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AP Latin Literature Cancelled -- Please Add Your Name


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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I noted that the Washington Post article had this correction:
The headline on an April 4 A-section article incorrectly said that four underenrolled Advanced Placement classes will be eliminated in 2008-2009. They will be cut in 2009-2010.

This, at least, means that people won't be scrambling with what to do for the upcoming school year and current course selections.

But even still, as Eleanor Jefferson said above, we have a GROWING number of middle school Latin programs and students who are staying with Latin longer than before, who need the opportunities that both tests afford, if our curriculums are going to be AP driven anyway. If not, students will turn to other things, not because they don't want to take Latin, but because the competition to get into college is currently so fierce.

Ginny Lindzey
Dripping Springs H.S.
(south of) Austin, TX
This is an outrageous decision by the College Board. I plan to write them a letter and hope to get many Classics teachers in SC to do so as well. Supposedly this is a move on the CB's part towards making one really good Latin AP course over the next several years, but by not consulting Latin teachers across the country in this process I think they are making a horrible mistake. They are losing the voice of the people who know these exams best, and they are alienating people who either are potential supporters of the AP or have long been supporters.
Tracy Seiler
President, South Carolina Classical Association
Having taught AP Catullus-Horace every other year, and more recently in consecutive years, since 1977, I am very sad to see last week's decision by the College Board to drop the offering. If ever there were an offering that is a compatible fit with Vergil, this is it. The fact that students in high school could really get to the heart of the poetic tradition (Greek and Roman) and grapple with the history and culture of the first century BC was astounding and, in my opinion, as rigorous as any course offered by the AP Program. My classes regularly read some Cicero while we're at it in the Catullus-Horace class, and it has been a great treat to see the students dig into the Greek Lyric background, the Latin poetic tradition before Catullus and the poetic flowering from Catullus, Horace, and Vergil in the context of the Augustan revolution. I join with those who are protesting this decision by the College Board.
Writing from the UK, I do not have the same grasp of the context and implications, but you have my sympathy over this. Our recent experience (a big fight over the future of a qualification in Ancient History at School level last year) is that this kind of decision can be reversed if there is a sufficient outcry and sign of demand, so please do not give up on this yet...
best wishes
Tom Harrison (JACT, Joint Association of Classical Teachers)
Like many, I am surprised and disappointed to hear that the College Board is dropping the Latin Literature course. It is a blow to diversity, something we teach our students to embrace. The diversity of potential Latin authors is reduced from five to one (Vergil), and the diversity of language offerings in general has been reduced dramatically (Latin Literature, French Literature, Italian). Finally, as this will inevitably have a negative impact on high school course enrollments, it will reduce the diversity of school offerings nationally and, in the end, opportunities for students to learn.
As a person about to enter the Latin teaching profession, I'm disappointed in the College Board's decision to drop AP Latin Literature. AP opportunities are huge draws for students in these competitive times, and the inability to offer wonderful authors like Catullus and Horace for AP credit will prove a detriment to enrollments in the coming years. Even if these tests disappear, I will strive to bring my students into contact with a broader selection of Latin texts than Vergil alone can provide.

Matt Katsenes,
M.A.T. Student
UMass Amherst
I am sorry to see this happen. I have been teaching the Catullus/Horace option for quite a few years. When I can, I alternate the Vergil and LL--students of mine who who took both say generally thatthey like the LL better, since it is not all the same thing. I think they are better served by a two author option rather than a single author option for a year-long course (of course, the equivalent courses in colleges are only a semester in length).

John Higgins
The Gilbert School
Winsted, CT
I support the petition. Please add my name. Sandra Gambetti College of Staten Island - CUNY
This is a horrible decision by the College Board, which once again betrays their shaky (at best) support for the humanities. The timing couldn't be worse, with high school latin student numbers slowly beginning to recover after decades of plummeting. Let's hope this does not severly impact their enthusiasm and the opportunities for students and departments at the upper level as well.

Jonathan MacLellan
University of Texas at Austin
Graduate Student and Teaching Assistant
When we take choices away from students, that is not good for education or our future. After the poor business decision last year that you made requiring (only) high school teachers to have course syllabi approved by a badly planned and improperly executed process, this latest educational choice is absolutely appalling.

Laura Higley
Pequannock Township High School, Pompton Plains, NJ
The cancellation of the Latin Literature AP is appalling. The greatest country in the world should have the most resources available for its young learners and this decision by ETS seems very short-sighted. I can only hope that in this apparent set-back for the field there is some kind of hidden opportunity for advancing our cause. But I was very saddened by this decision.
I agree with the many arguments listed in previous posts in support of the AP Latin Literature course and exam. If that exam must be nixed, an alternative that does not require one to focus on the Aeneid for an entire year should be created--preferably one that focuses more on the Latin language itself than either of the current tests does!

Justin Bailey
Latin and English Teacher
Pacifica Christian High School
Santa Monica, CA




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