Advanced Placement, college enrollment County owes students the best opportunities

Advanced Placement,
college enrollment
County owes students
the best opportunities
Calhoun County has not always provided the best for all of its students.
This is not necessarily for lack of trying. Calhoun has always been one of the state’s more rural, poorer counties, and has always had a hard time funding all of the school district’s needs.
Now is no different than any other point in history, though our county’s leaders are making great strides in boosting the offerings of the district.
The Career-Technical Center opened this year, more than 20 years after district voters turned down a bond issue that would have helped to open such a center. That vote was short-sighted, though understandable, given the state of the economy at the time and low per capita income.
The district has had no plan for ensuring access to Advanced Placement or other advanced courses in its history. Bruce, for several years, has consistently offered AP courses; much more rarely, if ever, have Calhoun City and Vardaman offered such courses, which can allow students to earn college credit if they pass the AP exams.
The district also has the option, in cooperation with Northwest Mississippi Community College, to offer dual enrollment classes. Under dual enrollment, a district teacher can use Northwest’s texts and curriculum to teach, essentially, a college class in high school.
Students who take the class pay Northwest’s fee for credit hours and earn credit for both a high school class and credit at Northwest, which can be banked there or transferred to another school.
Both Advanced Placement and dual enrollment offer valuable opportunities to high school students. Dual enrollment guarantees college credit to students who pass the classes and pay the fees. College credit for AP classes depends on passing a special exam, but are offered free and must be open to students of all abilities who wish to attempt them.
For greatest availability – that is, to students at Bruce, Calhoun City and Vardaman all – Advanced Placement, dual enrollment or both should be offered at the Career-Technical Center, where students from across the county are already meeting in classes and working and studying together.
Whatever path district officials choose to follow to offer advanced educational opportunities to county students, we urge them to make those opportunities available as soon as possible – preferably this fall.
We have been behind long enough. Catch-up needs to start.

 

Mack Spencer