The College Board's website still features the College Board Schools program, which ended after the last school year amid the group's evolving priorities. About a dozen city schools lost support and funding due to the shift.
At the Preparatory Academy for Writers in Queens, being a College Board School meant tablet computers for students and weekend visits to Boston’s elite universities.
For Palisade Preparatory School in Yonkers, just north of New York City, a partnership with the maker of the SATs and the Advanced Placement program meant top-notch teacher training and a chance to collaborate with educators from the city — not to mention the iPads and college visits.
And at South Bronx Preparatory, the fact that a national organization had helped found their small school sparked pride in their alma mater.
“When kids say, ‘a College Board School,’ they feel something,” said South Bronx Prep Principal Ellen Flanagan.
Then, in June, the nearly decade-old College Board Schools program was quietly canceled. The schools lost the support and funding that they had been getting, in some cases since 2004.
“I feel like we’ve been thrown away and abandoned,” said Cynthia Schneider, principal of a former College Board School in Queens, World Journalism Preparatory.
Chancellor Dennis Walcott moderated a panel about Advanced Placement courses at New York University today. To the immediate left, Park East senior Yailizabeth Castillo.
New York City school officials are bringing Advanced Placement courses to far more high schools in their latest effort to get black and Hispanic students doing college-level work.
Almost 58,000 students were enrolled in AP courses in 2012. Now, the city is spending $7 million on an Advanced Placement Expansion Initiative to bring 120 sections of AP classes to 55 high schools. Most of the new classes are in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, where white and Asian students far outpace black and Hispanic students.
The new initiative is a collaboration with the College Board, which designs and administers the test, and whose president is David Coleman, architect of the the state's new Common Core standards.
At a kickoff event this morning, Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the expansion reflects the goals of the Common Core, which is aimed at getting students to think deeply and critically.
"This will be Common Core-plus," Walcott told students from schools participating in the program. "What Advanced Placement does is just take it to the next level."
Both the mayor and the chancellor have now issued statements boasting about gains on Advanced Placement exams, the rigorous tests that are considered a good indicator of whether students are prepared for college. But the picture is more complex than they suggest, and if anything the evidence adds to concerns raised yesterday about college preparedness, particularly among black and Hispanic students.
More students are definitely taking the exams than were in 2002, whether you look at the sheer numbers — a total of 23,600 students took the tests in 2008, up from less than 17,000 in 2002 — or at proportions — in 2008, about 23% of eleventh- and twelfth-graders took AP exams, up from 21% in 2002.*
But, as I suggested yesterday, the increased participation has led to a lower pass rate: