The 14 Year Experience



Let’s talk about Harry Styles. The entire world has mixed opinions on the former One Direction star, but there is a consensus that he is progressive, whether that is good or bad, that is still debated. For example, at a Styles concert, attendees can be seen rocking feather boas, cowboy hats, or colorful two-piece suits. This is to match Styles’ progressive style. Whether it’s a leather jacket matched with a rainbow tank top or pink tights with a humongous pink jacket covered in feathers, he has a distinctive style which has sparked conversation about progressiveness. 

In a blog post by someone named Ashley Mata from “The Horizon,” she writes “[Styles] exemplifies gender fluidity and freedom of expression through clothing, cosmetics, and even his attitude and mannerisms…It’s no wonder Styles is the icon of a progressive generation.” 

Now, I’m not going to say whether I like Harry Styles or not, because I might get hurt, but I can agree with Mata that he is progressive. Ever since his appearance on Vogue wearing a dress, Styles has been at the forefront of progressive change in the country, good or bad? Still debatable. 

You may be wondering, why the hell am I talking about Harry Styles? Well, reader, I’m about to do the impossible. I am about to compare and transition from Harry Styles to Parker. 

Just like Styles, there is a consensus that Parker is a progressive institution, good or bad? debatable. Like Styles, Parker has flown a pride flag on stage, danced to the YMCA, and played mediocre music at concerts. I’m pretty sure I’ve even seen Colonel Parker in a dress. This is all good, progressive change. However, unlike Styles, Parker is a school, not a singer/songwriter. And Parker’s schooling is progessive, good or bad? Debatable.

I’m going to pull another 180 and talk about Parker’s curriculum. If you only read this for Harry Styles, you can stop reading now, unless you are interested in my unsolicited thoughts about the curriculum. Parker, the self-acclaimed, liberal arts and progressive school: no APs, no class rank, health class. Let us begin the rant starting with APs. 

At the bottom of every Parker student’s transcript, it reads, “Francis W Parker School offers an accelerated curriculum; none of our courses are designated as AP or Honors…” Is that entirely true? No. I like to describe it more like this: “Francis W Parker School does not like to use the words AP or Honors. However, we do have students follow those AP curriculums. But since we are so progressive, we like to call them ‘advanced’ classes instead.” 

Those in the advanced classes are practically just doing AP classes without the benefits to our GPAs. For example, junior year physics. It’s a tough class. I talked to a Lane Tech student who was taking AP physics, and I brought up some big physics words such as magnetism, electric potential energy, electric currents, and magnetic forces. Do you know what she said to me? She said, “I thought you didn’t take AP classes. Those are college topics.” WHAT?! Now I’m not saying that I only trust her and not Parker, but those topics were very hard. So her story makes sense. I’m not saying this is for every advanced class, but come on, at this point, I don’t really want the GPA boost, just some credit. Maybe at the bottom of the transcript, they can write, “FWP kinda offers AP classes. Students don’t get a grade boost, but they do get a pat on the back for their efforts.”

In the previous paragraph, I mentioned junior year. Yes, even with Parker’s progressive education, junior year is awful. However, it is terrible for the regular reasons: hard classes, ACT/SAT, puberty, etc. There’s not much to say on this topic other than somehow the beginning of senior year is worse. So, imagine junior year, with those same hard classes and puberty, and now add writing and crying about college. Personally, I only have 38 supplemental essays I need to write along with an AP, sorry, Advanced Calculus test and a Spanish test to study for. Thirty eight essays isn’t that much, I know some poor folks who have more than 50 to do. So, for all you juniors out there, get excited, It gets worse. Now, if you are a young, naive freshman complaining about how you have to go home, factor some quadratics, read 10 pages in “Of Mice and Men,” figure out how to reach the cookie jar, and be in bed by 10 p.m., well, you have a long high school career in front of you. Congratulations freshman and juniors, you all got a rough time in front of you. Did I forget a grade? I’m pretty sure there is a grade in between freshmen and juniors. Hmmmm.. 

I always like to compliment Parker in this column. So with that being said – Standard Based Grading. Awesome. Not sure what it is, not sure anyone understands it, but I love it. Good job Parker. 

So, in conclusion, just like Harry Styles, Parker’s progressive education is mediocre. Before all you Styles fans come after me, I’ve actually been to one of his concerts, so I know his whole shabang and stuff. And I’ve seen first hand how mediocre his music is. It’s not that good. But please, don’t hurt me. If I were to rate Parker’s progressiveness, I would give it a C+. Not great, but far from failing. The course I plan to enroll Parker in is called AP, sorry, Advanced Progressive Education. And unfortunately, due to my progressiveness, I don’t offer grade benefits even if it was an AP, sorry, advanced class. 

Looking forward to the next issue, I plan to keep my censorship streak alive and talk about Parker’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging plan. 


Someone who walks through fire for you and just lets me adore you, 

Ben Rachel