May 12, 2005 Extra Credit
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May 12, 2005

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May 11
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"College Is Within Their Reach"

No Child Left Behind’s Advanced Placement Incentive Program (API) expands opportunities for disadvantaged high school students to excel in college and beyond. Research shows that students who take rigorous courses stand a far greater chance of succeeding in college. Low-income students who take AP courses are much more likely to enroll and be successful in college than their non-participating peers. The following are excerpts from recent articles highlighting the U.S. Department of Education’s awarding of API grants in Des Moines, IA and Chicago:

"More minority and low-income Des Moines students will have access to rigorous college preparation programs because of a federal grant the district will receive today, district officials said. U.S. Department of Education officials will award the district a $2.4 million grant to be spread over the next three school years. Officials said the money will be used to expand the district's Prep Academy, a program designed to increase the numbers of minority and low-income students at Central Academy, the district's campus for academically gifted students."

"The money will also go toward boosting advanced science instruction in middle schools. Officials [plan] to hire five advanced science teachers for high-poverty middle schools. Julia Burton, the district's gifted and talented students coordinator, said the grant will expose more students who are traditionally underrepresented to gifted and talented programs. ‘There's a really focused agenda to work on helping students in high-poverty schools understand college is within their reach,’ Burton said."

"Moving to increase the number of low-income teenagers with access to college-level classes, the U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday will award a three-year, $2.7 million grant to Chicago Public Schools. The funds will be used to add more Advanced Placement classes in six city high schools and start pre-AP classes at 18 feeder elementary schools. The money will allow the high schools to add AP classes in English and mathematics as well as science—biology, chemistry or physics. … Children at [the] elementary schools will get extra instruction to prepare them for the rigors of college-level courses in high school—and to improve their chances of ultimately attending college."

"District officials said there already has been a significant expansion in access to AP classes and International Baccalaureate classes, another national program designed for accelerated students. Last year, almost 5,300 Chicago Public Schools students took AP exams, compared with 3,200 in 2000. Research indicates that students who take these rigorous courses in high school are more likely to attend college. Statistics released by the school district this week show that of the 1,802 graduates last year who took two AP classes or more, almost 80 percent enrolled in college. About 35 percent are attending ‘very selective’ colleges."
The complete article is available from The Chicago Tribune online archives for a fee. ((May 11, 2005)


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NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

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Last Modified: 08/24/2007