Friday, December 15, 2006

Little things can count 

A high school facing budget cuts makes the choice to eliminate some advanced placement courses. That can have a cost on the school's seniors when they apply to selective colleges. So in one case, the school's guidance counselors sent letters to the colleges explaining the situation.
The letter of explanation that Westwood officials are sending to ... admissions officers tells them to "be aware that we experienced substantial budget cuts last spring which significantly impacted our course offerings for the 2006-2007 school year."

"We encourage all of our students to build a solid academic record in preparation for college by taking four years of all their academic subjects," the letter continued. "A number of seniors who would have continued on with a fourth year of science, social studies, and/or foreign language, or combination were unable to take the recommended courses because they were not offered."
The school cites rising utility bills and special education as the cause of the cuts, accompanied by no budget increase the previous year and a 4.6% increase this year. The article does not give us an idea of what alternatives there were to cutting these courses. It does note that for one school "rigor of curriculum" is the largest factor in admissions, while another says they cannot "penalize a student for classes that aren't available." So we know the classes cut had a cost to the students of some kind, but not how much and without against which to compare that cost.

(h/t: Chronicle news blog)