Wednesday, April 21, 2010

when you aren't being heard

My neighbor and I made a point of attending our high school's AP/Honors open house last night. Our kids are taking a decent share of those classes, yet when it came time for scheduling next year's work, all three were encouraged to enroll for even more AP/Honors courses.

When is enough, enough?

After a telephone discussion with one of the counselors, it was stated that the school administration tells the advisers to push as many of those higher level classes as they can get the kids to sign up for. It is not their job to talk about balance, handling work load or recognizing that most students need to have a 'life' beyond the school work. This was reiterated to us last night by the principal.

Yes, some kids can handle the work. Or at least they appear to be handling the work, until, as one girl admitted to us, a panic attack hits during the first week of school because 5 AP classes were too much. Yep, this poor student almost passed out from stress, and the principal's comment was she is to be commended for trying.

High school students shouldn't be having panic attacks. Where is the BALANCE????

Another trend in the conversation was the lauding of 'select' universities and how they look at the AP/Honors course enrollment in the admissions decision. Public universities were spoken of with a dismissive attitude, as a student would have to settle for attending that type of institution.

And this is in a public high school.

I'm all for my kids stretching and challenging themselves and working hard to learn. I'm not for buying into the agenda that taking AP courses makes you a better person or attending a 'select' university makes you more employable or more important.

We walked away knowing we weren't heard. Our point of view was dismissed. The administrator's comments had very patronizing and borderline defensive tones to them. Sad. But, I also did learn that when it comes to scheduling my children's course work, I wield the ultimate veto power and without my John Hancock on the dotted line, nothing is final.

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