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Re: Equality, solidarity & democracy

On George's comments on AP and on California: admission to U-Cal (Berkeley,
UCLA, Santa Cruz, etc) is based mostly on grade point average and test
scores. Thousands of students with a GPA of 4.0 -- all A's -- or higher are
denied admission to the two most prestigious campuses (Berkeley, UCLA). This
is because a student can earn a GPA above a 4.0 by taking honors courses, AP
courses, IB courses, etc. Of course, not all schools offer these. George is I
think correct that a students ability to take and pass these courses depends
largely on the cumulative effect of years of honors or "gifted and talented"
(charmingly pernicious term), etc. Not only does AP allow college credit, as
George described, in the UC system it is necessary for admission to at least
some of the campuses. The availability of these courses correlates highly
with class and racial background of the students. Hence that portion of the
lawsuit in California.

Of course, test scores are also major barriers to UCal admissions.

One reason for the "higher than A" grades is the conclusion of schools that
students will not take more difficult courses if it will disadvantage their
application to college. The solution is to weight these courses so that a B
in one of them might be an A in a "regular" course, etc.

And that brings us again to the purposes of schooling and the effects of
competition on schools, student motivation and learning, etc.

Monty Neill

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