reading. If reading quickly and in large amounts isn’t a strong suit for a student, they should have the opportunity to take a course that moves at a slower pace, with less reading.

  Attendance is also an issue among many students. An estimated five million to seven and a half million US students miss nearly a month of school each year (attendanceworks.org). Missing class negatively impacts your grade because you’ll miss out on important material taught in any class. However, missing class for an AP or Honors course is even worse, because these classes are fast paced and by not attending a class, students risk falling way behind. Sometimes, it’s not even the student’s fault when he or she misses school. Sometimes a family situation requires the student to be late or miss school. Students with attendance issues need classes that move at a slower pace, without as much in-class work and homework.

  If you’ve taken an AP class before, you know that there is a certain amount of information from the curriculum you need to cover in order to be prepared for the AP test in May. It is crucial for students to stay on track with the class, and not get left behind. They have to keep up, otherwise they will not be prepared for the AP exam at the end of the year. AP World History teacher Daniel Millard describes this as a, “sink or swim situation.”

  My opponents would say that UC High being divided into two schools is a bad thing, because some students aren’t being prepared for their futures. Junior Evelynn Varela said, “UC being divided into two schools is a bad thing, because it makes me feel different, and makes me wonder why I can’t be on the side with all the smart kids.” But, this isn’t to say that if you’re not in an AP class then you’re deemed “not smart.” Everyone has their own pace and many students wouldn’t graduate if they were in classes that moved too fast for them. What matters more, graduating or taking a class too difficult for you to keep up with in order to prove that you’re one of the “smart kids”?

  UC High being divided into two schools helps students thrive in their respective classes. Students have different ways of learning the material, some students have attendance issues, and some students can’t keep up with the fast pace of Honors and AP classes. If you ask me, being divided to two schools is a good thing.

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