Friday, August 3, 2012

Where's the Real Pressure to Remain King of the AP/IB Hill?

by Joseph Hawkins
Currently, The Gazette is running a series titled, “Sit down with Starr over the summer.” As of Aug. 1, staff writer Jen Bondeson, who regularly covers Montgomery County Public Schools, has reported seven sit-downs with MCPS Superintendent Josh Starr.
Click here to read the Aug. 1 installment in The Gazette.The Aug. 1 sit-down deals with academic pressures facing kids. But when Bondeson asked Starr about the source of the pressure to excel in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes, Starr punted and suggested that MCPS kids themselves were the source of the pressure. Starr also noted that parents seeking “an Ivy League” college for their sons and daughters also added to the pressures.
I’m saying Starr punted on the blame because I do not believe that kids or their parents are the primary source behind the AP/IB race (pressure)... 
article continues in Rockville PATCH.


  1. Joe's right that if Superintendent Starr backs away from the IB/AP push, he's going to get killed by Montgomery County's "Tiger Moms." That's why I've argued that Starr should create schools of choice with a warmer-and-fuzzier approach (social and emotional learning, etc.) rather than try to force the whole system in that direction. More on that here:

    1. Tiger Moms? How so?
      Are they the MCPS administrators who have gutted the on level courses to FORCE students into the AP classes?
      Is it the Tiger Moms that FORCED students to pay for AP exams that they COULD NOT USE?
      Nice try Mr. Petrilli, but if you think your statement applies to Montgomery County Public Schools, you are wrong.

      By the way, we have some useless AP Textbooks and Study Guides that we were forced to buy by MCPS. Would you like them for your kids?

    2. Also have some useless AP scores that = zero college credit. Where can we sell those?

    3. We could only WISH that a group of Tiger Parents would speak up about the dumbing down of the ENTIRE MCPS curriculum, not just AP/IB - I've been waiting... and waiting... and waiting... nuttin' honey. People will either pay for private schools, move, or not move here in the first place (which brings me to my question about why these high-tech companies aren't up in arms since they won't be able to recruit top talent if the top talent's kids would have to go to dumbed down schools?)

      And "schools of choice with a warmer-and-fuzzier approach"?!? So you'd have to apply to have your child NOT challenged? You would have to enter a lottery to put your child in non-real-life situations where everyone has the same strengths, weaknesses, interests, and aptitudes? You'd like to set up schools where all the teachers can give 100% of their attention to each individual child in their classroom who are all on different mastery levels, for a total of 2800%? Want your child chosen for a school where he/she is able to do work over and over and over and over again to get a better score, and advanced regardless of their mastery (or not) of the material so no one "feels bad"? GREAT!! LET'S DO IT!! Get your kid, and other kids with like-minded parents, OUT of MY children's school and let my schools get on with the business of challenging MY kids, advancing MY kids when appropriate, setting high expectations for MY child, nurturing MY child's natural talents and strengthening their weaknesses, and failing MY child when they deserve it!

      And just so you know, I am neither a Tiger Mom - ask me how much of the summer math packet my kids have completed and how many books they've read ... and they are in the HG Centers! But then ask me how much fun (structured and unstructured) and travel they've had... Nor am I what you call a "Koala mom" - I say challenge them! don't let them have a do-over if they "forgot" or didn't study! Nor am I your so-called "Cosmo mom" - they are lucky enough to get very culturally "enriched" just living in MoCo! They asked ME how to count to 10 in Farsi when they were little... I didn't even know Farsi was a separate language until I was in High school! I am just a practical mom who wants to provide the appropriate tools for my children so they can be successful in THE REAL WORLD - that's where they're going to have to live, not in the "warm-and-fuzzy" world where everyone flies around with rainbows and unicorns and wishing wells that work.

  2. killed by the 'Tiger moms?' Tiger moms -- and dads -- who want their kids to excel and get a boost into good colleges know that really good public school systems, like Scarsdale, and the best private schools, do not use AP exams. Those exams are for the hoi polloi -- and to make money, money, so much money.

    Parents and kids are pressured, including pressure from principals in side conversations to parents, to sign up and pay for and take more AP exams than parents want their children to take.


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