Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pisgah's Done For

The AP tests are an integral part of the academic system. These tests ($95 each) cover many subjects, and allow students to, if they achieve a certain score on them, exempt from certain classes in college. When a student takes the AP test, they notify their college of choice, and they arrange their classes with said exemption in mind. In some students' cases this year, they arranged to exempt four classes, wiping an entire semester or more off their degree path. It is the high school's job to ensure that, once the students finish these tests, said tests make it to the College Board centers. This usually requires a small amount of effort, such as recording the tracking number, putting special devices to track it more directly, and various other methods.
My school, Mount Pisgah Christian School, has not been overly kind to me. Most of this is due to my feelings about the institution. I see the school as one more heavily interested in athletics than should be healthy for a College Preparatory school. I also see that it neglects the arts program, though there has been a movement to rectify this issue. Among the other small issues, they have an college adviser whose idea of “college advisement” is to shun regular channels of providing information (email, paper, phone), and instead have two or three vital, oral only, face-to-face meetings with all the parents at times that prohibit working adults from attending. This lack of professionalism from a person who claims to speak for a school that prides itself on professionalism is depressing, to say the least.

Two days ago I was notified, not by the school, not by an administrator, by a fellow student on Facebook that Mount Pisgah Christian School, a school priding itself on its seamless and painless college advisement and assistance system, lost 108 out of the 148 AP tests taken this last year. When I researched more into the debacle, it got worse.

All throughout June, several of my classmates called the school, asking about the AP exams, concerned because of the overwhelming importance of them. Pisgah assured them everything was “to schedule”. One of my classmates called fifteen times in the week leading up to the deadline for grades, and many others called nearly as much. Each time, they were assured to the complete and total grip the school had on the situation. In truth, two things happened: either they knew of their lack of control, and were scrambling to fix it before it went public, or they were completely oblivious, trusting completely in the process. (Either Liars or Blindly Trusting)

Now, let's get damages down on this one. $10,260 for the cost of the AP tests lost. After that, there are still plenty of other damages (one friend cited $7000 for cost of extra classes) that I can't and won't fathom. Then, there's the damaged accreditation. Apparently, the system Pisgah runs under every year is to pack all the tests up into one box and place it in a communal place for a courier to get it a few hours later. Now, someone tell me how long it takes to go to said box, open it, doctor the information, and close the box, tape and all. Not only that, but I have not heard that they have a tracking number on the box yet. It's been two months. This system has been what Pisgah worked under for years. (Untrustworthy)

I am not one to enjoy pointing fingers. I am not one to enter a courtroom, unless required to. I trust in and support the right of people to solve their disputes alone, face-to-face. With this in mind, I doubt the mulish mind of Mount Pisgah will easily bow to this pressure. At the moment, Pisgah deflects the blame, putting it on the courier (UPS is reliable, ask my father. 18 billion packages a year, one or two thousand are bound to go missing), the College Board, or the various people directly responsible. But I’ve noticed the only thing more mulish than the mind of Pisgah is the minds of angered Pisgah parents (Try getting through Pisgah's parking lot when school lets out, and you'll see how bad they are when jovial). Worse still, Pisgah's clientele have much deeper pockets than the school does. There are a few that are lawyers. What a tort storm.

Unfortunately, the AP tests are unrecoverable. They are lost. Even if we found them, the College Board will not take them in such a possibly criminalized state. I was planning on retaking the AP courses in college, simply because I love learning. I’m staying out of this. But other students are much more involved, much more effected by this. This next month will be painful for my Nequam Mater.  

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