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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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Ginny,

I love this idea and love the oral proficiency exam. Although I am not one of the magic 48, you have won me over, and I would very much like to incorporate this into my curriculum somehow.

Keith (who is now officially on summer vacation)
I am strongly against the removal of AP Latin Lit. It is an amazing class and Ovid and Catullus are both highly entertaining and fun to read. Having two different AP Latin classes provides further education for high school students who love the language, especially ones who start early in middle school. The Aenid is a wonderful work, but let's face it, Vergil can be a bit dull at times, where as Catullus' works are witty and have an end in sight (with the exception of maybe 64!). Please do not remove this wonderful class. I believe I speak for many students when I say it has truely helped me understand and enjoy Latin more.

Jessica McCarron
AP Student and 5 year Latin Student
Lincoln High School: Tallahassee, FL
As an AP Student this year, I am very sad to see this test go. Catullus is incredibly fun and funny to read. His more relaxed, less poetic/epic style is what makes him so much fun to translate. I have taken AP Laitn Lit this year as a junior, and am taking AP Latin vergil next year. Our school's Latin club and class has just bloomed this year, and this could result in some cuts, especially with our HUGE budget cuts.

Logan Stafman
Lawton Chiles High School
Tallahassee, FL
I love the variety of the Latin Literature syllabus and also the chance for students to take two different AP Latin exams and earn additional college credits. I have found that teaching a lyric poet like Catullus, along with one of the other Latin Literature authors, provides a nice contrast for students to working with a single author on a long narrative poem. Both are important, and I am very upset that the College Board would remove one opportunity without any warning.

Tonia Sanborn Anderson
St. George's Independent School
Germantown, TN
This is ridiculous - Latin was just seeing a resurgence in students interested in keeping the language alive, and here they are trying to cut out the 'dead' language like always?

My Latin teacher in high school (Bee English at Lake Travis) is why I'm gunning for a classics degree next. It's far easier to bring alive the tribulations of Catullus, or the political import of Cicero, than it is to trudge through Vergil (no matter how important his works were, they just don't always grab at the mind the way the other AP Latin test subjects do).
Latin teacher extraordinaire, Ginny Lindzey, wrote an articulate and thorough letter to the College Board's Board of Trustees on April 25. You may read that letter via her LiveJournal page.

Lindzey received a reply from Trevor Packer, Vice President of the Advanced Placement Program, on May 10. Please read the reply by clicking here.

eClassics wishes to thank Ms. Lindzey for the links to both letter and response.
I think it was totally wrong of the College Board to drop the AP Latin Literature exam without first talking to Latin teachers and trying to collaborate and work with us before making this radical decision. We might have been able to come to some arrangement that would have pleased both sides. Latin Literature is the best of the AP Latin exams. Who wants to give up Catullus, Ovid, Horace, or Cicero?
But the thing is, the Vergilians will say that the Vergil exam is the best.... It depends on the attitude of the teacher, how it is taught, etc. It may well be that in a few years the "pinnacle" Latin AP exam will include a selection of these authors again and not be entirely Vergil. We just have to keep in mind that they want ONE pinnacle exam. I think we will never change their minds on this, but it we are smart, we can make sure we are involved in future changes to the exam as they strive to make it more closely aligned ot National Standards.

ginnyL, Dripping Springs HS
Whether or not to offer an AP test in a certain subject is not about numbers, although that seems to be true in this case. Cancelling the AP Latin Literature class will be a severe blow to all Latin programs throughout secondary schools in the United States. It further undermines the teaching of humanities in the United States and everywhere. I cannot believe that those who determine these things really want this to happen. Maybe they ought to try reading the Pro Archia
I've read the Pro Archia, but I don't think this is truly the case. It is easy to look for educational conspiracies, it is easy to think this is just another case of the ill-informed not understanding how important Latin is, but to blindly convince ourselves that this is the case is to not look at the bigger picture.

Reading the AP annual reports and the letters that have been posted both to my letter to AP and the one that more completely addressed the issues of World Languages AND stepping back to see the bigger picture helps tremendously.

AP wants a pinnacle exam for all languages. Part of this is numbers/money, part of this is statistics, but MOST of this--if you read all the letters and reports--is about equality and unification. No one is out to kill Latin.

Vatican 2 wasn't out to kill Latin programs in the United States either, but it did. And Latin came back--it came back because of creative thinkers and teachers who were able to market our fine product on its merits.

And while everyone is busy moaning over AP killing Latin programs, let me ask who has done their part to get new teachers into the field? AP isn't our biggest threat to Latin in this country--lack of new teachers is. Did you celebrate National Latin Teacher Recruitment Week last March? THAT'S where the threat to our programs lies, because if we are in a district that has several schools and slowly they are not able to fill the positions of Latin teachers who are retiring, well they'll just retire the language altogether. Then our complaining about AP will be moot.

Our question for the future should be IF we could have whatever authors we wanted on the pinnacle test, what would it be? Why not a balance of prose and poetry? A semester of Vergil and a semester of Cicero?

We should put all of our energy into changing the future test to best represent Latin literature and stop seeing conspiracies everywhere. It's like the teacher who the other day was surprised and appalled that her administrators didnt "make" her Latin 3 class of 11 students. HOW was this teacher surprised? Just because Latin is "important" or students want or "need" a 3rd year of language? School budgets are TIGHT. The solution: be willing to teach split level or start marketing your course so your classes are bigger.

There's a lot WE can do. WE need to start doing it.
For many years now, my Latin students have set their sights on taking the AP Vergil and then Latin Literature Catullus-Ovid or Catullus-Cicero in their fifth year. I feel betrayed for the trust I placed in College Board so many years, trusting that they would continue to offer the variety of Latin exams and curricula.

Why don't we Latin teachers and professors keep the torch burning by institutionalizing our own continuance of Latin Literature curricula and exams through ACL or CAMWS? After all, can we not trust each others' commitment to the cause and the offerings far more than the capricious winds that blow willy-nilly from the lofty towers of the College Board?

We've kept the ACL's National Latin Exam alive and burgeoning for many years, and on our own terms -- i.e., it is rewritten annually according to its own syllabus. The College Board whined about its 'closely guarded' multiple choice section, whereas we Latin teachers and Classicists felt rightly that it could and should be rewritten annually.

In this way and many others I believe we Latin teachers and professors could create, administer, and grade far better 'AP' type exams annually, and our own university Classics departments could place more credence in scores on exams we ourselves managed via our professional organizations.

Yes, it would take Herculean labor, Croesus' money, and Roman organization. Better this than for us to abide ever as sucklings to an impervious and fickle College Board.

Samuel Marshall, Latin Teacher
Crockett High School
Austin, TX
Well stated.

The solution lies in abandoning all attempts to reason with that sham 'not-for-profit ' corporation in Princeton, NJ and create our own exam.

We can call our course "Thank God, It's Not A.P. Latin Literature!"

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