The April 6 article, “Students of Color Gain in AP Coursework,” (Metro) highlights Massachusetts’ recent success in AP courses. While these rankings are certainly cause for celebration, it is important to acknowledge the challenges Boston Public Schools face in providing an education of a similar standard to all of its students. Of the six Outstanding Schools that have been lauded for “an increase of at least 30 percent over five years among Black, Hispanic, and/or low-income test takers,” only one is part of BPS—an exam school.
I’ve been a BPS volunteer – working privately in ESL classes – for the past four years. There is a huge disconnect between the celebrations of the country being one of the best in the country and the lack of support I noticed for the students I worked with.
Among the increase in the success of students of color who take AP courses, how many are English language learners, students with disabilities, or students experiencing homelessness or poverty? BPS is rich in students in these demographics, but many of their academic statistics are nothing to be proud of.
It is unacceptable that the achievement gap between different racial and ethnic groups persists in our schools. This complex issue requires a multifaceted approach that includes not only BPS but also policy makers, educators, parents and society at large. We must hold both the state and the BPS accountable for their performance and work to address the root causes of inequality in education through increased funding, expanded parent and community involvement, and additional support for classrooms, or one-to-one educational programmes. While we respect the steps of AP inclusion, we must not forget those students who are still lagging behind.