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Is it just AVHS? Cont'd

Original post made by Wondering on Feb 27, 2012

Opening the thread again (about We the People) since the original was limited by the PW staff to registered members.

Comments (8)

Posted by Wondering, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2012 at 10:19 am

First, to those who cannot read properly, let me said this again: I do not have a child who applied or wants to be in this class. I heard about it at a party, and I thought it was very wrong to have a public school behave this way.

Someone asked what I would prefer to see, and this is my opinion:

1) Create several sections of Comp Civics and allow every interested and qualified student to enroll. Allow every section to compete and see what happens. Only one would move on to nationals, but at least every student/section was given a chance.

OR

2) Do not offer it as a class. Instead, offer Comp Civics the same way Mock trial is offered: as a club, NOT a class.

For those who said offering more sections means hiring more teachers: WRONG! All teachers already teach 6 periods, so the Comp Civics instructor would have 6, instead of 1, section. And like in other activities, the instructor can then be part of the after school club, with a stipend financed by those in that particular club.

---------------------


"There are a lot of schools that can't even offer 30 kids a chance to participate."

And that, I believe, is not right. Someone had posted a case "Daniel v. California" and I looked it up: it seems that someone went to court because lower income districts did not have AP classes, thus denying lower income and minority students equal access to classes that were key in college admissions. The case would apply to "We the People" if some lower income districts are not offering it due to lack of money/qualified personnel.

"Wondering, I think you are misunderstanding. We The People/Comp Civics is exactly like a competitive sports team, band or other competitive extra-curricular activities. Those students who qualify for the football team get PE credit for that."

I researched this, Patricia. You are not quite right (see the program guide on the AVHS website). In order for a football player to get credit, he must be on the team for all high school, and even then he would only get to waive half of the PE requirement (10 credits needed, 5 waived). They do not get to be in a class. Each student must apply for the waiver and get it approved, students do not earn a grade for PE, just a waiver. It is a very different situation with Comp Civics.

Comp Civics is a class that offers credit (and a grade) in just the one semester the students are a part of it (versus having to participate every season throughout high school to get half credit for a sport). (at least according to the information I found on the AVHS website and by talking to a parent whose child, now a graduate, was in sports)

------------

To those who have offered useful information, like "Again": thank you. We are still finalizing our research, but we are definitely moving forward with this. No Public school should behave the way private schools or clubs do, and Congress should not fund programs that are discriminatory in nature.


Posted by Me, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2012 at 10:51 am

Please don't waste our school resources on this.
Our students have a right to basic curriculum There are many, many examples of classes that fill up and not all students have access to it. This happens in every district across the country. Access to basic curriculum and education is a right, access to certain classes is NOT a Right!!!

Our schools in PUSD are so strapped for so many things. Why are you going to tie up resources with this nonsense? Why is it so important to you but the students who are affected are not even pursing this?

Please help these students deal with this in a more constructive way. Maybe there is another club or activity they can do? National History Day is a great outlet for students. NHD Is a great program and there is alot of national recognition and scholarships to be gained with this activity. There is mock trial as well. Or, they can start something else that they are interested in.

What will this prove? Are you going to pursue action against the UC system? I've heard that lots of over qualified students are mot admitted every year. Aren't they guaranteed a right to state education also?


Posted by Mike, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I have one child that made the Comp Civics program and one that tried and was not selected. They took other AP classes instead.

It always looked to me like Comp Civics was "hybrid" activity. The classroom section was the same as the other AP Gov program, albeit concentrated into a shorter period of time with the Competition portion portion taking place after the standard class work had been completed and on the students own time and funding.

I think this is where your arguement that a public school class offerring is not open to all is questionable. The credited class work is open to all, its the additonal commitment of the competition that uses the selective piece. I'm guessing you are not the first person in the country to question the selection process, but because the program has been constructed in this fashion it has withstood the "fariness" scrutiny.

This is a great program and requires extraordinary effort and knowledge from every participant in order to be successful. I would hate to see it ended or watered down in the name of political correctness or some other misguided attempt to let everyone participate.


Posted by Alt, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 27, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Why not take the regular civics class (although AP Gov is more likely what these people will want to take)? But still, there is a non-AP(comp) civics.


Posted by srco, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 29, 2012 at 3:12 pm

srco is a registered user.

Wondering,
Apparently you are not willing to discuss this as a registered user and, as is their right, PW has locked the thread again. You still have this fundamentally wrong. The class that the Comp Civics students take is one section of AP Gov that also includes the Comp Civics curriculum. There is not one teacher teaching one section of Comp Civics. The class is taught by a teacher that is also teaching a full load of other classes. In addition that teacher puts in many hours of VOLUNTARY time after school and on weekends working with the students. Many other teachers and professionals in the community also put in volunteer time helping the students prepare.

Your "solution" #1 won't work. The competition rules are one team per school, 30 students per team. A single school cannot field multiple teams. There are local, regional and state competitions leading up to nationals and the rules must be followed all along the way.

Whether it's your child or a friend's child, you appear to be motivated by "sour grapes". There is nothing sinister or underhanded going on with the comp civics program at AVHS or FHS. I would hate to see anyone take seriously your efforts to mess with a really amazing program.


Posted by Meredith, a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 6, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Meredith is a registered user.

We the People is essentially a hybrid activity; it is a class and an extracurricular activity. This combination ensures dedication (by grading and tracking progress and success in an academic way), as well as ample opportunity to practice. Having all six units on a We the People team takes anywhere from two to three hours; by making it a class, the team has the opportunity to spend part of their school day engaging in a valuable activity in a way that frees up their after school time by nearly an hour, enabling them to do other things they care about, or to study more (which is usually what they end up doing).

Your demands, if put into effect, would ruin the invaluable, positive influence that the We the People program has on its students. If you want your student to have the same experience, send them to the library. Hand them some Locke. Grab a copy of the Federalist Papers, or research a few court cases on the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. That's essentially what We the People is; create your own opportunities.


Posted by AKong, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2012 at 7:01 pm

AKong is a registered user.

Wondering, in response to your post:
>>"1) Create several sections of Comp Civics and allow every interested and qualified student to enroll. Allow every section to compete and see what happens. Only one would move on to nationals, but at least every student/section was given a chance.
OR
2) Do not offer it as a class. Instead, offer Comp Civics the same way Mock trial is offered: as a club, NOT a class."

1) Every interested and qualified student is given the opportunity to try out for WTP/CC much like for other PUBLIC SCHOOL CLASSES that others have mentioned: band, choir, yearbook, journalism, etc. How is WTP/CC any different from them? Would you suggest multiple sections of these classes? Do you even realize how much extra funding it would take? If you're that adamant about your belief that such a class should not exist, then you would have to get rid of the aforementioned classes as well to be "fair". Good luck with that.
-------------------------
>>""There are a lot of schools that can't even offer 30 kids a chance to participate."
And that, I believe, is not right. Someone had posted a case "Daniel v. California" and I looked it up: it seems that someone went to court because lower income districts did not have AP classes, thus denying lower income and minority students equal access to classes that were key in college admissions. The case would apply to "We the People" if some lower income districts are not offering it due to lack of money/qualified personnel."

These classes are not "key" to college admissions. Yes, having tons of AP or honors classes does beef up your application. But every college in the nation looks at applications IN CONTEXT OF THEIR SCHOOL AND ENVIRONMENT. In other words, I might have only taken 2 AP classes over the course of my high school career, but if those are the only two AP classes my school offers because I live in a lower income district with a lack of money/qualified personnel, then I am just as strong a student as someone who has the opportunity to take these other classes. You can call up any college you want and ask; all admission officers will tell you this exact same thing. And please don't try to say I'm exaggerating. I just spent over six months researching and applying to colleges. Go ahead and call them, really. I'll wait.
--------------------------
>>"For those who said offering more sections means hiring more teachers: WRONG! All teachers already teach 6 periods, so the Comp Civics instructor would have 6, instead of 1, section. And like in other activities, the instructor can then be part of the after school club, with a stipend financed by those in that particular club."

Actually, YOU'RE wrong. My WTP/CC teacher, for example, already has a full schedule (as I'm sure all other WTP/CC teachers do). If he took on more WTP/CC classes, who would teach his other classes? Certainly not the other teachers. They've got their hands full with their owns schedules. The only thing you could do would be to hire more teachers. Unless you're suggesting that he simply drop those other classes for other students to teach more WTP/CC? I'm sorry, where's the fairness in that?

---------------------------
>>""Wondering, I think you are misunderstanding. We The People/Comp Civics is exactly like a competitive sports team, band or other competitive extra-curricular activities. Those students who qualify for the football team get PE credit for that."
I researched this, Patricia. You are not quite right (see the program guide on the AVHS website). In order for a football player to get credit, he must be on the team for all high school, and even then he would only get to waive half of the PE requirement (10 credits needed, 5 waived). They do not get to be in a class. Each student must apply for the waiver and get it approved, students do not earn a grade for PE, just a waiver. It is a very different situation with Comp Civics.
Comp Civics is a class that offers credit (and a grade) in just the one semester the students are a part of it (versus having to participate every season throughout high school to get half credit for a sport). (at least according to the information I found on the AVHS website and by talking to a parent whose child, now a graduate, was in sports)"

As a four year varsity athlete, I have to admit that your information about the sports is correct. However, WTP/CC is not just one semester. At most schools, it is a year long class that is an ALTERNATIVE to one semester of AP Government and one semester of AP Economics. Not everyone wants to take WTP/CC, even those who are "qualified" for it. In fact, WTP/CC is identical to AP Gov/Econ but for the 10 or so extra hours we put in at school and countless more at home to prepare for competition. You might say that kids who take AP Gov/Econ don't get to use the same materials or don't have the same curriculum. This is false. The curriculum is exactly the same, just sped up. We learn so much more because WE put in the time to do our OWN research on our OWN time.

-------------------------
>>"No Public school should behave the way private schools or clubs do, and Congress should not fund programs that are discriminatory in nature."

Ahem. Public universities are discriminatory in nature. Should we cut funding for them too? Also, a right to receive an education at a public school does not translate to a right to certain classes.

Wondering, I respect your opinions and your strong sense of justice. Unfortunately, they are misplaced in this situation. Should you have any other questions or criticisms, I and my companions on this thread are glad to respond. You're welcome to write to your representatives all you want and fight to abolish this educational program that has changed lives and is actually extremely under-appreciated. Please know that we'll be fighting back just as hard.

Regards,

AKong


Posted by weedalin, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 6, 2012 at 8:20 pm

weedalin is a registered user.

"First, to those who cannot read properly, let me said this again: I do not have a child who applied or wants to be in this class. I heard about it at a party, and I thought it was very wrong to have a public school behave this way.

Someone asked what I would prefer to see, and this is my opinion:

1) Create several sections of Comp Civics and allow every interested and qualified student to enroll. Allow every section to compete and see what happens. Only one would move on to nationals, but at least every student/section was given a chance.

OR

2) Do not offer it as a class. Instead, offer Comp Civics the same way Mock trial is offered: as a club, NOT a class.

For those who said offering more sections means hiring more teachers: WRONG! All teachers already teach 6 periods, so the Comp Civics instructor would have 6, instead of 1, section. And like in other activities, the instructor can then be part of the after school club, with a stipend financed by those in that particular club."

The idea of an expanded Comp Civics program is a nice one, but one that's constrained by budget and personnel limits. I don't see the logic in removing a beneficial program simply because it doesn't benefit the amount of people you think is best for the community.

I'd love to live in this fantasy world where everyone can succeed and achieve what they want. I don't know what world you think we live in, but the unfortunate truth is, every student is indeed "given a chance": they get to try-out! That is their "chance," if you will.


---------------------

""There are a lot of schools that can't even offer 30 kids a chance to participate."

And that, I believe, is not right. Someone had posted a case "Daniel v. California" and I looked it up: it seems that someone went to court because lower income districts did not have AP classes, thus denying lower income and minority students equal access to classes that were key in college admissions. The case would apply to "We the People" if some lower income districts are not offering it due to lack of money/qualified personnel."
The problem is that Comp Civics is funded by a third-party organization that doesn't have any kind of association with the College Board. Students receive AP credit for participating in Comp Civics, but the curriculum isn't designed around any AP approved design, like a true AP Government/Economy class would be.


"Wondering, I think you are misunderstanding. We The People/Comp Civics is exactly like a competitive sports team, band or other competitive extra-curricular activities. Those students who qualify for the football team get PE credit for that."

I researched this, Patricia. You are not quite right (see the program guide on the AVHS website). In order for a football player to get credit, he must be on the team for all high school, and even then he would only get to waive half of the PE requirement (10 credits needed, 5 waived). They do not get to be in a class. Each student must apply for the waiver and get it approved, students do not earn a grade for PE, just a waiver. It is a very different situation with Comp Civics.

Comp Civics is a class that offers credit (and a grade) in just the one semester the students are a part of it (versus having to participate every season throughout high school to get half credit for a sport). (at least according to the information I found on the AVHS website and by talking to a parent whose child, now a graduate, was in sports)"

I'm not exactly sure where your logic is going here. So just because Comp Civics offers more comparative credit for participation than other competitive extra-curricular activities, that's unfair? I question your authority on this matter because you don't seem fit to judge for yourself exactly how deserving Comp Civics students are of their credit, seeing as you heard about the Comp Civics program "at a party," and ESPECIALLY since you don't have a child trying to enter this program.

Unless you think that secondhand hearsay makes you an expert on a topic. In that case, I only present this link to you in hopes that it will be self-enlightening: Web Link

If you really want to have logical clout in this particular issue, I suggest sitting in on a week's worth of Comp Civics preparations?


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