In 2012, Lowell forfeited over $240,000 in potential AP test revenue compared to the year before. Each year more teachers receive pink slips, and though the great and benevolent Lowell Alumni Association has managed to scrape together $300,000 in emergency funds, hard-working teachers and students are buckling under the pressure of class sizes that never cease to grow. Indeed, the situation is dire, but there is a clear solution: instituting a minimum AP class requirement for all students at Lowell.
Foremost, setting an AP requirement would accumulate much-needed cash for our beloved institution. Lowell would be able to afford more teachers, lowering class sizes and increasing teachers’ ability to lend each student love and attention. Simultaneously, the quality of the school’s instructors would rise, as only the most experienced, dedicated teachers are certified to teach AP classes. Increased funding would also provide for a modern, livable learning environment, which is severely lacking at this time. At long last, louder speakers for Radio Lowell, larger web database subscriptions, and fewer phallic doodles on desks and textbooks would create a friendly, open atmosphere, enabling students to reach full academic potential. Contrary to the assertions of ill-informed cynics, administering more AP tests would rid students of stress by eliminating bad teachers and unpleasant surroundings. Like Roundup Weed & Grass Killer, funds generated through AP tests would attack Lowell’s biggest deficiency at the roots, causing the school’s problems to promptly wither away.
While money alone provides sufficient justification for an AP requirement, there exists a far nobler cause: the love of learning. Experiencing scholastic motivation early on would help students develop study skills for when it counts, namely grades ten through eleven and college. Staggering the number of AP courses required for each grade would maximize the benefits of exposure to a real-world workload while minimizing collateral stress. Freshmen could be required to enroll in a mere two AP courses, whereas sophomores, juniors and seniors would be prompted to take a slightly more substantial four, five, and four, respectively. This would bring the total to over 9,000 exams, compared to last year’s 3,500. Encouraging students to challenge themselves with AP material would not only allow hopeful pupils to demonstrate their academic abilities to selective elite colleges; it would also assist them in developing healthy habits of hard work and perseverance, aiding them the rest of their lives.
To clarify, Lowell’s situation does not warrant a state- or nation- wide AP mandate. Other students simply do not have strong enough intellectual foundations to benefit from AP courses. But at dollar-deprived Lowell, where students must overcome cutthroat competition in order to succeed in a competitive admissions process, and thus in life, such a policy is precisely what we need.
— Alex Hillan, Letitia Liu, Jeffrey Woo and Andrew Xu
A version of this letter first appeared in the Feb. 24, 2012 print edition of The Lowell.