Jay's quick response to Valerie before he takes his afternoon nap
I stand corrected. We geezers get confused easily. Thanks for forgiving my failure to understand who was being forgiven.
Before I recharge my batteries after this challenging exchange, I have just one complaint about one paragraph in your response.
"What I've heard high school educators complain about is that not all students are prepared to do college level work in high school. Many are; many aren't. But there is pressure to get more kids into these classes, whether they are up to it or not."
One of the purposes of rating high schools by AP participation (and AP test success--we also indicate that on the list) is to show that similar schools, with similar numbers of ill-prepared students, can have VERY different ideas about whether those kids are up to overcoming their disadvantages.
In most cases, when you study the data carefully, you discover that those schools that thought good teaching could get kids up to speed, and welcomed them into AP, were right. Many more of their students, whatever their perceived deficiencies, passed the AP tests than did kids at the more cautious schools.
Most of the time when I have asked AP-averse educators what evidence they have that their kids are not up to it, they don't have much to show me. They are relying on their instincts, not always the best indicator when dealing with high school students who often have lots of hidden potential. We have data showing that twice as many students are ready for AP, based on their PSAT scores, than are allowed to take those courses and tests.
Educators who say their kids aren't up to it often haven't looked at data like that, at least in my experience. So if someone tells you their kids aren't ready, ask them how they know. Or just wait and see what happens at the school up the road that has more faith in what their teachers can do.
| November 5, 2009; 3:54 PM ET
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