In an interview featured in the latest edition of Washington Monthly, Kristin Klopfenstein, Colorado Lab director and a nationally recognized expert on Advanced Placement (AP), notes that “AP was designed in the 1950s to be a program for precocious high schoolers who were very privileged. AP is serving exactly who it’s designed to serve, which is mostly upper-middle-class whites.”
The article examines why the benefits of the AP program continue to flow disproportionately to white students in affluent school districts—even as state and federal policy makers have worked to change this.
When students have access to classes and the resources to succeed, the program provides undeniable benefits. Ending the program won’t solve the underlying inequities in the K-12 system that created AP’s disparate outcomes in the first place. “The challenge,” said Dr. Klopfenstein, “is that AP is coming in at the very tail of the educational experience. While it’s certainly desirable to make AP accessible to all, the first and best solution would be to make sure that all kids are having a K-through-10 educational experience that prepares them to be ready for AP.”