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Like college, AP classes should be open to all

In Florida, Advanced Placement (AP) high school courses are more difficult than traditional classes but can offer college credits in addition to high school credits, if a student passes the AP exam at the end of the year.

A recent Bay News 9/St. Petersburg Times poll of Tampa Bay high school students’ parents found that 66 percent think AP classes should be open to all students, while 28 percent feel it should be open only to the most advanced students, and 78 percent feel the classes are worthwhile even if students don’t pass the AP exam.

The parents in the majority are right. AP classes are valuable and must remain open for all students who wish to take them.

Many parents and students complain that allowing everyone the chance to take the more difficult courses will slow down the more advanced students.

This is inevitably true, as everyone is different and some AP students will understand the material quicker than others. This is true of all classes, unless there’s only one student.

What all AP students do have in common, though, is an understanding of the academic value offered by the courses, both in terms of boosting college acceptability and tolerance of academic workloads.

Whether a student takes AP courses, all secondary academic institutions they may attend would require the same level of intellectual fortitude.

Those who wish to better prepare themselves for the intense nature of college courses by taking AP classes, even if they don’t pass the AP exam, should be applauded, not discouraged or prevented from doing so because it slows down quicker students.

A student who takes longer to understand a concept isn’t necessarily intellectually inferior. Some college students may also have a learning disability or take longer than their peers to understand material. However, they’re allowed to push themselves toward obtaining a college degree regardless, and often do so.

High school AP courses should not be any different.

There’s already a large number of obstacles potential college students face, and not being prepared academically is one of the most dangerous.

Educational attainment is closely related to socio-economic status and one’s ability to raise that status.

Reserving AP courses only for a select number of students would make it even more difficult for young people to pursue the American dream of doing better than their parents by attending college, which is an endeavor that AP classes help promote.