$21.5 Million in grants to help Low-Income students take AP tests, but what about the middle-class?

http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/215-million-grants-awarded-43-states-cover-fees-charged-low-income-students-taki

The Link above takes the reader to the US Dept. ED website and discusses how Delaware will be one the the states receiving grants to help cover the cost of Low Income students taking the AP exams offered in our public schools. Many high schools including my own Milford High offer several AP classes to their students who qualify for the advanced programs, and each of these finishes with a final exam that costs the taker (or parents) approx. $45.00/ per exam taken. My concerns with these grants is not in how the funding is spent or who may be helped by them, but in that Delaware Public Schools are making this test a requirement for passing the classes.

Therefore, families who don’t meet the income requirements but who are still struggling with maybe two parents working just to make ends meet are required to foot the bill for these required test without assistance! In my mind that is basically another school tax being laid on the backs of the working middle-class, and what adds to the frustration is that if the students are not prepared by the schools properly the results are not acceptable to the colleges. However, the private company that sells the test to the schools (by the way its the same one who sells the SAT s) still collects its fees whether the students see any benefit from taking the test. If Public Schools are requiring students to take the test as part of the class for a grade then like text books should not the cost for all students be covered?

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About Gary M Wolfe

The Author spent 10 years as a member of the Milford Delaware Board Of Education, and is currently seeking the 18th Senatorial seat in the Delaware Legislature.
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3 Responses to $21.5 Million in grants to help Low-Income students take AP tests, but what about the middle-class?

  1. John Young says:

    Reblogged this on Transparent Christina.

  2. Joanne Christian says:

    The fees are fine. To be given potentially 3 credits for a course after a 75-90 dollar test fee is more than fair. The struggling and/or lower income test takers often have the fees waived. What I told my kids, I’ll pay the test fee and if you pass–I’ll even give you the cost of the test fee as a bonus (still cheaper than 3 college credits). But, if you fail the college acceptable score–you have to reimburse me the test fee. One child cleaned up on everything. One child opted not to take the college pass test. Still did well in the program, but knew not to the depth and breadth the test would require. But the original fees shouldn’t be demonized as any tax or burden. Those parents and students who signed up knew they were straddling college prep education in hopes of being a few credits exempt, with a mainstream high school preparation. Whether or not taking the packaged test is mandatory to passing the class, is made well-known ahead of time. It cuts down on non-serious students “sitting in” on the class–and encourages the students enrolled to really extract and absorb all the information you can from this steppin’ class. I have seen it done both ways. As a parent though–I’m not a real big fan of AP–but it’s here.

  3. ancora1mparo says:

    Last year our district offered a portion of the cost (not including free and reduced lunch which does not pay fee) for each test a student took as long as the student had an A or B and turned the paperwork in by a certain date. (Then the AP admin chased students for paperwork in order to help them. :) I got the impression the students and parents were very appreciative because they hadn’t received that stipend in past. However, we cautioned students that RTTT$ will dry up and not sure if this will be repeated.
    Joanne has valuable points. Buildings are asked and criticized on the number of students participating in AP classes and the number of AP classes available. Delaware school’s focus is on passing DCAS grades K-10, the transition to a content rigorous AP course is a culture shock for students and parents. Some students/parents value only the grade while others see the financial value of college credits. As I watch Seniors graduate, there is a consistent pattern that AP students receive the most in scholarships and financial help from attending college. This often speaks a higher message in than DCAS scores.
    Delaware DOE and schools are in DESPERATE need of recognizing transition from DCAS to the real world, whether it is college, a training program or job skills. Right now there is a cliff between the too. It sort of reminds me of that drop in the Delaware ocean… you know where you walk into the waves waiting for it and then you either step down casually or you stumble and make your way or… you wipeout.

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