New Orleans schools must improve AP programs

Kristine Totanes, Contributing Reporter

The following is an opinion article and opinion articles do not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

New Orleans public schools surpassed Louisiana’s 31 percent passing rate for Advanced Placement exams, but the average passing rate for the district, at 37 percent, was still abysmally low. Despite an increase in the number of students taking AP classes in New Orleans public schools, the number of students actually passing these college-level courses declined.

The only two schools in the city in which the majority of their students passed AP exams were Benjamin Franklin High School, at 90.1 percent, and Lusher Charter School, at 74.4 percent.

There are measures that schools must take in order to improve their AP passing rates, which generally are indicative of a school’s quality of education. First, schools must focus less on increasing the number of students taking AP courses while, at the same time, improving the quality of AP education that the students receive. Once this has been achieved, more students in the city’s high schools should be encouraged to take Advanced Placement courses.

Besides improving the quality of AP education in these schools, another way to improve passing rates is to better prepare the students themselves for the rigor of these courses. 

Just as important as providing students pre-AP training in the ninth- and 10th-grades is helping teachers become more effective at teaching. Since teachers play an immense role in how well students perform, improving the quality of teaching will undoubtedly improve how much students learn and, thus, how well they perform on AP exams. Adjustments can be made to hire highly qualified teachers that undergo specific, rigorous training programs. 

Since students who pass AP courses end up attending colleges and universities at much higher rates than students who do not take these courses, leading to better career opportunities and quality of life, we can see why improving the quality of teaching as well as better preparing students to take these AP courses is highly important. While the state of public education in New Orleans is far from perfect today, with a dedicated effort there is potential for great improvement.