All Federal Way students in grades 6-12 who meet Washington’s state standards are automatically enrolled in accelerated classes, including demanding Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Cambridge classes, reports the Huffington Post.
Some 80 percent of the district’s students pass state exams, which suggests it’s not a high bar. Only 30 percent were signing up for advanced programs, which include pre-AP and pre-IB courses for middle-school students.
Enrollment in advanced courses increased by 70 percent this year. The most demanding classes no longer are primarily white and Asian-American.
Students can opt out of advanced classes with parental permission. Michael Scuderi, father of a senior at Thomas Jefferson High, which offers IB, says many students aren’t prepared.
“We’ve heard stories of kids that have dropped out of the program, and they’re crushed,” said Scuderi. “Students weren’t told ahead of time everything they were getting themselves into.”
Of 274 11th graders at Thomas Jefferson High automatically enrolled in IB, 43 have dropped at least one course. However, 94 percent of students in advanced classes are passing with a C or better, the district says. Results from AP, IB and Cambridge exams aren’t known yet.