Queens, NY – Buoyed by the success of his AP for All program that brought advanced placement classes to 63 New York City public high schools, Mayor de Blasio announced his plan to expand the initiative to all city high schools by the fall of 2021.
The mayor’s remarks came at a press conference held at the Young Women’s Leadership School in Astoria Queens on Tuesday morning, where he was accompanied by New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers and David Coleman, president and chief executive of The College Board, who wore a t-shirt under his sports jacket bearing the words “AP Para Todos,” the Spanish translation of AP for All.
de Blasio said that the number of students taking advanced placement courses in New York City schools in 2016 jumped 8.4 percent, with 8.2 of those students receiving passing grades.
AP courses give students the ability to receive college credits for courses taken in high school, upping the educational standard in city schools while giving students the ability to obtain college credits at considerable financial savings.
Pointing to the all girls high school as a microcosm of New York City, de Blasio noted that more than 60 different languages were spoken by the school’s student body and that AP for All is making tremendous opportunities available to minority students.
This year marks the first time that advanced placement courses have been offered at the Young Women’s Leadership School, with four different college level classes available to students. Ultimately, AP for All hopes to have five advanced placement courses offered at every New York City high school.
Asked if he thought that President-elect Trump’s nominee for secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, could potentially discontinue the program, de Blasio expressed concern about that possibility and reiterated his opposition to school vouchers as a potential threat to the public school system.
“Anything that might undercut resources for our public schools is going to meet with a lot of opposition,” said de Blasio.
The mayor’s remarks came as DeVos is undergoing Senate confirmation hearings in Washington.
“If she is confirmed I don’t think it will be easy for her to move that part of her agenda,” added the mayor.
Mulgrew echoed de Blasio’s words and criticized DeVos for taking a business approach to education.
“Her entire career has been about removing funding from public schools,” said Mulgrew. “She does not believe in neighborhood public schools. She believes that education should have no accountability and anyone who wants to open a school and run it can run it, and they can make as much profit as they possibly can, and if they can get away with it, G-d bless them. That is her belief.
It is a business belief. It is not an education ideology.”