Wednesday, July 16, 2008

There is Hope

I admit to a bias in favor of homeschooled teens. Having met so many (not to mention having several of my own), I just think they’re so creative, interesting and bright.

But dealing with government-educated teens, like the ones that have trouble taking our orders in local fast food restaurants, and those I see slogging down the street in herds with their pants falling down on purpose, has given me the impression that they’re quite the opposite of the homeschooled teens I know. And that’s not fair. The bright kids, the ones who succeed despite spending their lives in school, also exist, but I don’t see them around too much, probably because they’re too busy spending their time in more useful pursuits, like starting and teaching their own Advanced Placement classes in Economics.

That’s right, Seth Weidman of Pittsburgh, PA, believed there was plenty of demand for an AP class in Economics, but his high school did not offer one. So he created his own class by studying up on the subject and teaching what he learned to his fellow students.

And was he successful! So far, of the 18 students in his class, nine have taken the test, and eight of the nine have received their test scores. Six scored a 5, the highest score you can get, and two scored a 4. Compare that to the national average of AP test-takers (last year, less than 15% scored a 5 and a little over 25% scored a 4), and you can see that Seth was quite successful indeed.

I applaud Seth’s initiative in setting up this class, and can’t resist emphasizing that his students did better than the average American AP test-taker, who most likely took AP classes taught by a certified, college-educated, NEA-approved teacher. Ahem.

Seth’s friends thanked him for his efforts with a cake that had “Thank you, Seth” written on it and t-shirts made for the entire group that said “Weidman School of Economics” (Seth’s wearing his in the photo accompanying the article.) What a great group of kids!


Alasandra said...

It reminds me of my public school high school days when I often tutored my friends.

And when one of my college professors was out due to medical reasons, he left me to teach the class.

Both gave me the confidence to know I could teach my own kids.

Barbara Frank said...

Wow, Alasandra, teaching a college class while still a must have doing pretty well for your prof to have that kind of confidence in you.

It's interesting that you had that confidence beforehand. I've known public school teachers who say they could never teach their own kids. I just don't get that!