Students, parents react to possibility of AP courses changing

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants alternative to placement classes
Suncoast High School valedictorian Alana Ferguson
Posted at 11:54 PM, Feb 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-14 08:56:19-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — People in Palm Beach County are debating the impact that Gov. Ron DeSantis' suggestion to part ways with the company that writes the curriculum for Advanced Placement courses will have on students.

What alternative is there to AP structure by the College Board, which also administers Scholastic Aptitude Tests, and what does that mean for students as the state finds a replacement?

College credits are also offered through Cambridge Programme, International Baccalaureate and dual enrollment in college/high school. American College Testing exams are an alternative to SATs.

RELATED: DeSantis takes aim at AP classes

"I think that the education that you get through them is just completely necessary and it's so important to young students," Alana Ferguson, the former valedictorian of Suncoast High School, said.

Ferguson said she took and passed 26 AP courses, was in the International Baccalaureate program, fully dual enrolled every semester she was allowed and had a weighted GPA of approximately 5.7.

"I think it takes a lot to differentiate yourself amongst really strong candidate population when it comes to college admissions, and so by taking those AP classes, it shows that you're ready for a college-level education and teaches a lot about balance and drive and working hard on your academic load," Ferguson said.

That feat, she said, made her competitive in the application process and helped her get accepted to and prepared for Princeton University.

The resources also made the college journey more affordable for many of her underprivileged classmates.

"Automatically, the first thing I think of is when you do away with Advanced Placement classes, you're already putting Floridan students at a disadvantage," Ferguson said.

DeSantis hasn't clarified what the alternative to AP courses would be, but Ferguson worries the impact it'll have on students working on their college resumes.

"There may be a transitional period I'm sure," Mike Kustner, a father of four, said. "What would really be good is have the parents have input on what they think their children should learn and use."

He said three of his children took AP courses and went off to college.

"I don't know that it helped them," he said. "It's what they had to do. I think it's a standardization that they had to follow whether it's good or bad or different."

Kutsner agrees AP courses have pros but is in support of DeSantis parting ways with the college board.

"I don't have a problem with that, because I think teaching to a standardized curriculum limits the thought processes in education," Kutsner said. "I think they teach to the tests, they teach to the standardization, and not necessarily for what's best for the kids and students."

Kutsner also said he believes college shouldn't be a top priority in schools and feels there should be better support for trade schools.