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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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(part 3 of 3)
There are schools that have invested extensive resources into textbook purchases and teacher training based on the present AP curriculum. What of the teacher who is taking a course this summer, perhaps with public school funding, specifically designed for AP Latin Literature preparation? Is this preparation to be good for only one year? (At Hunter College we just added some courses to our Latin teacher training MA program specifically to help train teachers for all five AP Latin authors.) What of textbooks that have been written with the AP audience specifically in mind? While changes do happen, the speed of this announced change give publishers too little time to adjust their plans.

(4) Summary

The announced cancellation of the Latin Literature AP affects colleges as well as secondary schools. It will have impact on what Latin is or is not read at the secondary school level. This in turn will have an effect on the preparation level of incoming college students.

The AP program is the only large and widely recognized program for advanced level Latin study at the secondary school level. If this change goes through, some schools may just stop participating, which would negatively affect students. Others may continue with just the Vergil, losing students who may not be as interested in that particular curriculum. This, in turn, will affect enrollments in Latin at both the secondary and college levels.

The best solution would be to rescind immediately this hasty decision for the sake of Latin study in this country. If any changes in the AP Latin program are to be contemplated, the College Board owes it to those of us in the Latin profession to engage in professional consultation. Still further, if the College Board is to maintain its reputation as an organization with education in mind and not just the bottom line, it has a long way to go in repairing the respect it has lost from members of the Latin community through this latest decision.


Ronnie Ancona
Professor of Classics
Hunter College and The Graduate Center, CUNY
April 10, 2008
Bravo! This was very well-written! I was not aware of the early history of the AP Latin Lit syllabus - definitely something which AP Latin teachers need to know. I thought you addressed everything very concisely and more importantly, professionally and diplomatically. Thanks for writing this on behalf of so many disgruntled Latin teachers.

Keith Toda
Brookwood High School
Snellville, GA
Would like to see this decision turned around. Lest I make a slippery slope argument, I should preface my complaint with the observation that the effects of this mistake run deep. The question the AP board should now ask is: what benefit can come from this decision? Moreover, and more importantly, what precedent does this set now for other subjects? This decision is quite revealing of those who made it. It tells us the board values pragmatism over principle. And judgment seems arbitrary as opposed to foundational. I must state the simple truth, which this decision paints educational industry as losing the wisdom found etymologically in 'Education' itself. Are we now valuing what is convenient rather than what is good?
Greg Lynch

St. Sebastian's School
Needham, MA
the many latin friends here speak my mind.

patrick j. bradley
rockbridge county high school
lexington, virginia
I would like to add my voice to those of my colleagues. Removing the opportunity for high school students to experience Latin literature in the AP program can only risk a loss of interest in the subject at the college level, as well as robbing students of an opportunity to learn about the foundations of their intellectual heritage. I hope that the College Board will reverse its decision.

Liz Gloyn, MPhil (Cantab)
PhD candidate
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
Please add my disdain to the AP's sudden cancellation of the Latin Literature exam.
Ronnie Ancona, Rick LaFleur, and others speak more eloquently and knowledgably than I can on this topic. What shocks me about the decision is that it appears to reflect astonishing ignorance on the part of the College Board at three levels:
1) They appear to be completely unconcerned about, and unresponsive to, the commitment of the Classics Teaching profession to the LL Exam.
2) Given that the Latin Exams, unlike the majority of other AP Exams, have a narrow focus in the first place, it is particularly serious to narrow the possible advanced work available to students to just one author. This seems to reflect a fundamental ignorance of the vast array of literature available in Classics.
3) In an age when the teaching profession is encouraged to consider the different needs, talents and interests of individual students, such narrowing of the curriculum is particularly discouraging. The cancellation of the LL exam removes options that will reduce the richness of the Latin experience for many students. The College Board seems ignorant of what is happening at the grass roots level to engage the variety of students now in our programs.

Caroline Kelly
Covenant Day School
Charlotte, NC
I add myself to those already unhappy (and more eloquent) concerning the loss of this exam.
Lilly Ettinger
Baylor 2009, Waco, TX
Dr. Rick LaFleur provided me with the official letters from both the ACL and APA to the College Board. I have attached them here.
First of all, gratias plurimas agimus to Rick LaFleur, Andrew Reinhard, Ronnie Ancona, the ACL, the APA, and all those who have written the College Board. The wonderul, reasoned, yet still passionate replies of so many are quite simply, mirabile auditu.

I am sure that many on this list are on Latinteach as well, and if so, you read the full email from Mary Pendergraft. That email says in as polite words as possible that there is not a chance on the banks of the Styx that the College Board will change its position and that we should, in essence, suck it up and accept the new regime for the good of the children.

I sincerely hope this is not the case, and I again applaud those who have so eloquently written on this issue.

Steve Perkins
Indianapolis, IN
My students join me in disappointment over this decision. My rising juniors, who would have taken AP Vergil next year, now wish to take AP Lit and delay Vergil until their senior year so that they can have both AP's. My sentiment is that I can find my own additional resources and I would much prefer that they stick with making the exams ONLY.

Since this decision was made without consultation and in such haste, I can but only wonder what else might be up their sleeves!

Ex animo,

Marla Neal
Latin Instructor
Dux Femina Facti
Girls Preparatory School
P.O. Box 4736
205 Island Avenue
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37405
It makes little sense that the College Board Advanced Placement Program, which has been boasting the new exams that it adds every year, would drop a successful program like Latin Literature. Personally I took the Literature exam along with Vergil and both have helped me by giving me generous college credit at UC. Ultimately if they do this colleges and especially their Classics programs, along with high school teachers, but most of all students themselves will be at a loss. I only hope the College Board can accept responsibility for all of that plus much more.




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