GOOD

The State of Summer School: Teens Are Hitting the Books Year-Round

Top high school students are feeling the pressure to get into the best colleges, so they're signing up for summer school. Willingly.

When I was in high school I spent my summers letting my nerd flag fly high by doing things like sitting around reading The Count of Monte Cristo—all 1,312 pages of it—in one day. My peers hit up the pool or roamed the mall, but none of us ever considered going to summer school. For my generation, summer school was where the "bad" kids who ditched class to smoke weed in the parking lot went so they could still graduate on time. But nowadays if you live in a city where summer school hasn't been eliminated due to district budget cuts, chances are that the honors and AP crowd is more likely to spend June, July, and part of August waking up early and schlepping backpacks to campus—and it's all driven by the desire to get into a top college.

Keep Reading
Articles

Are High School Valedictorians Becoming Passé?

Citing an overly competitive school environment, some Kentucky districts are scrapping the time honored tradition.

Naming a high school valedictorian used to be simple: The school looked at student grades and chose the senior with the highest GPA in the graduating class. But nowadays, picking a valedictorian has become a whole lot more complicated, and, critics say, overly competitive. To address the problem, some school districts in Kentucky are even going so far as to completely scrap naming valedictorians.

Keep Reading
Articles

That AP Class You Took Might Have Been a Fraud

Schools are slapping AP labels on dumbed-down classes that don't deserve it, and cheating kids into thinking they're learning AP when they're not.


Are AP classes a fraud? According to "High School Classes May Be Advanced in Name Only" in Monday's New York Times, it's a real possibility. It turns out that just as colleges engage in grade inflation to boost their reputations, our nation's high schools might be caving to pressure to enroll more kids in AP courses. Schools dumbing down the curriculum and slapping an AP label on a class just to look good is problem enough. But the real losers in this scenario are the students who think they're learning AP material when they're actually not.

Back in 1990 (when being an honors student was still prestigious enough), only 5 percent of students enrolled in AP classes. By 2010 the number of students taking supposedly more challenging AP classes rose to 13 percent. The percentage of kids taking AP exams has also almost tripled over the past decade, from 1.2 million in 2000 to 3.1 million in 2010.

Keep Reading
Articles