On Tuesday, March 5, nineteen LHS Advanced Placement students travelled to Boston, along with English teachers Christopher Rea and Charlie Cangemi, and lobbied legislators to support two bills regarding the access and credit of AP classes. Joining Ludlow was Agawam, Ayer-Shirley, Everett, and Springfield schools.
It is clear that these AP classes have benefitted many students and propelled them closer to their plans when heading to college. However, the College Board has addressed some issues regarding these courses that the students were able to discuss with the legislators.
One of the bills would support funding for AP exams for low-income students and ensure that the budget would allow this to be affordable for all students for many years to come. Many students choose not to take AP courses because of the cost of the exams, which totals up to almost $100 per exam. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education did not set aside enough funds to cover all of the low-income students’ exams this year, and we are hoping for a change soon.
The second bill aims to establish a set policy regarding the awarding of AP credit. Hard-working students that receive a score of 3 or higher on the AP exam are able to receive college credit that can potentially add a minor or another major, and even graduate early. This can become more of a possibility with a strong and defined AP credit policy.
The day began with a breakfast at Suffolk University, where students and teachers alike mingled and were prepped for their respective legislative meetings. At 9:15, we left the university and headed to the Massachusetts State Capitol building, where the Ludlow juniors and seniors split up and each spoke to a senator, addressing the AP bills. The seniors spoke to Senator Jo Comerford, and the juniors spoke with a representative for Senator James Welch.
At 11:00, all of the students attending got to meet the Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. She was warm and welcoming, and encouraged us to continue to make a difference however we can. We then proceeded to the next legislative meeting; the seniors talked with Rep. Steven Howitt, and the juniors addressed a representative for Senator Eric Lesser. In between meetings, the students were able to enjoy the beautiful architecture of the Capitol Building and even witness part of a hearing. In addition, LHS Jennifer Kania was interviewed for 22 News and discussed the importance of this AP Day and the changes that need to be made.
Junior Genivieve Bailey-Hanson, who attended the trip, says: “I’m happy I was was able to go to Boston because it allowed me to see just how many other AP students there really are. It also gave my peers and I a chance to meet and talk with politicians we often hear about.”
A successful day all around, both students and teachers alike are proud to have taken part in such an important event for the future of Advanced Placement classes and their role in the American school system.