Some criticize end of online AP program in rural state

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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - The end of Maine's online Advanced Placement program is drawing criticism from some students and families in the largely rural state.

Education officials said Tuesday the program's contract ends in June. The state would have to find room in the budget to continue the $150,000-a-year program, which was previously funded by a statewide laptop initiative.

Several parents argue the program benefits high-performing students seeking a leg up in competitive college admissions with free, rigorous courses their schools don't offer.

But education officials question the program's effectiveness.

Roughly 390 students signed up for the program in the 2017-2018 year, with half completing Advanced Placement courses.

Education Commissioner Pender Makin said students can instead take online early college courses through public universities.

She said investing in such efforts helps more students overall.