AP and IB: High Level Learning Lacks Diversity


Dennis Racket

Cause for Consideration: While North Atlanta as a whole has great diversity, the IB and AP programs are lacking in terms of representation of a large portion of the student population.

As an Atlanta public school, one of North Atlanta’s most attractive qualities is its abundance of diversity. Going to a school that bolsters you into the real world is important to development and social interaction. Statistics show that North has a 1:1:1 divide in racial demographic, meaning that the school is one third white, black, and hispanic, but, this statistic seems to fall by the wayside when regarding the AP and IB programs. 

Some people affiliated with North are concerned that students of color are not encouraged to participate in higher level courses. This leads to those same students feeling unheard, and moreover, weakened. “I see this as a big issue,” said AP teacher Dandra McPhail, “Students are afraid to be the only person of their demographic in my classroom, and they have a lowered confidence level because of it. It hurts to see, but I understand how hard it is.” 

One specific student is all too familiar with the hardship of being uniquely black in their classes. Senior Drew Barber, as Mr. North Atlanta, is taking initiative to address the noticeable separation within our classes. “I tend to feel a lot of pressure to succeed when it comes to my grades and GPA just because I know that being one of the only black guys holds a lot of responsibility.” He said, “I feel as though I bear the burden of my entire community.”

Barber puts emphasis on how significant his upbringing has been on his personal identity, especially when concerning his race. Accepting yourself is a big step when trying to flourish in an academic setting, but this has been no simple task for Barber to bear. “I feel like a weight, drowning, in a room of clouds. It is hard to describe.” 

Change within the walls of North Atlanta is one of the attributes that bolsters our school above others. Progression is imminent, and scholars like Barber are pushing this movement forward, step by step. “By informing these students of the exigence of what AP and IB classes can do for them in the future, and mentioning the misrepresentation of minorities in these classes, without a doubt these students will be eager to get involved in these courses,” said Barber. 

The promotion of diversity in our schools is vital.