Tom Ultican spent many years in Silicon Valley. Then he switched careers and became a teacher of advanced mathematics and physics. He frequently taught AP courses. He recently retired.

He explains in this article why he turned into a critic of AP classes. He engaged in a dialogue with Jay Mathews, the veteran education journalist at the Washington Post. Mathews creates a method for ranking high schools based in the proportion of students who took and passed AP courses.

Mathew’s methodology has now become the US News and World report ranking of “the best high schools” in the nation. Ultican shows why this list favors charter schools, which may have small numbers of graduates and high rates of attrition. It is biased against large high schools that educate all kinds of students, not just survivors.

It’s a great read.