One of the many pieces of the MMSD administration’s just-introduced high school proposal that has not been made clear is where the prominent AP component comes from. The answer is that it comes largely from a three-year federal grant, a $2.2 Advanced Placement Incentive Program grant that was awarded to the DPI in 2009.
As some of you surely know, there is currently a national trend (supported by significant grant dollars) to increase access to AP courses. The DPI’s “Blended Learning Innovations: Building a Pipeline for Equity and Access” is part of that trend.
The purpose of the grant is to close the race and SES based achievement gaps by increasing the number of AP courses in schools with high levels of poverty and by increasing the participation and success of poor and minority students in AP courses and testing. The MMSD is a partner in the grant.
Please note that both nationally (NAGC) and locally, AP has never been a focus of the “TAG” community. (On the contrary, those of us who worked on the MMSD TAG Plan advocated for consideration of an IB curriculum … which is what’s been proposed for the Madison Preparatory Academy.)
I imagine I am not the only one who would appreciate it if the District (and the press) would be clearer with the community about these points:
1) This high school proposal has been in the works for a long time. (Importantly, it has been in the works since well before the West DPI petition and complaint. The complaint may have sped up the rolling out of the plan, for better and worse, but it did not impact the content of the plan. As evidence, consider the second paragraph of the October 14 letter sent out to the West community: there is no mention whatsoever of 9th and 10th grade honors classes, which is the sole focus and request of the DPI complaint.)
2) The extent to which the DPI’s “equity and access” AP grant is driving the content of the MMSD’s high school proposal.