Senator Hernandez: Expanding AP Courses in California’s High Schools

May 18, 2012

For Immediate Release                                                                              

May 18th, 2012                                                                                                                                       

Senator Hernandez: Expanding AP Courses in California’s High Schools

La Puente, CA –Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez, O.D.(D – West Covina)  held a press event at his alma mater, Bassett High School, a school that has agreed to increasing its Advanced Placement (AP) course offering to its students. Senator Hernandez’s bill, SB 532, was signed into law last year by Governor Brown, which encouraged a minimum of 5 AP class offerings at each high school in California.  Senator Hernandez worked for 3 years with his colleagues in the California legislature to ensure that SB 532 was passed.

A big supporter of SB 532 is the College Board who created the California AP Potential Expansion (CAPE) initiative pilot program to help bring AP courses to 200 public high schools that offer few or no AP courses.  The College Board will offer full-tuition scholarships for the new AP teachers to attend an AP Summer Institute, and pilot schools will receive help from the College Board,, and Innovate Foundation in acquiring college textbooks and materials such as science lab equipment and graphing calculators.
Al Mijares, Vice President of the Western Region for the College Board spoke about CAPE and other grants available to high schools who want to increase their offering of AP courses. He says, “Bassett High School is on an impressive trajectory to prepare its students for college readiness and success. Despite a host of challenges, it currently offers 14 AP classes and the number of students earning a 3/4/5 on AP exams has doubled in the last ten years from 50 students to 100. Moreover, the number of students taking AP has increased by 66%. Bassett serves as an example for other schools in California, and underscores the objectives of the new California AP Potential Expansion (CAPE) initiative begun by Senator Ed Hernandez and the College Board
Senator Hernandez supports the CAPE initiative as a win-win program as it focuses on students who would most likely succeed if given the opportunity to take AP classes. Research has shown that AP programs can provide a cost-effective way for high school students to earn college credit or advanced placement while still in high school. Taking AP courses demonstrates to college admission officers that students have sought the most rigorous curriculum available to them, and research indicates that students who score a 3 or higher on an AP Exam typically experience greater academic success in college and are more likely to earn a college degree than non-AP students.

“I firmly believe in the idea that education is the greatest equalizer, and having access to AP classes provides greater opportunities for our students.  We need to ensure that all of California’s students are afforded access to these types of courses and the opportunities they bring.  This program is a strong first step in that direction and with a $16 billion dollar state budget deficit forcing school districts to do more with less, this program could not come at a better time for California’s students.” --said Hernandez.