Happy Friday of a very DC-focused week (even more so than normal, that is). Here is a quick wrap-up of a few stories on other stuff going on across the country that you might be interested in (and one on the DC happenings).
Both of these articles explore NYC AP numbers but with decidedly different takes:
Advanced Placement (AP) courses and exams are designed to provide high schoolers the opportunity to study and earn credit for college-level coursework on more than three-dozen subjects, including calculus, art history, biology and Latin. Under the New York City’s AP for All initiative, all high schoolers will have the option to take at least five such courses by fall 2021.
A record number of kids took and passed Advanced Placement tests last year — but critics say the college-credit program is still all but invisible at nearly 100 city schools.
“Families for Excellent Schools, a charter school backer, noted that 98 city schools with 33,000 students didn’t have a single student pass an AP exam last year,” wrote Algar.
The City of Detroit is siding with seven Detroit public school children suing Gov. Rick Snyder and state education officials over their right to access literacy. The lawsuit, filed in September by a California public interest law firm, claims the state has functionally excluded Detroit children from the state’s educational system.
“Denying children access to literacy today inevitably impedes tomorrow’s job seekers and taxpayers; fathers and mothers; citizens and voters,” Attorney Eli Savit wrote (in the suit).
School rankings were released on Friday that put 38 schools in jeopardy of closing as early as June 30. Among those schools, 24 Detroit schools have consistently been in the bottom 5 percent the last three years.
“(Gov) Snyder’s administration had previously said the massive $617 million Detroit Public Schools bailout legislation prevented officials from closing any of the city’s worst schools prior to 2019 because of certain stipulations in the school rescue package. But state officials said in a Friday morning press call that after a 30-45 day review period, 38 schools in the state — including the 24 in Detroit — could be closed as soon as June 30,” wrote authors Gerstein and Lewis.
The new grading system, which places a spotlight on equity, was discussed during a community meeting Tuesday night. The state is proposing a system that allows for schools that are not posting the highest proficiency scores to earn an A ranking, making the playing field fairer for schools with large shares of children living in poverty, as academic progress is also factored into the measure.
“Schools performing in the state’s bottom 5 percent are considered priority schools, and these schools will automatically earn an F unless they have posted significant academic growth as measured by the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System,” wrote Rainwater.
Conor Williams writes: At a basic level, (school choice seems) unobjectionable enough — what’s not to like about giving families flexibility about the sort of education their kids get? At that level, school choice is a banal, Very Good Thing. It’s the sort of policy tool that seems as though it could solve all sorts of problems.
When it comes to U.S. education policy, the task is supporting equitable opportunities and higher achievement for traditionally underserved students. That’s not quite the same thing as providing families with educational alternatives.
This distinction matters.