The Cancellation of AP Calculus BC

Lily Nguyen, Comic Artist

AP Calculus BC may not be an available course for Downey High in the school year of 2018-2019. With very little interest, the school may remove the course, and the students who signed up for the class will be left in disappointment. Along with disappointment, the consideration of cancellation comes with a list of negative consequences that outweighs the benefits.  


STEM is one of the most important and maybe one of the most popular choices in the sense of career or profession choices. Keeping AP Calculus BC as well as any other STEM course would be vital towards preparing and giving students a head start towards that step. STEM-specialized schools scout for those who enrolled in the corresponding AP classes to see whether or not the applicant is ready for their program.


Most students push themselves academically to take AP classes, such as AP Calculus BC, to be considered a candidate for selective universities. With a profusion of important AP STEM classes, such as AP Physics or AP Computer Science, other student bodies have a better chance to contest for their slots in prestigious schools. Downey High should keep the class in order to give their pupils a helping hand to compete and flourish further than the universities’ requirements.


Unreadiness, in the sense of intelligence, within the student body is an issue. US News, an organization that collects Downey High School’s data in regard of categories such as AP test scores and state test scores, and the college readiness index for Downey High students is only 21 out of 100. Downey High’s readiness index fails the Mission Statement. Downey High School’s  Mission Statement that its goal is to: “prepare students for the 21st century through a college and career-based curriculum” and as “globally competitive” members of society. AP Calculus BC and other AP STEM courses are a part of the modern college curriculum and does “ensure college readiness,” so removing a significant STEM AP class will hinder the students’ readiness.


To Jose Cisneros, 11, AP Calculus will benefit him in other ways.


“AP Calculus is important to me because I am able to challenge myself,” Cisneros said. “AP Calculus will also help me financially by saving me money in college.”


Cisneros is one of many who will be assisted financially by enrolling into the course. Even if the prospective pupil is ready for university and did not take the class, financial issues may stop them from seizing the opportunity. According to US News, 61% of all students attending Downey High are economically disadvantaged. AP classes are well known to be able to fill required credits in college, therefore decreasing the amount of courses the student must take and in turn the tuition. Taking away the opportunity will only handicap economically disadvantaged students further.


AP Calculus BC’s removal may not be final. Cisneros is currently encouraging his other peers to join him in the class by talking to those who are currently in AP Calculus AB or those ahead of their math classes. With his, his peers, and his teachers’ efforts, the continuation of AP Calculus BC may have a shot for making it onto next year’s course listings.  


While the removal of the class is still uncertain, there will be a meeting after school on Friday, February 16 in B110 to discuss the future of the course. Students who are interested should attend this meeting.


Update: a 2018-19 class of AP Calculus BC has been confirmed by Ms. Barbeau.