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Pilot Program Aims to Level the Advanced Placement Playing Field for Low-Income Students

The College Board, which administers AP exams, is bringing AP courses to 200 under-served high schools across California.


With college tuition skyrocketing, one good way for students to cut costs is to earn college credit through Advanced Placement courses and exams in high school. But not all schools offer the same number of AP classes, and poor kids of color tend to have the least access.

In an effort to remedy this inequity, the College Board, which administers AP exams, is launching the California AP Potential Expansion, a pilot program that will bring AP courses to 200 under-served high schools across the Golden State. Teachers will participate in an intensive summer training institute and receive ongoing professional development. Participating schools—which must commit to offering at least one new AP course for each of three years—will also receive funding for textbooks and course materials through nonprofit partnerships. The program will identify what the College Board calls "diamond-in-the-rough" students who might develop their potential in AP classes.

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College Readiness Replacing Test Scores as Measure of High School Effectiveness

Will new get-tough measures for evaluating high school performance really improve schools?


What makes a high school effective? Is it the number of students who graduate? Sky-high test scores? Those are the traditional measures, but the majority of recent high school grads say they don't feel high school prepared them for college or the workforce, and college placement tests slot students into endless remedial classes that don't count toward their degrees. So a new model is emerging, one that aims to evaluate high schools based on how well they prepare students for college.

Both New York City and Chicago will begin evaluating high schools according to college readiness indicators. According to recently released data from the City University of New York—where 60 percent of the city's college-bound high school grads enroll—only a quarter don't require remedial classes. In order to better determine if schools are preparing students for college-level work, the New York City Department of Education intends to evaluate data on how many students pass tougher high school classes like physics and chemistry, Advanced Placement tests, and International Baccalaureate exams.

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Formerly Homeless Student Starts Nonprofit to Help His Peers Get to College

19-year-old student Orayne Williams got his first home when he went to college. Now he's working to get other homeless teens there, too.


Nineteen-year-old New York City student Orayne Williams knows a lot about how to avoid becoming a statistic. Last year Williams, who was abandoned by his family when he was 12 and spent his teen years living in homeless shelters, managed to graduate from high school with honors and enrolled at Manhattanville College on a full scholarship. His campus dormitory was his first non-shelter home in years.

His achievements are so inspiring that the New York Daily News made him their success story of 2010 and their readers generously donated $15,000 to him. But Williams is determined to not be a happy exception. Last November, he founded a new nonprofit, the Progressive People Movement, Inc, which hopes to help at-risk "youth break free from the cycles of homelessness, incarceration, poverty and failure."

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