What a concept: Raise the bar and students do better:

Last year, Bell Multicultural became the first public high school in the Washington area to require all students to take college-level AP courses and exams. The mandate is all the more remarkable because its two required AP courses are both in English, and most of Bell’s students are, like Ventura, from low-income families in which English is not the first language…

They might struggle on the AP exams, the Bell educators say, but they learn more critical reading and writing skills than they would from the remedial classes such students usually get. At Bell, the students and their families heartily endorse this view, saying the demands of AP have made them feel better prepared for the next stage of their lives.

“I really think it is a great opportunity for people like me,” Ventura said. “I feel proud of myself, and I thank all my teachers.”

Maybe when the final FY08 financial report for Loudoun County Public Schools is released, and we get to find out exactly how much Loudoun’s mushrooming ESL boondoggle currently costs, there will begin some public sentiment to revisit the issue.