In his Class Struggle column this week, Jay Mathews tries to validate his Challenge Index by pointing out that “that I am no longer the only person doing this kind of comparative high school assessment”.
However, there are two problems with this AP glorification club he’s trying to build.
First, Mathews still doesn’t explain how simply ranking schools based on the number of students who take the test actually defines educational quality. In this article he only seems relieved that a few others are doing the same thing.
Secondly, none of the club members attempts to explain why the AP program is the best way to define the American high school curriculum.
One of the major problems with the structure of most school programs is that it gives students two choices: train for college or don’t. Pushing every student into AP classes only cements that lack of options.
Mathews is certainly correct that we need to encourage students to tackle more challenging work. He just isn’t very convincing that the AP program is the one and only way to do that.