College Board Says, 'Arrivederci, AP Italian'

Italian-American group falls short of raising enough money to save the Advanced Placement course.

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Arrivederci, Advanced Placement Italian. College Board officials announced this week that the AP Italian course and test won't be offered in the 2009-10 academic year. Poor enrollment and a lack of funds are the main reasons officials cited.

The Italian Language Foundation, a group of prominent Italian-Americans formed in the spring to save the program, said it was disappointed. Margaret Cuomo, daughter of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, headed the foundation, which raised more than $650,000 in pledges and commitments. But those pledges were based on the Italian government making a financial contribution, which the foundation was not able to secure.

Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board, which owns the AP program, called the foundation's fundraising a "heroic effort" and left open the possibility of bringing back Italian if the economic situation improves. The College Board sent letters to school districts notifying them about the program's cancellation.

Last April, College Board officials announced plans to discontinue the AP Italian program unless outside groups agreed to raise money. With only 2,000 students taking the test, Italian was the least popular AP course.

Other tests and courses that will be discontinued next year are French and Latin literature and computer science. The last tests for those courses will be offered in May.

Corrected on 01/09/2009: A previous version of this article misstated the amount the Italian Language Foundation raised in pledges and commitments.

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