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AP Latin Literature Cancelled -- Please Add Your Name

Salve,

As many of you know, AP Latin Literature is being cancelled, although AP Vergil will remain in place for the immediate future. Please read the letter from the AP in the news section on the right and the letter from Ronnie Ancona in the Blog, and if you feel strongly about keeping the AP Latin Literature program alive and active in the United States, please add a comment to this post with your name and school affiliation attached. I will collect these in preparation for what is sure to be a counter-offensive by some of the leading lights in US Classics education. Thanks for adding your names to the list.

Andrew Reinhard
Director of eLearning
Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers

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You make an excellent point. Reading Cicero, Catullus, Horace immerses you in the exciting, turbulent, dangerous society of late republican and early imperial Rome first hand. You encounter flesh and blood people with all their hopes, , humor, stresses and anxieties. My own students chose to study Cicero rather than Vergil after exposure to both, precisely for this reason.
My Dean of Instruction was finalizing rosters for the upcoming AP tests when I dropped by today after forwarding the notice. During the AP Audit last year we had encountered a unique situation. I was split between two schools at the time, and submitted two identical syllaboi for Vergil and for Literature -- four syllaboi total. Of each pair, one was approved, one returned for revisions. Over the course of the resulting buffoonery, we had discussed the unrest in the Classics Community caused by the Audit. Today I noted that the unrest was now moving toward open revolt. As we discussed the available options, I was surprised and gratified when she stated that switching to the SAT-II would certainly be a viable possibility.

I taught IB for one year and have received IB training, I have taught Vergil thrice and Catullus-Ovid once, and have attended AP training thrice. As part of the fallout from my previous two schools situation, I have no Latin 4's next year -- and thus no AP class. Instead, I have my first-ever freestanding Latin 3 class and am assembling a curriculum / reading list for them. Meanwhile, I watch the eyes of the juniors in my Latin 1 class glaze over when I invoke the goal -- but not for them -- of reading Vergil.

Cumulatively, I grow disenamoured of that goal and of the "vertical alignment" toward it which is expected of me. I have more goals for my students than that one. I believe they should be able to read any Latin they may pick up. Reading alone is insufficient; full fluency consists also in speaking and writing. [Selfishly, I need other Latin speakers around me, and have little recourse but to grow my own.] I had already been pondering a major shift in my curriculum and methods, toward that goal of fluency. Without the pressure of AP and the numbing grind to finish the lines, I could better pursue the reading-method ideal of postponing grammar. Latin 4 could then prominently feature writing as consolidation -- and prep for the SAT II.

I'm outraged, yes, but also excited. Amid all the discussion raised by the Audit, I had never imagined that AP might simply hand me the possibility of shedding their yoke.

-Debbie Huffman
Carnegie Vanguard HS
Houston, Texas 77051
JD Munday
Latin teacher
Cherry Hill High School West (NJ)
This is another example of business types who really have no contact with the world of high school education, telling teachers what is best. They are prime examples of the overall move to kill off the humanities in general in education, and focus entirely on math and technology. Technology and math have their place, but unless we all want to become Mr. Spock and deal with heartless, emotion-less existence, we need to find even small, seemingly inconsequential moves to eliminate opportunities and choices for students of ALL types.

Nick Young
University of Detroit Jesuit High School
University of Detroit Mercy
Detroit, MI
While I suspect many public school teachers would welcome change in the Latin AP curriculum to make it more accessible to a broader range of learners, reducing the number of authors that can be taught seems quite counter-productive. If anything, it would be nice to see a broader range of authors and writings adopted so that teachers would be able to customize their curriculum for their clientele.
I am a home educator following the Classical approach. My daughter will be starting her study of Latin in the fall and one of my goals for her is the eventual reading of the classics in the original Latin. I am very disappointed to hear that the College Board has decided to eliminate the Latin Literature exam. I hope that this petition is successful in getting them to reconsider!
The decision to eliminate the AP Latin Literature exam is appalling. O tempora, O mores INDEED.

We need MORE citizens whose minds have read the great works of ancient literature, not fewer. Like it or not, the AP credit gets the students into the upper level classroom. The Latin Lit curriculum appeals to today's teenagers, and the variety makes the hard work lighter.

Carol McMichael
Barrack Hebrew Academy
Merion, Pennsylvania
I would like express my extreme dismay at the prospect of the AP Latin Literature program's proposed removal. I find this prospect extremely disappointing from both a professional and a personal perspective. Professionally, I believe that the AP Latin Literature course plays a crucial role not just in a student's Latin acquisition but in their comprehension of language and writing more generally. Personally, my own love of the ancient world and my first understanding that ancient texts were written by real people with real human concerns stems entirely from my own AP Latin Literature experience. I believe that the removal of AP Latin Literature would be contradictory to the Advance Placement Program's own stated aims.

Jacob Lauinger
Assistant Professor of History
Roanoke College
The cancellation of the AP course in Latin Literature will hurt students' knowledge of the English language and their ability to read literary texts. Those of us who teach English literature from its origins through contemporary times know that the presence of many Latin authors is pervasive and crucial. I know that many English faculty members would like to join with our colleagues in Classics, as well as French and Italian, to protest this unwise decision. We condemn our students to provincialism and presentism if we do not educate them in the languages of other nations and of cultures that may seem remote but are in fact fundamental to our own.

Sara van den Berg
Department of English
Saint Louis University
Matt Ramsby
Latin Teacher
Hammond School
Columbia, SC
I teach classics at both the k-12 and collegiate levels, and add my voice in the strongest protest to the foolhardy and ill-considered decision of the College Board to discontinue AP Latin Literature. It is shocking to think the College Board could take such an action without consultation of experts at all levels of our profession. Countless teachers and professors have dedicated the best of their intellects and passions to inspiring our students to become lifelong learners and lovers of the humanities through Latin literature. Because of the wide-ranging impact we anticipate in the profession, the College Board should not expect this action to rest unchallenged. It is an unprincipled and uncredentialed action.

Chris Ann Matteo, Ph.D.
Edmund Burke School and University of Maryland
At our school those few students who pursue Classics in college or even a career in the discipline are often the very students who have found a way to take both AP Vergil and Latin Literature. They usually complete a summer program or an independent study to allow this to happen in their packed schedule. Removing the AP Latin Literature harms our future Classicists.

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