CQE Has Something to Say About A.P. Classes

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from the Citizens for Quality Education

Dear Metuchen Resident:

Do you wonder whether your child's schoolwork is challenging?

Many people move to Metuchen for the reputation of our school district and are extremely interested in the issue of rigor in the curriculum. Challenging curriculum matters as much for elementary or middle school children as it does for high school students.

Highly regarded as the benchmark for rigor in a high school curriculum by colleges across the country, Advanced Placement classes are the most challenging classes that most public high schools offer.  Good scores on AP tests earn college credit at minimal cost and provide evidence to college admission boards that a student is well prepared for college work. CQE believes that the quality of the K-12 education in Metuchen is such that more of our students should be prepared to take Advanced Placement courses, and to pass the AP exams, than the number who currently do.        

According to the latest NJ State School Report Cards from the academic year 2009-2010, Metuchen High School had only 23.5% of its juniors and seniors enrolled in at least one Advanced Placement (AP) course.  This is below the national average of 26.5% for the same year. At the same time, other nearby high schools showed stronger AP participation:  Highland Park (34.3%), J.P. Stevens (37.3%), Cranford (42%), Westfield (42.9%), Summit (46%).  We believe that students in Metuchen are just as capable of taking on the challenge of AP coursework as students in these other communities and yet, within our District Factor Group (communities with similar socioeconomic demographics, as defined by the state), Metuchen High School ranked 40th out of 48 high schools in AP participation and 48th out of 48 in the percentage of graduates going on to a 4-year college.  There is a strong correlation between AP participation and 4-year college enrollment.

At the February 23 Board of Education meeting, CQE President Jim Jaques addressed rigor in the curriculum across all levels and grades.  CQE Vice President Kathy Liss raised the issue of Metuchen High School's Advanced Placement (AP) participation rate and urged the Board of Education to look for ways to encourage more students to take AP classes.  The meeting is available on www.metuchennj.org (go to METV and Video on Demand). The period of public comment begins at about 2 hours and 2 minutes into the meeting.

We urge all Metuchenites to investigate the academic metrics by which high schools are compared: AP participation, the number of eligible students taking the AP test, AP test scores, SAT scores, enrollment in 4-year colleges, etc.  These numbers can be found for each high school in the State by looking at the NJ State School Report Cards, searching individual schools alphabetically at http://education.state.nj.us/rc/rc10/menu/A/M.html.

Please attend Board of Education meetings, write to the members of the Board of Education, and urge them to consider encouraging more students to take an AP class.  We believe that more than 1 out of 4 students should be prepared to do so.  Please visit www.metuchencqe.org and see our "Advocacy" and "Supporting Literature" pages.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Jim Jaques (President)

JoAnn Sabatino-Falkenstein    (Vice President)

Kathy Liss (Vice-President)          

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