San Diego students will benefit from an $833,463 grant to help low-income students gain access to Advanced Placement (AP) courses and be better prepared to succeed in college and beyond, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced today. Over the course of the three-year grant, the San Diego County of Education is expected to receive over $2.7 million. On behalf of Secretary Spellings, Assistant Secretary Susan Sclafani presented the grant to San Diego County of Education Superintendent of Schools Rudy Castruita during a grant check presentation at the San Diego County Office of Education in San Diego.
The grant is part of the No Child Left Behind Act’s Advanced Placement program and is a competitive, three-year award to help states, local school districts or national nonprofit organizations increase access for low-income students to AP programs.
“Research shows that students who take rigorous courses stand a far greater chance of succeeding in college,” said Secretary Spellings. “In particular, we know that low-income students who take AP courses are much more likely to enroll and be successful in college than their non-participating peers. Through programs like AP and President Bush’s proposed High School Intervention Initiative, we are committed to ensuring that every student graduates high school with the skills needed to succeed in college or the workforce. Expanding access to AP programs will help ensure that all students-regardless of their skin color, accent or street address-receive a quality education.”
This year, the Department is awarding 13 AP program grants in nine states for a total of nearly $30 million. The San Diego County of Education will use the funds for the Advanced Placement Consortium Project (APCP) to serve school districts with a high concentration of low-income students, particularly in the North County area of San Diego. The program will raise the academic achievement of all students by developing pre-advanced courses, increasing the rigor of classroom content and bridging classes, particularly in English, mathematics and science. Through local partnerships, the grant will also assist with professional development workshops for teachers and counselors, on-line courses and support materials for students and tools to assist parents with their child’s academic preparation for college.
In his fiscal year 2006 budget, the president has requested a $21.7 million, or 73 percent, increase for the AP Program, bringing total funding for the program to $51.5 million. The significant increase in funding will allow more AP and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs to reach more low-income and minority students, provide funds for professional development for teachers and continue to defray costs such as exam fees. In addition to the No Child Left Behind AP Program, President Bush’s $1.5 billion High School initiative and other high school-related FY 2006 budget proposals would help ensure that every student graduates from high school prepared to enter college or the workforce with the skills to succeed.
The No Child Left Behind Act is the bipartisan landmark education reform law designed to change the culture of America’s schools by closing the achievement gap among groups of students, offering more flexibility to states, giving parents more options and teaching students using proven, effective methods. Under the law’s strong accountability provisions, states must describe how they will close the achievement gap and make sure all students, including those who are disadvantaged, achieve academic proficiency.
The AP Program is part of the Department’s Office of Innovation and Improvement, which was established in September 2002 to make strategic investments in innovative educational practices and coordinate information to parents about the educational options available to them for their child.