School to Permit Students to 'Opt Out' of AP Exams to Save Money

If there’s one downside to working for the government, it’s the constant concerns about the budget. While it’s easy for us to sit on the outside and shake our heads at that, the people on the ground doing the actual work are often constrained by budgetary concerns. It doesn’t help when brainiacs decide to do hairbrained things like this one.

From The Daily Caller:

Students in Fairfax County, Virginia, can now opt out of placement tests for college-level courses so schools can save money, according to a Monday report.

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) plans to save $600,000, or approximately a fraction of 1 percent of its budget, by not requiring students to take the Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) placement tests, reported The Washington Post.

Jane Strauss, chair of the Fairfax school board, said that Virginia prohibited the district from mandating test-taking unless it also paid all of the fees. The school system will bear the cost of the first six IB or AP exams per student.

“Regardless of what score was earned on the AP Exam(s), students who took an AP Exam were more likely to graduate [college] in four years or fewer than students who took no AP Exams,” reported a College Board study sampling over a half million students.

If the budget is that lean — so lean that you have to make a key part of taking an AP course optional — then you should probably look for cost-cutting measures that would be worth a little bit more than a fraction of a percent. Seriously.

Meanwhile, what do you want to bet you’ll find plenty of administrative bloat in Fairfax County, Virginia?

Anytime there’s a budgetary concern, people immediately turn to things like this. They do stunts like making AP exams optional — thus eliminating any purpose for those students to be in AP classes in the first place — or they make things tighter on the teacher end. But they rarely address any measures that would require the system administration to tighten their belts.

Of course, that’s intentional. It’s political theater. It’s far more important to be seen doing “something” than to simply do something. Things the teachers will complain about are seen as good fiscal stewardship, even if it only takes a fraction of a percent off the budget, but eliminating administrative staff positions? No one will see that, so it won’t look good in the news.

Is it any wonder why so many people are opting to homeschool these days?