Please realize that I'm making a generalization based on a certain demographic. This is not absolute nor can it be applied elsewhere.
Basically, the Advanced Placement system is very flawed. AP classes are supposed to offer classes for students who are especially interested or advanced in a certain subject area the opportunity to take a college-level course. This is not happening, as is obvious from fewer and fewer colleges accepting good AP test scores as grounds to skip a class.
The main cause of this problem is a parent/student problem. The parent and the student see AP classes as an avenue for the student to get into better colleges. The problem is that when you have parents who are pushing for their children to be allowed in AP classes who aren't necessarily ready, the system breaks. When a teacher has a class where a few of the students are capable of AP level work and the rest aren't, it creates a dilemma. Do you let the kids who aren't ready fail, or do you lower the bar so that they can pass? On the one hand, failing half a class doesn't look good politically. On the other hand, lowering the bar harms the students that are capable of higher level work but are never pushed to their full potential. But the downside to the latter choice is often ignored. After all, no failing students, no complaining parents, it looks good for the school, everyone is happy. The kids who would be getting A's are getting them anyway, albeit rather effortlessly, but there is no immediate harm.
But the harm becomes apparent later. I'd like to know, of those here that have attended or do attend a university, how many can honestly say that high school completely prepared them for college-level work? After all, even if you're not taking AP classes, CP classes are called "college preparatory" for a reason, right? They're supposed to still get you ready for the higher, more analytical aspects of college classes as well as give you a frame of reference for the kind of work you will have to do in college, right?
In every situation that I can conceive, this is not the case. Virtually every adult has memories of that first semester of college, where the first quarter "went by just like that" and left them totally unprepared for their first finals. If our schools were really doing what they were supposed to do, would there be this steep learning curve associated with college?
To make matters worse, schools are often nationally ranked based on how many students they have in AP classes, so there's no reason to make a change if the AP classes don't work. But, if they didn't work, wouldn't it show up on the AP test? There are very few AP tests that require actual analytical and thinking skills and, as a teacher, to teach your class for the sole goal of taking one objective exam isn't difficult.
So, what do you think about this? Do you accept my premise? Do you think that high school prepared you enough for the kind of work you did/do in college?