An LYS Principal submits: SC, This is from one of my AP’s at my last school. This is why teachers need to feel stressed and why accountability is a good thing. Sean, it hurts me than you could know to see that what my team worked so hard to build being utterly destroyed. “The lead counselor came to me today with a bit of a dilemma. Out of several dozen AP Chemistry and Biology students, only one has signed up for the AP test. With just a little investigation, I discovered that one of the teachers had actually encouraged his students not to take the test because it was so hard, and another teacher flat out told her students NOT to take the test. Coach X allowed me to talk to the students about taking the test but Mrs. Y would not hear of it. I talked to your replacement (too much of a stretch to him a principal) about the fact that the AP teachers wanted to teach the AP classes (mostly white students), but wanted no part of the accountability that the AP test provided. However, he agreed with the teachers that the students should not be pressured to take the test and that it was foolish for the school to pay for the test.
What I am trying to understand is how we can pay these teachers to teach several sections of “NOT THOSE” kids at supposedly higher quality and higher rigor, but allow them to discourage their students from taking the AP Exam to avoid any semblance of accountability. Then have to have new management (again, too much of a stretch to say Leadership) think this is appropriate and sign off on the practice. This does not compute.” SC Response Sure it computes. It is an either a case of ignorance, laziness, racism or most likely a combination of all three. Most schools set themselves up as the bouncer at the trendy nightclub. Do you look right, say the right thing, and know the right person? Then come on into the party. On the other hand, don’t look right, don’t have money, don’t have connections, you get to stay outside the velvet rope looking in as you and your peers grow more bitter and disenfranchised. The LYS campus strives for something different. The staff views themselves as the Wal-Mart greeter. It doesn’t matter who you are, come on in, let us help you out and make sure you are better off when you leave than when you arrived. What is interesting is that even the College Board recognizes this problem. They are concerned with the overall low quality of instruction in AP courses and that AP courses are used to separate the “have’s” from the “have not’s” on many campuses. I guess we can now include your old campus in this “separate and not equal” group. The solution rests with leadership. Leadership has to take a stand and ensure that what you described does not occur on its watch. This means opening the AP classes to anyone with an interest, make earning the extra AP grade point contingent on passing the AP test, and holding AP teachers accountable for both test participation rates and test passing rates. My belief is if you are starting out with the more motivated and capable students on the campus, you had best do something great with them. Being familiar with your old school, I will conclude with the following admonishment: Shame on the Board; shame on the Superintendent; shame on the Principal; and shame on the Teachers. As a district, they are knowingly marginalizing the future of their students a little bit more each and every day, and the only problem they have is when someone calls them on it. Think. Work. Achieve.Your turn…Follow Sean Cain on www.Twitter.com/LYSNationPre-order your campus sets of “TheFundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction” www.TheFundamentalFive.comAttend the LYS presentations at TASSP and TASB in June