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Lack of AP history courses leaves gap in student education

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Written by: Tim Wang

Gunn has always been well known for its excellent academics and it boasts an impressive array of courses. The school’s social studies department is exceptional,  receiving significantly higher scores than the state average on the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE). However, the number of Advanced Placement (AP) history courses that are offered is still limited.

Gunn already offers an impressive variety of AP courses, 21 out of the 34 total that the College Board provides, significantly higher than the national average of six. However, only four of the nine AP history courses are offered, namely Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Psychology and U.S. History. The lack of European History, World History, U.S. Government, Comparative Government & Politics and Human Geography severely limits the options for those who want to delve further into the humanities.

While it is true that an increase in the number of students are taking AP classes for the wrong reasons, namely just for AP credit, there are still those who are passionate about history. If students want to explore a subject, they should be able to do so. To stop those who are taking classes just for the AP credit, the district should simply limit the total number of AP classes a student can take. This will force students to take classes they actually enjoy instead of blindly filling up their schedule with AP classes that they have no interest in.

As college costs continue to increase these, AP courses offer the benefit of potentially reducing these costs for students. Some colleges accept AP classes for college credit, allowing students to get through preliminary requirements early. If Gunn offers more AP history classes, it can greatly benefit students who are struggling financially, allowing them to graduate from college and join the workforce earlier. This also benefits those who decide to major in the humanities, as it allows them more credit earlier.

Unfortunately, adding in new history classes is not an easy task and is a particularly controversial topic among the staff, even outside the social studies department. Gunn’s curriculum also has a unique structure as it offers U.S. Government in a student’s sophomore year instead of his or her senior year. Contemporary World is also squeezed into the curriculum, making it hard to fit in classes like AP European History. Other logistical problems include the lack of capable teachers to teach the classes and the lack of teachers to fill the spots of those who choose to teach the AP classes.

Because of these problems, the school will probably not be offering any new AP History classes anytime soon, but considering the option of more AP History classes would certainly benefit the student body. AP History courses are also very popular around the nation. AP U.S. Government and Politics and AP World History are the fourth and sixth most taken AP courses in the nation, with 239,513 and 210,805 students participating in them respectively. More AP history courses should be offered as the student body continues to grow, and the worldwide economy continues to expand.

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The Student News Site of Henry M. Gunn High School
Lack of AP history courses leaves gap in student education