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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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I am most disturbed in all of this debate by the implication that the Vergil course could be replaced by a survey course. Isn't that what the Latin Lit course being cancelled is? I like both, but, in my limited program prefer to teach the Vergil as I find that my students follow a single author, a single style and vocabulary, a single meter, and a single story line better and retain that information better for the AP Exam. My Latin IV before Vergil is a survey course, usually including Cicero, Plautus, Ovid, Catullus, Horace and a touch of Vergil, to give those students who reach four (and few here do) a selection of authors. The fewer still who reach AP often have to do it as an independent study course, and that works better with the single author.
I feel particularly aggrieved for all of those teachers who spent so much time and effort getting their AP Lit syllabi approved, only to have the exam cancelled. Certainly we could continue to teach the course, but who would sign up without the exam or the extra weight some schools offer to an AP course?
I agree that the AP board has, perhaps, not considered all of the consequences to a change of this magnitude. Changes in curriculum and long-range course planning cannot and should not be made virtually overnight. That they are asking for professors' input on what truly constitutes a college level course is a step in the right direction, but they need input from those of us teaching at the high school level as well, about how we can align (or not!) our curricula to prepare for whatever the course or courses become. What are realistic expectations about what changes can or cannot be made, according to state and local guidelines, to prepare for new either the single Vergil exam, a revised Vergil/survey exam or some totally new confabulation of an exam? All of these things need and deserve due consideration, so please add my voice to Dr. Ancona's call for that moratorium until a coherent discussion and resolution can be achieved.
Thank you so much for making these points in your letter! A moratorium sounds to me like an excellent compromise on this issue. I realize we would all like to see both exams remain as viable options for teachers and students, but I get the impression from College Board's recent communications that this isn't even a possibility anymore. On the other hand, you are quite correct about the devastating effect the timing of this change will have on smaller Latin programs, particularly when teachers have little to no time to adjust their curricula according to these changes and then proposed future changes. A moratorium would also be an equitable compromise for teachers who, like myself, spent the tme and effort to get their Latin Literature syllabi approved through the course audit process.

As things currently stand, students and teachers in my school and in my county are furious with
College Board over this decision and the manner in which it was made. If a moratorium were instituted, thus delaying the implementation of this decision without rescinding it all together, I know that I personally would feel vastly better about continuing to work with College Board.

I have already signed my name to the petition, but if names are going to be used separately if they request a delay rather than a complete rejection of the plan to cancel AP Latin Literature, I would prefer that my name appear on the petition for the moratorium, both because I think it is more likely to happen and because I think College Board has offered a valuable service and has earned some compromise from the Latin teachers.

Irina Greenman
Hayfield Secondary School
Latin teacher
Sponsor, Latin Club
AP Latin Literature contributed 3 hours towards my major requirements as a Classicist at Rice University.

I hope to teach the course when I graduate and take my place as a teacher of the Latin language. I can't imagine my high school experience without this course.

Jessica Roper
Rice University Class of 2009/St. Andrew's Episcopal School alumna
Houston, TX
I add my name to the list of diappointed classicists.
I have taught the AP Vergil course and love reading the Aeneid. I have also taught the AP Latin Literature course. I find it difficult to imagine only ever teaching one author at the AP level, and for that matter only one text of one author. If this decision of the College Board does indeed go into effect, I will not be surprised if many of us abandon AP Latin altogether. I do hope the College Board will reevaluate this decision, with input from those of us who teach Latin at the high school level.

Elizabeth Baer
Latin Teacher
Pittsfield Public Schools
Pittsfield, MA
What a shame this is...our current Latin offerings are being hastily re-worked just to accomodate next year's students, and those who will be in Vergil next year as Juniors will have no place to go as Seniors. We are trying to get the students to have their parents call in & protest to the administration to at least allow us to combine Latin Lit. & Vergil for one last time next year..

Kim Gray
I was fortunate enough to take both AP Vergil and AP Latin Lit in high school. Both courses were integral in fostering my love for classics. These courses show very different sides of Latin literature, and oftentimes it is the material in the Latin literature course to which students can better relate.

Philip Arevalo
Brown University 2011
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology 2007
I am currenly teaching the AP Vergil, but was planning to do AP Latin Lit in the future. I have had many students who would benefit from the AP Latin Lit exam, and it seems a terrible shame and a waste to take from them the opportunity to really delve into classical literature,

Colin Brodd
Saint Mary Academy - Bay View
Riverside, Rhode Island
That's a shame. It's bad enough to have to teach grammar to incoming freshmen starting Latin fresh. This will undoubtedly erode the quality of the more experienced students, too. Vergil is only a small (though rich) corner of the Latin language; don't deny younger students breadth and variety in their exposure to it.

John Welsh
Graduate Student
Department of Classics
Fordham University
--I figured it was time to add this point.
Ronnie

----- Original Message -----
From: Ronnie Ancona
To: Packer, Trevor
Sent: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 11:45 AM
Subject: AP Latin - secondary school teacher involvement


Dear Trevor,

I very much hope you include secondary school Latin teachers, as well, at the colloquium you plan on AP Latin next year. While college teachers have an important perspective on how AP Latin fits with current college Latin programs, it is the secondary school Latin teachers who have the best up-to-date insight into the actual practice of teaching AP Latin. That perspective seems absolutely essential to any discussion of the current situation of AP Latin and to plans for the future.

Anyone who has been a Reader for the AP Latin exams knows that the mix of college and secondary school faculty as graders is critical for the secondary school/college "bridge" that is AP. In addition, the Latin Test Development Committee always has that mix. Leaving secondary school teachers out of discussion of AP Latin's future would mean the lack of a critical perspective on the AP Latin program. I very much hope that you will expand the group you will convene to include secondary school AP Latin teachers.

All best,

Ronnie

Ronnie Ancona
Professor of Classics
Hunter College and The Graduate Center, CUNY
As a professional organization that is meant to speak to and challenge the hardest working, highest achieving of our students, I think this decision by College Board sends a remarkable, counter-intuitive message: that the value of a subject/curriculum is determined more by money/convenience than what it ultimately offers to the experience of the student. I will continue teaching Horace and Catullus even if this decision is made final, but how frustrating it will be to see students achieving at that high level and have no outlet or reward for their efforts.

And as one student put it: "Well, Mr Jennings, you can just start teaching the vocabulary for Vergil in first year, then design your course around The Aeneid." And what purpose would that ultimately serve? Answer: The students will score highly on one test about one author, yet have very little experience outside of it. Does that provide the background that our students will need when they enter college courses?

I urge the College Board to reconsider what looks to be a hasty decision.

Thanks,

Will Jennings
Chair, Foreign Language Department
Latin Teacher
Episcopal Collegiate School
Little Rock, AR
I strongly object to the cancellation of the AP Latin Literature. I fear its cancellation will derail the growing interest in and support for Latin in our high schools, ultimately impoverishing our most valuable and vulnerable constituency: our students.

Anne Collins Smith, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Classical Studies
Stephen F. Austin State University
Nacogdoches, TX

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