This is the second article in a three-part series that looks at why AP classes aren’t offered to all students, the barriers to being able to take an AP class, and, in the end, who benefits from these classes and tests.

Amir Cannon struggled taking International Baccalaureate classes, a rigorous option similar to the College Board’s Advanced Placement program, in their junior and senior year of high school. The program, Cannon explained, treats students like a “monolithic body” with a “blanketed curriculum” instead of navigating different learning styles and helping to support everyone.

“The IB program disregards such diversity in learning solely to focus on prestige, elite, and white academic goals for each of the students,” Cannon, now 29, wrote in a class assignment at Metropolitan State University. However, they highlighted that the program has tools to address the biases “and ensure Black students like myself receive an equitable education that supports our success.”

Without the coursework being personal to Cannon’s experiences, aspirations, and learning style, it was difficult to succeed.

Was I challenged? Yes, but it was at the expense of feeling othered, ostracized, and marginalized among what I considered the ‘smart kids’

-AMIR CANNON, METROPOLITAN STATE UNIVERSITY STUDENT

“I felt disconnected not just from the curriculum, but the entirety of the IB program,” Cannon, an individualized studies major focusing on equitable economic and community development, wrote. “Was I challenged? Yes, but it was at the expense of feeling othered, ostracized, and marginalized among what I considered the ‘smart kids,’ who were predominantly white, in the IB program.”

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