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What for All?

November 4, 2018 pm30 8:26 pm

There is an initiative called “AP for All” – it’s packaged as a “leveling the playing field” program. But there’s some issues.

Not every student is ready for an AP-level course. Or perhaps a student is ready, but not for the interesting selection of 2, or 3, or 4 courses offered in their school. Especially in the proliferation of mini-schools in Black and Brown neighborhoods in New York City, required AP with minimal selection can be a problem.

And then there’s the AP itself. Advanced Placement. A course that one day was billed as “college level” – but today is linked to a test. A test owned by The College Board, a kingpin in the US testing industry. The College Board distorts education, forces “teaching to the test,” lives and dies on manipulating students to take one, two, three, many high-stakes, high-cost tests, while picking up none of the cost for the educational and psychological damage they are doing. AP for All?  Meh. I’d rather support someone other than a corporate vulture.

I’d rather support, say, math teachers.

What about “Four Years of Math for All Who Want It”? In too many city high schools, kids run out of math. By, say, passing trig. There’s nothing else. What about requiring schools to offer four years to everyone? I don’t care if the “extra” course is calculus, statistics, solid geometry, personal finance, business math, or number theory. No one should “run out of math” in a city high school. (I was thinking about this while listening to a podcast called “Miseducation” put together by NYC high school students. Some of the voices they interview ran out of math, even though they wanted to take more.)

Four Years of Math for All Who Want It would be a better program. It would benefit all kids. And instead of lining the College Board’s silk pockets, we’d be helping a group that’s actually deserving.

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