AP Art was neglected

While the education system attempts to standardize learning for a diverse population of students through Common Core Standards, the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) have been placed as the focal point for education, well ahead of arts and humanities.

This was sadly apparent this year when the AP art program was shortchanged and students were forced to deal with circumstances that should have been addressed much sooner.

In mid October, Cal’s AP art teacher left due to undisclosed reasons. The AP art students took the weight of the fall. 

For about a week following the teacher’s absence, the school failed to provide a substitute. In fact, when multiple students went to the office to inform the school they had no teacher, administrators appeared completely unaware of the situation. 

As a result, the ceramics and Art 1 teachers often stepped in to give the students assignments. But this happened multiple times throughout the year.

By the end of October, the students finally got a substitute teacher. But these substitutes changed every day and each gave different assignments that were never graded because they didn’t have access to schoolloop.

As a result, several students dropped the class after the first semester. 

The first semi-permanent substitute arrived in third quarter. This is when students were first able to be given long-term assignments. Students had to finish three,  high-quality pieces every two weeks in order to meet the AP test deadline. 

To put that into perspective, the normal time frame for AP art is two pieces in a month.

Most artists couldn’t meet the deadlines. As a result, only six of the AP art class’s original 25 students submitted for the AP portfolio. 

Can you imagine if only 24 percent of students who took AP United States History or Calculus AB took their respective AP tests? It would be considered an immense failure on behalf of the program and the school. 

In addition, if the teachers of any academic AP classes had to leave early in the year due to unforeseen circumstances, the school would most likely replace these teachers as soon as physically possible, lest they risk its reputation, not to mention receiving a flood of angry parent emails and phone calls.

We need to prioritize student needs over the hyper-standardization of classes and the worship of STEM fields. 

Humanities students have something valuable to bring to the table, and the school needs to recognize and foster their unique abilities. Sadly, many of these talented students were unjustly neglected this year.