There is a growing trend to create opportunities for high school students to begin earning college credits.

Having secondary schools expand offerings like Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and dual enrollment courses has many advantages. Such offerings push high performing students to reach their full potential and engage students longing for greater challenges. They help other students find skills they didn’t realize they had and create a culture focused on postsecondary success. And they allow students to start college with credits in hand, allowing them to save on college costs or attempt more ambitious courses of study.

But there is one big problem. Not all schools have the same access to such opportunities.

That creates an educational disadvantage for rural and low-income school districts and the students who attend them.

Whether it is the result of limited resources, small numbers of students or difficulties in recruiting high quality teachers, it is much more difficult for those schools to offer Advanced Placement courses and other specialized programs.

Enter the Global Teaching Project. The initiative has a simple mission – to provide a platform for great teachers from great schools around the world to bring high-level instruction to students everywhere. It uses internet technology to bring instruction from Ivy League professors to high school students across the country and the world.

Last school year, the Global Teaching Project partnered with the Mississippi Public School Consortium for Educational Access to launch a pilot program to teach Advanced Placement subject matter in select rural and low-income Mississippi school districts that did not previously offer the courses.

This summer, students in the program’s second year gathered at camps at Mississippi State and the University of Mississippi to prepare for the AP Physics I course they will take in the fall. Last week, 33 high school students from seven Mississippi school districts listened as Yale University physics professor Meg Urry taught over video conference.

When the school year starts, students will continue to take lectures from Urry. In addition, a teacher from their high school will help navigate the curriculum, and tutors who are physics majors at schools like Yale, Stanford and the University of Virginia will be available to help students through concepts, as reported by the Daily Journal’s Dillon Mullan.

Last school year, GTP increased the number of public schools in Mississippi that offer AP Physics by 30 percent. In many cases, the GTP program is the only AP class offered at the high school.

More than 60 percent of U.S. students who demonstrate “high potential for success in Advanced Placement science coursework” are not participating in any AP science courses, according to statistics on the GTP website.

Decreasing that number is imperative to the nation’s future. And making sure more rural and low-income students have access to the most rigorous college-prep coursework is critical to Mississippi’s future.

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