Restricting Advanced Placement Courses
By Dr. Marciene Mattleman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Walter Fields and his wife are proud of their daughter, a sophomore at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, a good math student – scoring proficiency on state tests and earning an A in 8th grade algebra. However, she wasn’t recommended for 9th grade geometry, a course that would keep her on track for Advanced Placement calculus her senior year.
With a heavy sports schedule, she didn’t do as well in Algebra the next year and her teacher suggested she choose sports or math, telling her parents, she doesn’t “get it.”
The Fields, well-educated African Americans, believe the school has hindered their daughter’s progress because of race and, with other parents, are preparing a lawsuit. Fifty six percent of Columbia’s students are black, yet only 14.4% took AP calculus.
The Washington Post reports that some schools restrict AP access to show a high rate of success, while some good students in math, science and engineering are losing out.