New York Times Tamar Lewin authored an interesting piece yesterday on black high-schoolers and their unwillingness to take the Advanced Placement [AP] exam. As we know the AP program allows students to take university-level courses and if they pass the final AP exam they can earn college credit. Lewin's article points out that while Americans continue to get blindsided by the economy the AP exams can offer a bit of financial relief [when it comes to their children and college]. However, Lewin doesn't offer any reasoning why black high-schoolers are not taking the exam so I'll take a stab at it. It's been years since I was in high school and although I was "forced" into AP English and History by a counselor with the stern approval of my mother, I hated it. Not the workload, but I had my academic eye on socializing with my peers [most of whom weren't in AP anything].
During the 80s AP placement was determined by culturally and socially biased standardized testing. No? Meaning: my AP classes were largely populated by upper-middle class white students. That's not a stab, it's just the truth. Also, while teaching fourth grade in Oakland, California in the 90s, administrators and teachers were spending most of their time juggling discipline issues, lack of funding, etc. Real teaching, I was told by a "head teacher", will have to wait until the end of the year when the students are more controllable [and the standardized test scores arrived]. Meaning: lots of gifted students were being identified too late in the game. Honestly, I'm taking stabs in the dark here. If it's not culturally-biased standardized testing, or Public School neglect, or social stigma, or a complete disinterest in academic prowess, why are black high-schoolers not taking these AP exams? Help this blogger understand.
Keith Josef Adkins is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and social commentator.