AP Classes and the Florida Educational System

AP Classes and the Florida Educational System


February 1, 2007

It is encouraging to see that Florida is #1 in the number of students that take the AP classes. I want to add three points to this news.First, as a parent of a college student, I would encourage students to take AP classes in the following courses: History, Psychology, US Government, and Economics as these are the courses where most public universities herd the students like cattle into classrooms as large as 200 to 500 students. With so many students, you will find most professors can only afford to lecture and then give 4 to 5 multiple choice question tests in the semester that are mostly recall of  information. What do you gain from such regurgitation of knowledge when a university course should have components that are creative and learning-oriented such as classroom discussion, writing, graded homework and essay tests? Such components are virtually impossible to incorporate in such large enrollment courses, and I have first-hand knowledge that these components are highly emphasized in the high school AP classes.

Second, we always hear about the low rankings of Florida education system. The one that we hear most about is the rank of 45 amongst measures where we have made progress. According to the 2005 report written by the National Taskforce of Public Education, Florida is in the upper 50% in the following categories: #24 in 4th grade reading proficiency, #25 in high school readiness for college, #16 in share of average family income to pay for in-state public university expenses, and #6 in share of youth who participate in after-school programs.

Third, I find it troubling that we continue to show educational statistics that are race-based. It serves no purpose other than discourage races who do not do well in such examinations. The true discriminator is poverty and not race. If we calculated statistics based on family income, we would be able to find better solutions to our educational problems. Yes, we have a long way to go; we should keep having high expectations of our students at school and home, and attract the best to become our teachers.

CITATION: Autar Kaw, “AP Classes and the Florida Education System”, Personal View, February 1, 2007, last accessed at http://autarkaw.com/ap-classes-and-the-florida-educational-system/