New Precalc Curriculum Comes With Controversy

A look into the highs and lows of CHS’s updated Pre Calc curriculum.
New Precalc Curriculum Comes With Controversy

Pre Calc has always been a challenging class: but this year that difficulty has been elevated. Students and teachers alike have been struggling to keep up with the new curriculum which has been standardized to fit AP guidelines. Since this is the first time that Community has been offering an AP-style class, everyone involved has mixed reviews on how this year is going.

If you are familiar with how Community operates, you probably know that the school prides itself on not offering AP classes. So therein lies the issue of having an AP curriculum but no AP accreditation: all students at CHS taking AP Pre Calc will get credit for the class but only a standard credit, not AP. Students also don’t have a choice of whether or not they get looped into this AP curriculum because it applies to every Pre Calc class at CHS. Luciana Qu, a Pre Calc teacher, feels that there are ups and downs to adopting this AP standard. While it’s unfortunate that students don’t directly receive the AP credit, it offers them an opportunity to take the AP exam.

“I think it’s important to recognize students’ efforts and the time that they spend on the curriculum,” Qu said. “The way to make sure [students] do get credit is by having them take the AP exam and showing it to colleges because that in itself speaks volumes.”

Community students have been vocal in their opinions about math this year, and their views are varied. Some students feel like this class is just what they need, while others feel an increased struggle and dislike for the class. Mallory Towers, a sophomore, has been a year ahead in math ever since 3rd grade. She has been enjoying this year’s math curriculum and feels that it’s the perfect difficulty for her.

“I really like it, I think it’s a lot of fun and a good challenge,” Towers said. “Last year, I was getting bored with my math class, but this year it’s so much better.”

However, not every student is enjoying math this year. Fina Kutcher, another student in Luciana’s class, is feeling the weight this year’s math class has brought.

“Personally, I’m exhausted and fed up with trying to keep up with the amount of work we’ve been assigned,” Kutcher said.

The new curriculum has not only been a battle for the students but also for the teachers responsible for making the class productive and a positive learning environment. Qu has been teaching Pre Calc at CHS for three years now, but her workload isn’t getting any lighter. In her first year, Qu thought that putting in the work to create things like annotated homework answer keys would be worth her time because she could use them for years to come. Unfortunately, with the constant change in curriculum, that extra work has gone to waste. And she isn’t alone in feeling this pressure.

“A lot of math teachers are struggling right now with work-life balance,” Qu said. “And when teachers are struggling with that, like not getting enough sleep, or working a lot on the curriculum and the answer keys, it leaves less time for their personal lives and they become tired and as a result, their teaching suffers.”

Overall, the new Pre-Calculus curriculum has brought forth controversy. It’s impossible to know whether Ann Arbor Public Schools will continue with this new approach to the class or if they will revert to one of the old methods. Hopefully, throughout the year students and staff will be able to find a balance within this challenging class.

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About the Contributors
Elle McCreadie
Elle McCreadie, Journalist
Elle is a junior at CHS and this is her first year on staff. Outside of room 300, you can find her playing guitar in her room, drinking a matcha latte, or contemplating buying concert tickets. Elle loves spending time with family and friends, swimming in lakes up north, and doing absolutely anything involving music. She is super excited to see what this year in Journalism brings!
Kyrie Garwood
Kyrie Garwood, Journalist
Kyrie is a junior at Community and is in her first semester on staff. When she's not at CHS you can probably find her at Pioneer where she dives, plays basketball, and plays softball. On the rare occasion, she's not at Pioneer she enjoys going to the movies with friends, playing Euchre, and working as a lifeguard at Vet's Pool. Kyrie is eager to write and share important stories about those in our community.

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