From Our Listeners

Letters: AP Classes, 'NY Post' Subway Photo

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NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener comments on previous show topics, including segments about the benefits of Advanced Placement classes and the ethical controversy surrounding the New York Post's decision to publish a photo of man caught on a New York subway track.


It's Wednesday and time to read from your comments. Last week, we spoke with retired college professor and former high school teacher John Tierney about why he thinks high school AP classes are a scam. We got a wealth of feedback.

I do take issue with AP classes, wrote longtime high school teacher and current college instructor Shannon from Madison. When I taught high school, I was given the opportunity to instruct AP. I passed on it for it seemed far too restrictive and too focused on the exam versus truly learning and critically engaging with the material. But I am at a major state university. The intro classes are often massive lecture courses. If there is a lab or a discussion, they're packed. Students have very little interaction with the instructor. In essence, both the AP system and major college intro-level courses are broken.

Brad in Davis, California, wrote: With a student's perspective, I graduated from high school in 2008, then spent two years in a California community college before transferring and graduating from UC Davis. I took four AP classes while in high school and passed three AP exams. I found the AP classes and tests to be on a par with that of community college education, but significantly easier than my university education when compared to the entry-level classes I took at UC Davis.

Last Tuesday, we talked about the difficulties in the diagnosis and treatment of personality disorders. Michael in Salt Lake City wrote: In my field as a youth counselor, I find the hardest component in dealing with my teen clients is the persistent belief of both the client and their parents that a child does, in fact, have a personality disorder - most often borderline - when they do not show symptoms. Their general physician has told them that's probably what it is, and so they wear that label as a crutch or even as a badge of honor. I wish medical doctors would diagnose mental health disorders as often as I diagnose lupus.

TJ in Birmingham wrote: My mother has borderline personality disorder, but there's no way she would ever go to therapy. She doesn't recognize that she has any issues and thinks everyone else is to blame. She is the victim. She's completely alienated from her extended family and continually tries to alienate me. How is it that we know so much about BPD when I suspect most BPD sufferers refuse to get help?

Lastly, this past Thursday, we talked with photojournalist about the ethical issues surrounding a picture the New York Post published of a man about to be killed by an oncoming subway train.

Courtney wrote in to say: Our 13-year-old son was hit by a car while riding a bike in Minneapolis. The entire action was caught on tape by a man who has over 20 cameras on his home. We agreed to the story because we felt we could teach kids and teens about the importance of helmet usage. If there was no lesson to be shared, we would not have agreed to show the very intense footage. Our friends and family had a hard time watching the footage, and to this day, my husband has not seen the video of the accident. But it was worth it because of the number of parents who have told us watching it spurred good discussion with their kids. Our son is now doing well, but only because he had a helmet on.

If you have a correction, comment or a question for us, the best way to reach us is by email. The address is Please let us know where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce your name. If you're on Twitter, you can follow us there, @totn.

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