D86 Board must rescind PITU, offer students remediation

A curricular emergency is in progress at Hinsdale Central High School. We need immediate action by the board of education to address the harm already imposed on rising 10th-graders who took Physics in the Universe and give rising ninth-graders the option to transfer into biology, the College Board-recommended prerequisite for AP Biology. Science courses scheduled to be eliminated from the curriculum — introductory honors biology and AP Physics 1 — must be retained.

Under PITU, the first in a science course sequence that has never been piloted, students will be denied the opportunity to take biology before AP Biology and AP Physics 1 (usually taken in the 11th grade, when students have had sufficient math preparation) before the more advanced AP Physics courses.

When many parents protested the plan in 2019, we were assured by the administration that ninth grade PITU was virtually the equivalent of AP Physics 1, so students could transition to the highest level of AP Physics with no intermediate step. However, an alert parent noted at the June 9 board meeting that PITU honors covers only 40 percent of the material in AP Physics 1. At the June 23 meeting, Assistant Superintendent Chris Covino admitted that PITU “is not an AP course,” and he was open to retaining AP Physics 1. Clearly, rising 10th-graders who took PITU are now underprepared in science, and they are owed remediation.

The D86 Board must call an emergency meeting to rescind PITU immediately and address the harms already caused to students. — Linda Burke, Hinsdale