Students and teachers in New York school districts do a great job, contrary to what some politicians say. It’s most evident with Advanced Placement, those higher ed-level courses, taught with college textbooks and exams, that give students college credit if they score a 3, 4, or 5 (depending on the college to which they apply).
Our schools rank second in the nation for participation in the Advanced Placement. Now, 32 school districts have made the AP District Honor Roll. This is more than just having a lot of students succeed at this advanced level of work. Districts must:
- increase participation/access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts, at least 6 percent in medium districts and at least 11 percent in small districts;
- ensure that the percentage of African American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native students taking AP Exams did not decrease by more than 5 percent for large and medium districts or by more than 10 percent for small districts; and
- improve performance levels when comparing the percentage of students in 2012 scoring a 3 or higher to those in 2010, unless the district has already attained a performance level in which more than 70 percent of the AP students are scoring a 3 or higher.
Hats off to the districts of: Ballston Spa, Byram Hills, Cazenovia, Fairport, Fredonia, Greenwich, Half Hollow Hills, Hamburg, Hamilton, Hempstead, Holland, Manhasset, Marlboro, Massapequa, Middletown, Mount Vernon, Districts 15 and 21 in New York City District, Northport-East Northport, Pelham, Plattsburgh, Rhinebeck, Sewanhaka, Sherburne-Earlville, Skaneateles, South Colonie Central, South Glens Falls, Southampton, Southwestern, Voorheesville Central School District, Webster and Williamsville.
You can find a complete list of all the districts in the U.S. and Canada here. Realize the only states with more districts meeting those criteria are Massachusetts with 46, Michigan with 39, Ohio and Pennsylvania with 37 and New Jersey with 34.
It is maddening to know other districts could have been on that list but could no longer afford to offer AP courses, or have had to cut back because of decreases in state education aid and the ill-advised and irresponsible property tax cap. New York’s tax cap, just like New Jersey’s, does not allow for weather-related emergencies. New Jersey’s governor has already signaled tax caps will be pierced to allow for more funds. I often wish our lawmakers would have adopted a circuit breaker law instead of a tax cap. Click here for info on a circuit breaker.