I often hear AP lauded because it enables students to get through college in only three years, thus saving a year of tuition. What if college were free? Would there be such a rush to get it over with? What’s the purpose of college? Why four years? Why not three or two or one or none? A few years ago, a very rich guy offered 10 students $100,000 not to go to college. I haven’t heard how that turned out. Did they create businesses? Did they drop out of his program and go to college? Are they homeless?

I am biased or uninformed or both. When I went to high school, there were no AP classes. My children never took an AP class. I have no experience with them.

Roy Turrentine asks some questions here about the purpose of AP courses.

“I have the same problem with AP that I have with Dual Credit classes. It is not a question of whether the class is exciting or rigorous. It is not a question of whether the students are ready or not. It is a question of what society wants out of education. So I will pose it.

“Why do we want to take our smartest kids and teach them half as much? True, it will be cheaper for kids to go to college. Why not just fund college? We need our smartest kids to get Western Civilization twice. They need to study American History under a good committed instructor in high school, then under an erudite, professorial relationship in college. We need all students to know the things we need to make them citizens. The smartest ones will hopefully be our community leaders and realize the importance of their education.”

In my own experience, AP helped me out. While my friends were sitting through a college English class that mostly dealt with grammatical errors and writing basic essays, I was reading some good books in sophomore English. But my best experience was when I studied American History and Western Civilization again, it introduced me to the two professors who would be like fathers to me. We cannot predict where our experience will lead.