Dear BCPS Parents, Guardians, Students and Stakeholder Groups:
We have developed an AP TRANSPARENCY TOOLKIT for parents and students to use as students are registering for their high school courses. Even middle school students are being recommended for AP classes as they enter their freshman year of high school. Our understanding is these recommendations are being made in eighth grade, based merely on a students PSAT scores - without consideration for developmental appropriateness, maturity, age, readiness, organization skills, outside interests and commitments, and concern for a healthy life balance.
In the interest of encouraging full disclosure and transparency, we have created an AP TRANSPARENCY TOOLKIT to help you and your student evaluate how many, and which AP classes might be appropriate for your student to take, and at what point in their high school carreer.
Only you and your student are equipped to make these decisions; what is a good fit for one student may be a complete disaster for another. Our goal simply is to arm you with the tools and information you need in order to make an informed decision about if, when, and how many AP courses would be appropriate for your student to take in any given year.
There are many factors to consider and we hope these tools and documents, (along with the information in this website) will help shed some light on the issues associated with the way many Baltimore County Public Schools often aggressively push students into taking as many AP courses as possible, as early as possible in their high school careers.
According to many high school principals and administrators, these efforts are designed to introduce greater "rigor" into BCPS curriculum offerings, and to prepare kids for the college experience. Regrettably, we can't help but question the motives behind aggressively pushing students into AP courses at the expense of eliminating what may be more suitable course options. This is the central issue as far as we are concerned.It's about having choices.
The more AP classes a school offers, and the more tests that are taken, the greater the likelihood that a school's ranking will soar in the somewhat frivolous Newsweek "America's Best High Schools" annual contest! Thus there is great motivation and enthusiasm by principals to get students taking College Board sponsored AP courses and AP tests early in their high school career simply because the greater the volume of students, the higher the numbers of test takers, then the higher the rank for your school! In the new Newsweek methodology, very little weight is given to the number of students who actually pass an exam ( a score of 3 or higher, on a scale of 1-5).
Your tax dollars pay for these courses. All high schools should be required to provide TRANSPARENCY to the students that are being shepherded wholesale into AP classes. While some AP courses may be quite approporiate - all AP - All the Time can be disastrous and create much misery in your household. There is no All Good or All Bad - each course is different. All we ask for is a little TRANSPARENCY so students know how deep the water is before they jump in head first. After all, isn't that what we have been lecturing to them since they were little children?
We would love to hear back from you. We welcome your input and opinions - and we would particularly welcome your help in taking some of these suggestions to our Board of Education. We need volunteers!
We look forward to hearing from you and we hope you find these suggestions helpful.
Advocates for Better Course Choices In BCPS High Schools
Students and Parent for a Healthy, and Balanced life
Just because next year's registration forms have been turned in, there is still time to adjust your students' schedule! Our "AP Transparency Toolkit" will help you and your student make INFORMED decisions. The Master Schedule is never set "in stone" until the end of the current school year - but you must be persistent if you decide you want to make a change. Get the information you deserve to make an informed choice and don't take no for an answer. After all - you are the taxpayer!