It’s about 9 a.m. on a Friday morning and history teacher Howard Wilen is lecturing on President Theodore Roosevelt’s relationship with labor unions.
Roosevelt, Wilen told the class, helped secure better work hours for coal miners but coal prices increased as a result.
Wilen’s Advanced Placement U.S. history students have brokered a deal of sorts too, taking a tough class in high school that could earn college credit. For those who do well on the placement exam, many colleges will give credit for the AP history class, saving students money and time down the road.
Participation in AP courses has skyrocketed in recent years as many school districts have adopted open-enrollment policies, allowing any student willing to take on the work a chance to try the college-level courses.
But at Alamo Heights High School, where Wilen chairs the social studies department, admission remains restricted to top students. The district is rethinking that policy now.