Eight desks are arranged in the front of the room, eight students in a room that normally seats more than twenty. One teacher stands at the front, bringing the room to a total of nine.
This class is AP Comparative Government, a one-semester class taught by Georgia Brown. According to the College Board, this class “introduces students to the rich diversity of political life outside the United States” by examining the political systems found in countries such as the United Kingdom, Russia, Mexico, and China. Like its United States counterpart, AP Government, AP Comparative can only be taken by seniors, but unlike AP Gov, it is not a prerequisite to graduate.
For the first time in years, AP Comparative Government is being run for a total of eight students – eight seniors with an interest for the subject of international politics.
So why are these seniors taking it at all?
“I’m interested in politics,” said senior Kyle Francq. “I don’t feel as if taking just AP US Gov would give me a worldview large enough to create any sort of political discussion without having outside knowledge [of other countries].”
At a time where knowledge of international relations is an important part of current events, taking AP Comparative Government gives students such as Francq a foundation to which they can learn and develop educated opinions about international affairs using knowledge of what a country stands for and how their government comes to that point.
“I think I would want to take it, since we learn so much about American government and history throughout all of school,” said junior Lorna Miesner. “I don’t really know what it’s like to live with a Russian president, or how they do government in other countries. It sounds like an interesting class!” The possibility of taking AP Comparative Government next year is open, but only if there is enough support and prospective students open to continuing the course into its second year.
What would current AP Comparative Government students say to get students interested? According to Francq, it’s very interesting to anyone who’s into politics.
“Even if you’re not, you get to see an entirely different kind of aspect of how countries interact with each other and within themselves that you probably wouldn’t even have considered if you only looked at American politics for your entire life,” said Francq.