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I was amused by discussion about the state’s Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate standards. Neither the editorial nor the professors’ response addresses what matters most here: cash.

How much money does each academic department rake in through courses that could be replaced by AP or IB tests? On its Seattle campus, the University of Washington is offering 43 sections of English 131 this fall. That’s a hefty chunk of change that the English Department would not recoup through a course about Shakespeare or even the latest fads in gender studies.

That said, if the state wants to require colleges to accept AP credits it needs to ensure that AP courses teach something worthwhile. In four years teaching at UW, I’ve had numerous students who boasted AP credit but could not write a coherent sentence. Our esteemed professors must come up with a better response than asserting the individuality of basic subjects. Such claims certainly hold in more advanced coursework, but they shouldn’t act so surprised when the public responds by invoking Cicero’s famous dictum and asks “to whose benefit?”

Josh Eskew, Seattle

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