AP vs. CP: is there a two-tier education?

Natalia Gevara, Entertainment Editor

Advanced Placement classes offer a variety of opportunities, as students who pass the exam can earn college credits and are granted a GPA boost. However, AP students may find themselves on the top of the “two-tiered system” that is sometimes used to describe the learning hierarchy at Bear Creek.

College Preparatory (CP) is believed by some to be the bottom of this two-tiered system, even though CP classes are supposed to be — as the name suggests — preparation for college.

“In CP classes people tend to sleep, whereas in my AP classes people are usually working,” junior Aleena Lano said. “With the motivation, you can see the difference between the classes.”

Although both AP and CP classes are open to all, some students say there is a certain stigma surrounding CP classes that leaves some students hesitant to take them.

“I want to get into college, so I take AP classes to get a higher GPA,” junior Emma Snyder said. “But there’s also an underlying cause of why I don’t take CP classes, and that’s because the students in the class sometimes tend to not be focused. They’re just rowdy, wild, and some students are kind of mean actually. It’s just not a good environment to be in.”

But CP classes harbor a mixture of all types of students. Some hardworking CP students find themselves stuck in an environment where expressing themselves is difficult.

“When you get into CP, a lot of students are embarrassed to say that they know what they’re doing or they might be enjoying it, because they don’t feel it’s an atmosphere where they can say that,” social science teacher Kathy Scott said.

This issue causes students to struggle with choosing whether or not they want to take the rigorous AP courses, or take a college prep class. Seeing both options on two opposite ends of the spectrum, many students decided to take ERWC, believing that it’s the middle ground of English classes.

“I actually do see (ERWC) as the middle, because there is a combination of the AP students and also the CP students,” senior Rydell Donato said.

However, the notion that ERWC is anything more than a CP class is a misconception.

“ERWC is a CP class,” ERWC teacher Chris Ramirez said. “I have the same issues that a lot of CP teachers do too and I don’t see it to be any more rigorous than a CP course.”

Viewing Bear Creek as a two-tiered system between AP and CP students, however, may actually be detrimental to those who feel they fall in the middle.

“Being so black and white really marginalizes the students who are in the gray-scale,” Ramirez said.

Additionally, some students may have other problems outside of school that keep them from focusing on an education.

“Some kids grow up in a very tumultuous background,” AP Chemistry and Conceptual Physics teacher Steffi Terrill said. “They have a hard time focusing on school when there are so many other issues that they have to deal with.”

Socioeconomic conditions are also a factor in a student’s school success.

“I see that socioeconomic conditions hurt kids, and parenting plays a big part,” social science teacher Alan Phipps said.

Although some AP students partake in many extracurriculars that represent the school, there are CP students who do the same.

“I know AP students who aren’t necessarily concerned with anything but their grades, and CP students who are all over the place who care about their grades and also do extracurriculars,” Ramirez said.