Is the System Rigged?

For many years Lake Shore and Macomb Mathematics Science Technology Center have worked to give students in this area the best education possible. However, at the end of the year when grades are in and GPA points earned, Lake Shore students appear to be falling short. Butcher students earn one-half bonus GPA points for every class they attend, whereas Lake Shore students only earn one-third bonus GPA points if they are enrolled in an Advanced Placement course or an Honors course. To add to this, dual enrolled/Early College students, do not earn any bonus points to their GPA, which doesn’t seem right. As not everyone has the opportunity to attend Butcher, this GPA inequality could negatively affect Lake Shore’s brightest students.

According to Jeff Lip, student counselor, “The school board comes up with a decision for whether or not what is given points. Basically, it is usually the school administration that comes up with the level of difficulty and says ‘this should be an AP point’ and they have to prove it.” It is the school administration first and then the school board approves it. When students are making their decision on what courses to take, however, they are choosing what they are going to do and what classes they want to attend. Lip stated, “You make a choice whether or not you take dual enrollment. It is the same thing to take AP, but the AP advantage is to get the bonus points.” However, this still excludes Butcher. Not everyone can attend the school so they still can not catch up even if they take AP classes. Solely, Lake Shore students would have to start taking AP classes their sophomore year in order to possibly contend with Butcher students, however, that is relying on Butcher students earning lower than an A and the AP student earning only As in their courses.

Butcher students do have difficult classes, however, Advanced Placement classes can also be difficult. Natalie Rice, junior, stated “…I think Butcher kids deserve to be recognized because what they do is amazing and they work very hard, however on the contrary AP students work just as hard and they should receive the same GPA points or not be like in the same category as the rest of our class…” The additional GPA points that they receive boosts their standings in the class and makes it difficult for students to catch up. Rice continued with, “… last time I checked I was 6th in my class and the kids in front of me were all Butcher kids and I didn’t think that was fair because I could never catch up to them and could be Valedictorian.” For many years, Lake Shore’s Valedictorian has been a student who also attends Butcher and this year is no different so far.

Early College of Macomb students take classes at both Lake Shore and Macomb, however their college courses do not count for any bonus GPA points. According to Lip, this is due to the amount of courses that are offered at Macomb and the unknown curriculum taught by the professors. Furthermore, due to courses offered at Macomb such as gym, school administration does not believe that they deserve bonus points. However, the school does not inform you whether or not you will receive those bonus points and Jessica Bajis, junior, concurred “I didn’t know that we wouldn’t be getting bonus GPA points…” Some students may have found that information beneficial. Bajis does find graduating with a degree is more favorable than having bonus GPA points, however, she continued with, “I mean, I feel like it isn’t fair that we don’t because we are legit taking a college class and we don’t get anything towards our GPAs with the classes.” Students who also attend Macomb find this difference hard to accept due to taking an actual college course where Butcher is preparing you for college level courses. Also, some students feel as if they are not being acknowledged like Butcher students are for the work they are doing. Bajis commented, “…We work as hard as they do and we don’t get as much recognition as someone from Butcher would.”  
Lake Shore offers many avenues for success such as AP courses or Early College, but so far the only way to give that Valedictorian speech is to attend Butcher.