Everyone benefits from Advanced Placement education

In Friday’s Minot Daily News, staff writer Andrea Johnson reported on the expansion of STEM studies through advanced placement education opportunities in rural North Dakota.

It’s a good initiative.

What would be better? If Advanced Placement classes were structured here, available here and as relevant here as they were in other parts of the country… as far back as 35 years ago… the whole state would probably be in substantial better shape.

In some states, for decades, talented high school students had the opportunity to take “advanced” classes for a year throughout their usual high school day with qualified teachers, followed by a challenging test, and receive the reward of a varying number of corresponding college credits at state or cooperating colleges. It was standard operating procedure for achieving students to actually be challenged, give them a head start on college and in some cases, encourage them to stay in-state. The classes were free like any other high school class.

Not a bad plan.

It’s unclear why this hasn’t been standard everywhere since it benefits every party. Achieving students are obviously a positive to colleges in state, local businesses and thus the economy, local government – literally, everyone benefits.

Years ago, some feel the focus of education transferred from pushing achievers to maintaining a mediocre middle ground.

North Dakota should re-examine its entire 1. STEM focus 2. Valuable vocational-technical focus, and 3. Advanced Placement system.

Then, taxpayers will know the state is really innovating and not just toying with the perimeter effects to rank better than the next state.