BY IAN GEERTSEN
Of the 22,000 high schools to offer Advanced Placement classes last year, 5,000 offered AP Macroeconomics and 4,000 AP Microeconomics.
Carmel High is not one of those schools.
“I think it would be a fantastic idea to have AP Econ,” CHS counselor Darren Johnston says.
“It’s one of the areas of greatest interest of our students, and we don’t have that many advanced-level humanities courses.”
In 2016, a total of 134,000 students took the AP Macroeconomics exam, and 82,000 took the AP Microeconomics test, according to the College Board. To put that into perspective, 124,000 students took the Calculus BC exam last year. Additionally, more schools offer AP Macroeconomics than AP Studio Art 2-D, Computer Science or Human Geography.
“AP Econ would be a good addition,” says AP U.S. History and Philosophy teacher Marc Stafford, one of multiple teachers to express interest in teaching an economics course.
Many students such as Nick Doo, a Carmel High graduate who plans on studying econ when he attends U.C. Berkeley in January, wish they had had the opportunity to take an AP Economics class.
“Economics tends to be an impacted major, so offering the class may help provide an edge in college econ classes,” Doo says. “I probably would have taken the class over AP Biology.”
According to the College Board, AP Microeconomics and Macroeconomics are both listed as good preparatory AP classes for students interested in Business Administration and Management, Accounting and Economics.
College Factual claims that Business Administration and Management is the most popular major in the country, with Accounting slotting in as the seventh most sought after major, and The Princeton Review says that, of the top 10 best majors for incoming freshmen, Business and Economics rank fourth and fifth respectively.
Also, U.S. News says that of the 10 best undergraduate majors for finding full-time work, Accounting is number one, Finance number three, Business Administration and Management number four and Economics number ten.
“If people are into business degrees or have that interest, that’s a good lead in,” says current AP World History and AP Government and Politics teacher Brent Silva, “and a solid economics class that can carry over into college.”
Silva is not the only AP GoPo/Honors Econ teacher who shares this opinion.
“Learning economic theory is certainly useful if you want to enter finance, public policy, etc.,” current AP GoPo/Honors Econ teacher Bill Schrier says. “AP Micro and AP Macro would be good additions to the curriculum.
Johnston estimates that about 10 to 20 percent of students from every graduating class choose a business-, finance- or econ-related major.
“Compared to students who have the opportunity to take one, if not two, AP-level econ classes,” Johnston says, “our students are definitely not as well prepared.”
An advanced level economics course would not just be useful for those looking to go into business or econ.
“Most AP courses are extremely specialized,” says Fang Tao, a senior looking to go into econ or finance at college. “However, no matter what you study in college, economics will always be important for understanding your personal finances and money in general.”
That does not mean that the class would be a walk in the park.
“Econ is tough,” Silva says. “Once people really get into it, it’s a difficult class, especially at the senior level.”
Pacific Grove High, a public school that tends to offer classes similar to Carmel’s, does not offer an AP Economics class. Both AP Macro and Micro are offered at Stevenson High School, a private institution in Pebble Beach.