Pioneer Should Bring Back Geophysical Science Next Year
Next year’s replacement of Pioneer’s Accelerated (AC) Geophysical Science class with AP Environmental Science is a decision that will negatively affects many students by inducing too much academic pressure for incoming sophomores, who are still figuring high school out.
Typically, Pioneer freshmen do not take any AP classes, and a sudden jump to two the following year is too much to handle for many. While some teachers and parents may say that students do not need to take AP classes if they do not feel ready for them, modern peer pressure and the ever-growing desire to get into “good” colleges by building resumes with tons of hard classes in high school compels students to do so.
Although it is not a bad idea for Pioneer to promote rigor, there’s no need to combine that with the added stress of additional AP classes.
Geophysical Science AC is an engaging class which prepares students well for future classes, such as chemistry and physics, and is a great option for a science class between biology and chemistry, but it is losing its popularity primarily due to the belief that AP is better than merely accelerated.
Understanding and mastering a subject is more important than having perfect grades.Geophysical Science is a class that, based on my experiences in it, promotes understanding. As it is the less-stress alternative to AP Environmental Science. There’s little reason why sophomores no longer have the option to take it. With a new, standardized curriculum being introduced in the class this year, I strongly believe that science classes are just fine the way they are, and will continue to improve in future years.
An increasing number of students nationwide are taking AP classes, according to the College Board. However, this expansion is happening too quickly, and one extra AP class for a student will not change his or her career forever. The difference between AC and AP classes is not as prominent as many students and educators make it seem, thus there is no need to switch one ‘difficulty’ for the other.
Accelerated only accelerates lack of diversity
When signing up for classes, freshmen are lectured continuously about not taking many accelerated (AC) classes. They are told to only take accelerated classes in the subjects they are interested in. This advice deters students from taking classes they could have very easily succeeded in. Geophysical Science (Geophys) is a class that is called accelerated but does not provide an accelerated curriculum.
Geophys is an accelerated science class whose curriculum covers a wide range of topics, including thermodynamics and the periodic table. The non-accelerated alternative is Earth Science, which covers nearly all the same topics as Geophys.
When interviewed by the Atlantic in 2014, Walter Fields, a parent of a student in New Jersey, said that his daughter was unfairly denied entry into an advanced math class during her freshman year. “Now we arrive at the point—in 2014—where you can literally walk down a hallway in Columbia High School and look in a classroom and know whether it’s an upper-level class or a lower-level class based on the racial composition of the classroom,” he said.
This problem persists across all public schools, including Pioneer. The reason is not tracking, a qualification process used in the schools that Fields’s child attends, but rather that the title accelerated only serves to decrease diversity in the classroom. I can count on one hand the number of African American students that are in my accelerated and Advanced Placement classes.
The difference in the curriculums between Geophys and Earth Science are also not big enough to merit calling one accelerated. Both of the classes prepare students for future science classes; otherwise they wouldn’t be offered.
The debate over the continuance of Geophys has been occurring for a long time. It has an unnecessary title that simply obstructs diversity in the classroom, and the class itself does not cover any more critical material.