Advanced Placement for Dummies

, Deborah Lambert, Leave a comment

Should AP classes be available for everyone, regardless of their skill sets?

Absolutely not, says Laurie Rogers, author of the book, Betrayed, who noted in that she thought it was a “really stupid idea.”

A theory among educators is that even if the kids aren’t qualified, “they’ll learn just by being there.”
In fact, many educators think in terms of “equity,” “opportunity” and the fact that these classes are “challenging” the kids.

Rogers disagrees, especially about math.

While young children usually enjoy math and science, Rogers says that “by 4th grade they’ve changed their minds forever,” and she puts the “blame squarely on reform mathematics.”

The problem begins when teachers abandon traditional math in favor of teaching students there are “multiple alternate” ways to solve problems. Worse than that, “discovery teaching models have them working in groups or pairs to teach concepts to each other.”

“Traditional methods don’t work anymore,” parents are told. “Our kids need 21st-century skills.”

Even though they might not learn a thing, kids are routinely pushed into AP math classes all the way through high school.

For most, the day of reckoning eventually occurs in college when up to 95% require remedial math, many in simple arithmetic.

Rogers notes that the way to fix this problem is to start off with the proper teaching methods.

Since the education establishment balks at this kind of logic, Rogers suggests that the movers and shakers of policy change will have to be parents.

Deborah Lambert writes the Squeaky Chalk column for Accuracy in Academia.