Diversity in AP/IB classes


Oriane Dancler, Reporter

The International Baccalaureate (IB)  program is what draws kids to John Adams High School. Even if students are not drawn by this program, they are drawn by the diversity and the atmosphere of Adams. I, Oriane Dancler, am a student and I feel that these statements are true for me. I chose Adams because  I felt it was a great school for me academically. The classes I take at Adams are advanced and difficult, but I am thankful for the opportunity that I get to take them. I wish there were more people who looked like me who took them.

I currently take all honors classes, one IB and one Advanced Placement (AP). The diversity in these classes is low in my opinion. Most people who take these classes are from a high socioeconomic background and/or college-educated parents. I have both of these backgrounds; my parents pushed education on me as a kid, which made me take these classes. I would also say it was because of my past schools that also were advanced schools as well. I was used to not having many people of color in my classes. This year was different because I had never taken an AP class or an IB class before. Walking into these classes no matter how welcoming the teachers are still makes me feel unwelcomed. Even though I know I am smart enough for these classes, I still feel that I do not deserve to be in them. I feel stared at when I walk in for the first day like a black sheep. I just felt so alone at the beginning because there was no one like me. I knew I had to try harder than the rest of the students to prove that I am just like them. No matter what I felt, I had to try ten times harder to feel like I belonged there. In those classes, I will always feel that I am not good enough no matter how high my grade is because I feel unwanted in these classes.

The feeling of not belonging is a reason the IB/ AP program at Adams needs to be more diverse. Adams has so many different groups and cultures that no one should ever feel alone. I feel the IB program needs to be more publicized and promoted to kids of color who may benefit from taking it. Most kids think that if they enroll in the IB program, they must fill their entire schedule with IB classes. However, they need to know that they can do partial IB, where they can take one IB class if they want to. These kids need to know more about this program besides the full IB diploma.  It is more than just the feeling of being unwelcomed that stops kids from wanting to take these classes. It is that they have other needs that must be met outside of school. They might not have the basic essentials to carry the needs of these classes. These basic essentials may include a graphing calculator and wifi at home. I feel the school should give ways to help these kids so they can take these classes if they choose to.  A solution needs to be brought up not just for the statistics to go up but because it is an important issue. The school has been talking about this problem for years and no one has the courage to fix it. 

Now is the time to fix the problem. Mr. Weaver’s current events class has come up with a solution that may help the problem. I am a part of the class as well as many other students. We worked on this topic for weeks trying to figure out the main problems and a way to get higher and lower socioeconomic backgrounds into these two programs. The solution we came up with was to extend IB Standard level classes and make them two years instead of one. This would help kids that may have a job or have to take care of their siblings. A lot of kids want to take these classes but they cannot because of their home lives and they do not have time to do the homework. The solution we propose would help students get all of their homework done in class. People are putting in effort to help diversify the IB/AP programs for kids who want to take them; the administration just needs to listen to them. Students need to know that no matter who they are, they can and deserve to be in these classes.