AP Disparity in The Milwaukee Area

How does the Milwaukee area measure up when it comes to African-Americanand Latino access to Advanced Placement (AP) courses?

While comprehensive figures are not available, a snapshot look at several schools provides a glimpse of the disparities.

At Brookfield East High School, for example, none of the school’s 78 African-American students are enrolled in any of the school’s six AP classes.

According to school officials, there are 215 “slots” in the AP courses this fall. Some students may take more than one AP course. Overall,186 AP slots are filled by white students (or 86%), 27 by Asian (13%), and two by Latinos.

Brookfield East, with a total enrollment of 1,282 students, is 88% white (1,131 students), 6% African American (78 students), and 5% Asian (60 students). There are also 11 Latino students and two students classified as “other.”

At Brookfield Central High School, which tallies the number of different students taking AP courses (not just the number of slots), there are 95 students enrolled in at least one of the school’s seven AP courses this fall. Only three of the school’s 54 African-Americans are taking an AP course, according to school officials. Of the students taking AP courses, 82 are white (86%), nine are Asian (9%), three are African-American (3%) and one is Latino. The school, with a total enrollment of 1,309 students, is 88% white (1,157 students), 6% Asian (73 students), 5% African American (54 students), 2% Latino (24 students) and there is one Native American.

Within the Milwaukee Public Schools, some 953 AP exams were completed in 1998. Of those, 497 whites completed the exams (or 52% of the total), 145 African Americans (15%), 112 Latinos (12%), 108 Asians (11%), 15 Native Americans (2%), and 76 “other” (8%). Overall, the district is approximately 61% African-American, 18% white, 13% Latino, 5% Asian, 1% Native American, and 1.6% “other.”