Mandatory Summer Classes for Students Taking AP/Honors Classes
72 hours are given to complete your argument with a maximum of 10,000 characters, and a 2 week voting period is given, as to provide ample time for anybody viewing it to vote. There will be 5 rounds to this argument.
Round 1 : Rules and opening statement
Round 1 : Opening statement and Pro/Con initiation
Round 2 : Reason, Evidence, Elaboration #1
Round 2 : Optional Rebuttal, Reason, Evidence, Elaboration #1
Round 3 : Rebuttal, Reason, Evidence, Elaboration #2
Round 3 : Rebuttal, Reason, Evidence, Elaboration #2
Round 4 : Rebuttal
Round 4 : Rebuttal
Round 5 : Closing Statements
Round 5 : Closing Statements
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9. Refrain from insulting opposing parties.
Violation to any of these rules will be considered a forfeit.
Mandatory- required by law or rule. (http://www.merriam-webster.com...)
Advanced Placement (AP) Program- the placement of a student in a high school course that offers college credit if successfully completed. (http://www.dictionary.com...)
Honors Course- a class in which the most advanced students are offered the same curriculum as regular classes but are tailored for high-achieving students — covering additional topics or some topics in greater depth. (https://professionals.collegeboard.org...)
Claim: I think that summer classes should be mandatory for students who are taking AP and/or honors courses.
Thank you for accepting this spot quickly, and I look forward to a good argument.
Contention: Summer courses will help get students up to speed with their courses in the fall, even if they aren’t taking honors and AP classes.
After taking some time to research, I have found in a certain document that proves my claim that summer courses should be mandatory and will definitely be helpful to any student deciding to participate in honors/AP classes. Considering the fact that it helps students by going over topics already covered allows them to strengthen their skills for honors courses in particular, because of how in-depth subjects can go. Being able to pan this school time out over the course of a 2 1/2 month period is the most efficient way to prevent brain decay from happening in students. Not only does it prevent stress on the body, it has been proven to have students learn quickly and easily and is a lot more effective than its fall school counterpart (Page 43, Paragraph 2, Lines 10-31).
As you can tell from these pieces of evidence, it is unequivocal to believe that summer courses can be necessity for the students who are taking these classes, and even for those who are not taking AP/honors courses. It allows students to actually understand the concepts being taught in the latter school year.
Contention: Summer courses keep the students learning.
It has even been proven in most studies that brain decay happens during the summer, when students aren't doing much. Brain decay can have a serious impact on the student's education if they decide to partake in honors/AP courses. (Page 41-42, Paragraph 3, Lines 23-34). It is even highly encouraged at some schools to take summer classes to prevent this from happening. Brain decay varies among ages, but the average brain decay rate is about 1 month of teaching over the course of summer break. Summer school allows that month of learning to be saved essentially. (Page 1, Paragraph 3, Lines 1-End of Page).
Not only is summer school preparing students for their future classes, they make sure that the students are remembering key subjects learned in the past.
I have very limited things to say, because I am at a lack of time currently, and I believe that this evidence will be enough for the first round, I am trying to take it easy for now, so that the Con gets used to DDO.
First off, how are these programs going to be funded? Because of financial instability and economic problems, many public schools in this nation are already undergoing severe budget cuts. In the school I go to, for instance, we have had to fire several teachers, slash funding for the arts programs, and reduce janitorial services to the point where the condition of our bathrooms may very well be legally ambiguous (and it should be noted that, even though I go to one of the highest ranked magnet schools in the nation, these budget cuts still severely affect us). There is no possible way for every school in this country to add two (or three, depending on the state educational system) months of schooling -- the costs of paying teachers, administrators, and janitorial staff would be through the roof. U.S. public schools are barely able to pay their employees as it stands.
Brain drain, according to every single source I have found, only really occurs if the students in question are not partaking in any creative and learning-related activities outside of school. Summer school would technically reduce this, but having to go to school has its flaws -- students generally are mentally exhausted by the end of the school year, and adding additional months of dull, repetitive common-core-based Honors/A.P. classes during the summer would be painful and arduous for students. Most A.P. classes already assign summer projects and assignments for students to learn the basics of the courses without having to go back to school, thus rendering the classes proposed by the instigator unnecessary. As a junior, next year I will be taking 4 A.P. classes and 3 honors classes. All four A.P. classes have given me quite challenging summer assignments, as well as readings to annotate and study. I am completely fine with this arrangement -- it allows me to stay in touch with the subjects that I will be studying each year, while allowing me to complete the assignments on my own time. But, like most students, I have other plans over the summer. I will be going to computer programming camps, and taking out-of-school classes in 3-d level creation and animation. In these camps and classes, I will learn as much as in school, but I will do so in a much less stressful manner, and I will learn material pertaining to different, more interesting subjects. I will be able to be creative and learn, while avoiding the restrictive pressures of the common core. I will undergo no "brain drain" because I allow myself to work on new and interesting projects that stimulate my mind. Nearly every honors student I know is enjoying a similar summer. Many are going to creative writing camps across the nation. Others are becoming interns at various research positions. A few are in Interlochen. Your mandatory classes would force them to ditch virtually every long-term summer plan that they have in order to be stuck in dull, boring, arduous common core classes taught by underpaid public school teachers. This is ludicrous, especially considering that many have considerable knowledge pertaining to the subject they are taking advanced classes in.
I understand that many students do not participate in such activities during the summer. But most honors students do. The type of student who takes the initiative to join A.P. classes is not the type to spend the entire summer unproductively. In fact, in the first paragraph of one of the instigator"s sources, the author stated that educational summer programs were mainly useful for " low-achieving students who need additional time to master academic content," not high-achieving students taking honors and A.P. classes. Again, it should be noted that "brain drain," as it is called, is not caused distinctly by lack of being in school. It is caused by lack of creative activity and mental exercise. Going to computer programming camp and writing one"s own computer programs for the entire summer is just as (if not more) rewarding than being stuck in a classroom because it exercises one"s mind and causes one to find new, more intricate and innovative solutions to normal problems. The same can be said for composing music, designing a model rocket, making three-dimensional models to print, or doing any other genuinely interesting and mentally challenging activity. Regardless of what activity is being performed, going to school during the summer is just one incredibly expensive and stressful option for reducing "brain drain." In fact, most sources I have found specifically advise not going to summer classes due to the stress that attending them can create, and instead just recommend reading, debating, talking, and participating in normal daily activities that require some form of intelligence and logic.
As can be inferred from the previous paragraphs, many students will find these summer classes boring and uninformative. Many sign up for A.P. classes after taking honors classes pertaining to the subject in question -- as such, they already have considerable knowledge and skill pertaining to said subject. Many sign up for A.P. classes after taking summer out-of-school courses in the subject. Most students I know sign up for these classes in order to enrich their currently existing knowledge of the subject. And many (I would say most, but I cannot find any sources to confirm it) school systems have systems of prerequisite classes in place (along with placement tests, in the event that students want to skip prerequisite classes and go straight into A.P. courses) to ensure that students without sufficient prior knowledge of the subject are not placed into excessively rigorous courses.
On another level, entering the grades from these courses will be almost as problematic as funding the courses themselves. By making mandatory summer classes, you will, effectively, be creating another school semester. As such, the students mainly taking regular classes will have two semesters worth of grades, while the students mainly taking honors and A.P. classes will have three. Given that the students taking A.P. and Honors courses did much more work over the course of the school year and the summer, are they going to get a semester"s worth more high school credit? Are the grades from their summer courses going to be pass or fail, or are they going to be letter grades? The educational system will become more unfair and inefficient if this course of action is pursued, no matter which decision regarding the scoring of the classes is made. If the summer classes are thought of as, say, " of a class, then the honors students get 1.5 times as much credit and graduate incredibly quickly. They emerge from high school completely unprepared for college because the value of their classes were completely blown out of proportion. If the number of credits needed for college are raised, the normal students take a lot longer to graduate. On the other hand, not counting two months of classwork and the forfeiture of the students" summer break for any sort of high school class credit would be ludicrous. Either outcome produces an unsatisfactory result. There is no good solution. Rather than decide between two equally horrible options, we just need to scrap the entire program and let students enjoy their summers.
Hopefully, the voters deciding on this topic will realize that mandatory summer classes for all students taking Honors/A.P. classes is absolutely ridiculous. It is either unnecessary or unfeasible on every level -- it is logistically problematic for families, unnecessary for the vast majority of honors students, and financially impossible. Honors students should not be forced to take summer classes.
Thank you. I look forward to the rest of the debate. I hope my argument was not too hard to follow. Honestly, most of the stuff here was completely made of common sense, but I have a bunch of relevant sources below.
ItsTheBaconDoge forfeited this round.
The idea of "learning" is subjective. Being stuck in a classroom being taught common core material may, according to most schools, be of more use than being out in the real world doing creative activities (such as, say, designing a trebuchet outside of school, or building and renovating a boat), but in reality students truly need a way to exercise their minds in unconventionally useful ways. While being taught in schools during the school year is structurally important to students' development, they still need a good chunk of the year to engage in free-form, creative activities.
Brain drain only occurs when students do not do similar activities to the ones listed above (or much simpler ones, such as debating and simply talking to other people). Anything creatively exercising the mind will prevent such problems.
Creating summer classes that are actually available to the people who need them most is financially impossible.
While the instigator seems to expect that all students entering A.P. classes have the exact same amount of prior knowledge in the exact same categories, this is not the case. Many students will not learn anything from compressed summer intro classes. This is why we have entrance tests into most A.P. classes.
Honestly, this is exactly why we have prerequisite classes.
I think that is pretty much it. If I was supposed to forfeit this round... I'm sorry. If I was, please disregard everything written above.
I look forward to the rest of the debate.
I wish the instigator (and his computer) the best of luck!
The con does prove some valid points, but most of what he says can be arguable. I shall start with my rebuttals in this argument, and work forward in the given argument order.
My Opponent’s Case: It takes a drastic financial toll on schools, because of school budget cuts.
Though this might be true, it is highly subjective. It is mostly based on location, external funding and other factors that contribute to the overall feasibility of a summer school. If the school manages to have a budget cut, there are loopholes to the situation, that could require external funding from the entire district, which means that all students taking said classes in the district meet at a single school to study for their education gap. There is also a mandatory fee in most schools that have a summer course for students to take, so that there is more funding. The same thing happens during the school year; the parents of students pay their teachers’ salary, as well as additional fees for other things. I’ve personally seen district funding, and it works quite effectively, assuming that most students behave well, and staff can vary in size, depending on the budget. This can be very flexible for a school like yours, considering the fact that janitorial staff and administrators aren’t as much of a priority during the summer courses, as they are during the fall.
Suppose we have a possibility of 85 AP and honors courses combined, and an initial funding of only 9,500 dollars. We can write this in an equation, like; Total = Cost Per Student + Original Budget. So in our case, it would be Total = (Class cost variable) + 9,500. With the amount of students attending, it is a definite way to ensure that summer school funding is a lot easier to manage, and is not constrained by any fall school budget cuts that could happen. In conclusion, finances and budget cuts are sound because staff can be limited with multiple students, it is simple to earn money needed to fund these projects, and because it helps with school budget cuts, rather than progressively making the budget smaller and smaller.
My Opponent’s Case: Brain drain only occurs if students aren’t partaking in any learning-oriented activities.
I have to stop you on that one, because creative activities have little effect on the brain’s learning process, and can potentially harm it even. Your idea on learning-oriented activities is very broad, considering it could be anything from sitting at your laptop to learning an entirely new instrument or language. Each of these activities have but a minuscule effect on the brain’s learning process. Now, you may claim that it does have a potential effect on the memory of the brain, but it is still not helping the flexibility of memory, considering the fact that something like learning a new instrument would be pointless if you’re already in honors or AP BCO. Learning languages also don’t help, if you are taking a language already, because it would stress out the brain more than it is already, as you have claimed in your 2nd paragraph argument, sentence 2, line 3.
Though it is true that most students are assigned summer projects, the summer projects don’t cover everything that is needed for the education gap that is being missed during the summer. It is moreover an overview sometimes, than it is a preparation for future years. I would like to point out that I would personally prefer just being able to catch up on just the education gap that I miss when I decide to take AP and/or honors courses, so that there isn’t any extraneous courses, but it should be mandatory for anybody deciding to partake in such courses, where previous learning material is crucial to the subject. It would be a difficult year to get a passing grade with little to no material learned because of that education gap that was missed. For example, in my precalculus idea, it would be hard to pass on a subject such as A.P. integral calculus without taking on calculus first, because key ideas, such as the mathematical symbols like delta, theta and others will be important to know when taking on A.P. integral calculus, because instructors assume that you know most of the material that you should have learned taking calculus, but if you were not to take calculus over the summer, you would be pretty confused with the material that is being learned inside of the classroom. This suggests that it helps the educational needs of students.
My Opponent’s Case: Most students summer plans are jeopardized by summer school, and are already busy because of summer assignments.
Though this might be true, it is entirely variant on the student’s agenda over the course of summer, but there are ways around this problem, which is what I am going to point out now.
From what we know, you are taking classes in 3 dimensional creation and animation, as you have previously stated in paragraph 3, sentence 1, line 1. You claim that these classes are stress-free and non-tiring. If you looked at my first source in my first argument, you can find that summer school is also extremely stress-free, and boosts memory retention, because the lessons are panned out so that it isn’t stressful on the students, and is also not focused in on one, boring, concentrated lesson. Now that we have your agenda addressed, we can solve the problem.
Certain summer classes allow programs that do not request your presence at the school, but rather assigns you classwork online that allows you to take the class whenever you feel like it. This helps students with these exact time constraints you have over the summer. Most schools have accustomed to this idea, for the exact reason of student absence. Most colleges offer online summer programs, because most students are taking on other jobs. This shows that it is feasible for most of the general school populace, and for those taking honors and/or AP courses. Not only this, but some classes offer the same resources online, as they do learning in school. With this method, there would be no teachers or any faculty needed, which is why this method is effective for some schools, promoting my claim that summer school is cost effective.
My Opponent’s Case: Most students taking courses are already promoting the idea of education over summer.
I might be incorrect, but I did not see a lick of information that was reinforcing this idea. This idea would be subjective, because it is moreover an assumption without proof, than it is factual data that could be observed.
My Opponent’s Case: Summer school is typically only for underachieving students.
Though this is typically true, it is highly recommended for students taking AP and honors classes, because of the education gap between normal classes and AP or honors classes. Again, as I have said in previous arguments, creativity has little effect on the brain’s memory flexibility, learning obviously helps exercise the brain, and the lessons aren’t always in a classroom or boring. Though it is true that other courses can improve student’s problem solving skills, it is highly subjective. I will go back to my language scenario. Language is a definite subject. It is kind of hard to use problem solving in situations like this because language is typically constant, and there is hardly any loopholes through it. If you do decide to use said loopholes, sentences could start becoming nonsensical. This is something that is unavoidable, and only definite terms dictate how you talk in said language. The same can apply to your scenario. If you can’t find an exact code, you can use a loophole, but then it has the possibility of being hard to read, or causing unnecessary lag for programs that you create.
My Opponent’s Case: Summer school creates another school semester, and is overall unfair.
Now, I might need to clarify this, but I am trying to make classes mandatory for those entering the AP and honors program, because of this education gap that is between courses. I am not claiming that every AP and honors student should be taking these summer courses. The more specific focus should be of the education gap, because that’s the area that most students will be lost in when first joining AP or honors classes. Giving credit to students attending is entirely up to the school’s choice. You seemed to have forgotten that AP classes don’t count towards high school credit, but rather towards college credit, which helps students get into decent colleges. Not to mention that it is agreeable that most students taking these classes have proven to get better chances in colleges, but typically have a B average. To get the best score, it should be recommended to take these summer courses to get that education gap filled in. Most colleges actually prefer that you get A’s in all of your AP/honors courses, so this summer school will help students get A’s, which in turn helps them get ready for college. The reason most honors/AP students graduate quickly is because they exceed their peers in knowledge, which in turn means that they should be ready for college.
A Resolution: I agree on the possibility of taking a placement test to see if students know material in summer class, but there is no test specified for this type of thing. I hope the viewer sees how obligatory summer school is for students.
I will counter my opponent"s arguments that he gave both in this round and the previous rounds.
The Financial Problem:
I see several problems with my opponent"s argument. First of all, my opponent is arguing for a fee to be placed on the summer school classes that, according to him, should be mandatory for all students taking A.P/Honors courses. The irony of this is that the fees will cause the people who need the summer programs the most -- impoverished, disadvantaged students -- to turn away from the programs. I don"t know how much these programs would charge per student. Most summer courses I have found charge between 300-400 dollars. How on earth is a family earning, say, 14 dollars an hour going to pay for that? Personally, I cannot imagine how a student living in one of those families would convince his parents to pay for a program costing even a quarter of that price. Your program would create a needless class-based divide between students. A.P. students already need to pay a significant fee for the A.P. test. Please don"t make them pay more.
My opponent is severely overestimating the amount of funding his programs could get. 31 out of the 50 states have decreased funding for schools since 2008 (the report I have for this is from 2014, but it effectively captures the point). Of those, 15 have cut funding over 10 percent. As such, these budget cuts have persisted in the majority of our nation, and a new report has indicated that federal spending on education has, in total, decreased by over 20 percent. The problem is a lot less "subjective" than my opponent thinks. He will never, ever have a chance of getting the funding his program would require.
I don"t understand how the equations my opponent has put forth make any sense whatsoever. While I am not an economist, if one has a budget of 9,500 dollars, it seems to me that he/she cannot spend more than that. The actual equation, it would seem, would be more like (total budget) >_ ((cost per student per day) (number of students) + (general cost of janitorial services per day) + (cost of electricity and other general costs per day)) (number of days). I couldn"t find a way to type a greater than or equal to sign, so I just used >_.
Also, I would like to question my opponent"s idea of how much of a janitorial/maintenance staff would be present at the schools. If, according to my opponent, all A.P/Honors students per district would be concentrated into a single school, it would seem that a good many janitors would be needed.
My sources for this are listed below.
There are a number of statements that my opponent made that are clearly either questionable or incorrect. According to my opponent, "creative activities" can "potentially harm" students" minds. This is ridiculous, and I would like to ask my opponent where he found evidence for this.
My sources indicate that creative activities such as painting, modeling, and drawing (art and music in general) often significantly improve the processes of "long-term memory, concept construction, and the activation of the neural networks that are used when the brain processes information using the highest forms of cognition." While more research is needed on the subject, participating in creative activities is certainly beneficial to one"s learning and mental development. And I never stated that creative activities helped the flexibility of memory. I stated that it serves as a way to combat "brain drain." Honestly, I couldn"t find any sources that stated that "brain drain" was a problem with high schoolers. Most simply listed solutions for occurrences of brain drain in elementary/middle schoolers, without giving any indication that the problem persisted through high school. Perhaps this is because, as I indicated, many high-schoolers have plans over the summer. Most of the solutions to brain drain were simple, low-effort activities, such as reading and listening to educational programs. Probably the most difficult activity was joining a summer camp. In fact, one of my sources specifically advised against enrolling students in two months of school during summer break.
Most of this section of my opponent"s argument was" incoherent, to say the least. I have never, for instance, heard of "AP BCO." When I googled it, I got a type of airplane used in middle eastern airlines. I honestly have no idea what "AP BCO" is, so it would be awesome if my opponent could clarify this.
Students taking high-level courses already promote the idea of summer education
At this point, I"m questioning how much of my opening statement my opponent actually read. I never stated that students taking A.P/Honors courses promoted the idea of summer courses. Rather, I stated that many students taking high-level courses already had sufficient prior knowledge of the A.P. curriculums to render summer courses unnecessary. I stated that many students gained knowledge of the A.P. curriculums through summer camps. That is, they gained prior knowledge in a form completely different from formal education.
This is completely different from what the instigator stated. I acknowledge that this claim is quite subjective, but it is often true.
The Jeopardization of Summer Plans
I acknowledge that some students will not have summer plans. But many will. You cannot just expect people to give up their entire summer"s worth of vacation and free time in order to take unnecessary summer classes.
On another note, you have not "addressed" my agenda. Your proposed solution either involves me ditching my 3-d Modeling class, which I value a lot more than your proposed summer courses, or taking online classes. And while I admire your proposal for online courses, they are completely unfeasible and at least partially ineffective.
Online classes have their own problems. They are unrealistic, for a number of reasons. First off, not everyone has a computer, and not everyone has access to the internet. It may seem difficult to believe in this day and age, but it is true. Students living in poverty or located in rural areas may either not own a computer or not have reliable internet access. Just like my opponent cannot just expect that all families with A.P. students are willing to ditch their summer plans in order to send their children to summer courses they don"t need, he cannot simply assume that every student in the United States of America has constant access to the internet. There are other basic problems, including the possible failure of the server on which the classes are operated, the susceptibility of the system to hackers, and problems with individual student computers.
Online courses also have elevated dropout rates, and, according to a study from the University of Colorado, will often cause struggling students to fall behind in the other, more traditional courses they are taking. Occasionally, attrition rates for larger online programs have been as high as 90%.
Just as importantly, online courses make effective communication between struggling students and teachers nearly impossible, facilitating the rise in failing students. Ultimately, online classes are not a viable option, especially for students who do not have at least a basic prior understanding of the subject they are studying -- like the students who would be taking the summer classes.
The Issue of Counting Summer Classes as a Semester
My opponent has gone against his original debating stance. He was, originally, arguing that every student taking any A.P/Honors class should have to take a summer course to achieve at least a basic understanding of the subject that students were studying. He has since changed his view to the proposal that not all students should be forced to take these classes. As such, he is arguing against himself. I would just like to point this out before I continue.
The instigator has completely ignored the structural problems that I brought up. The problem was with the subject of incorporating students" grades into the system; it would be difficult to give students the proper credit for taking advanced classes. My opponent has completely missed the point of my argument, and has not really provided a good solution. Letting each school do as they will with students" grades is really not a viable option here -- it opens too much room for an unreliably variable system.
Hopefully, my opponent can realize that the idea of summer school may appear to be beneficial, but is in fact incredibly complicated and problematic for the vast majority of students. I maintain my position that students should have an uninterrupted summer break.
My opponent has argued that summer classes are "financially sound" for most of the schools that would be using it. This is incorrect. As I stated previously, the majority of schools in the U.S. are undergoing budget cuts. They are pressed for money as it stands. They will not be able to afford two more months of schooling for multiple classes.
My opponent argues that this system will effectively reduce brain drain. He is right, but it is only one (and very, very expensive) solution to the problem. Most sources I have found advocate for much less stress-inducing (and cheaper) activities.
My opponent argues that this system will reduce the lack of preparation that students often have prior to taking A.P. classes. While this is true, an effective system of prerequisite classes effectively does the same thing. Our current educational system is structured so that, prior to taking A.P. classes, there are certain qualifying classes and tests that students must take.
In an ideal world, my opponent"s idea of mandatory classes would work well. But this world is far from ideal. The economic problems with this idea as well as its lack of necessity, the disruption of student plans, and the harm done by this system makes it problematic for many reasons. I stand by my position that students should be allowed to enjoy their summers without having to go to school.