Changes in Class Levels Bring Mixed Reactions

October 9, 2019

These past years in Batavia High School, the staff has made the decision to take out the general classes, making it CP, Honors, and AP classes only. 

During meetings throughout the year last year the elimination of general classes was discussed, and this school year that discussion turned into a reality. The staff, the principal, and the superintendent all decided that taking them out would be the best decision not only for the staff, but also for the students.

On General classes Tim Derickson, the principal of the school, had a very strong opinion on the general classes not teaching kids enough for state testing standards. After discussions of taking out the general classes Derickson said one of the biggest benefits would be increasing test scores. “The state’s benchmark for state testing is at a CP level, so to teach below a college standard yet you expect kids to achieve at a college prep level, when you’re not teaching them at that level is what creates a problem,” Derickson said.

In previous years Batavia High School has had many general classes, one or two for social studies, and a few for math and English. Quite a few kids take these classes. General classes are like the lower classes, College Prep, or CP classes, are like the middle, and honors classes are like the top kind of class.

Many teachers have said this change was long overdue, and that they were happier that we would be able to have more electives being taught, but many students are dissatisfied. Nathan Larios, a senior at Batavia High School had a differing opinion from Derickson, “The kids were in a general class for a reason,” said Larios “I believe the change was made for financial gain, Derickson cares more about money then general kids future.” The role of money is important, seeing as how the higher our test scores are the more funding we get for things at the school. 

Andrew Heslin was even more blunt in his criticism. “I hate that general class were taken, now we are stuck with all the stupid kids,” Heslin said. Students who previously enrolled in general courses expresed some concern that they might have difficulty adjusting from last year, since they have been taking general classes all of high school and are now being forced into a more difficult class because there are no more general classes.

Despite these frustrations, there is more to this decision than just a simple class label. While some former CP students are bothered by the removal of General classes, and However, The principal seems to think that without  being in a CP class they will never pass the state test. “Telling kids that they belong in a certain class that’s below all the others is unfair. Telling them that they aren’t as smart or as able as other kids by putting them in these classes just isn’t right, it’s not even giving them a chance.” Derickson said.

Not everyone agrees on this plan, as some teachers had some complaints. “I’ve had some complaints from some teachers who still want to identify their students by general or CP,” said Derickson, adding that the fact that teachers still identify students by general or CP is “A shame.” Derickson added, “Because we need to stand up and say ‘this is not the way that we should be thinking.”

This is a very new change, so it may be a while before the people in the school are used to not having those classes anymore. In the past, many area schools such as Williamsburg, Batavia’s neighboring town over, had already taken out general classes. 

At Batavia High School there seems to be many differing opinions on the removal of general classes, but what is certain is that they are gone.

“It was long overdue,” said Derickson. “ It was definitely the right way to go.”

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