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He set up and taught after-school Bible classes, preparing his students for missions, once they turned 19, to bring the Book of Mormon to the world.
His father, Rand, worked for the Church Educational System of the Mormon Church.And earlier this year, seven Washington-area prep schools said they would be eliminating AP courses from their curriculums.Some might see these moves as a threat to AP’s foothold, but so far they’ve had little effect on the program’s continuing growth.Thirty years later, due to a string of unlikely events, Packer is national director of the AP program and determined to make its fruits accessible to kids from modest backgrounds like his own. He is also — along with the late Jaime Escalante, the East Los Angeles math teacher who was the subject of the 1988 film “Stand and Deliver” — the man most responsible for making the Advanced Placement program the most powerful educational tool in the country.A scholarly, mild-mannered 48-year-old, Packer is pretty much unknown outside the world of AP. And his leadership is a critical factor at a time when AP is both undergoing rapid expansion and facing criticism and nascent challenges.“When I started as head of AP in 2003, one in 10 kids in AP classrooms were low-income,” he says. The portion of low-income test takers increased from 9 percent to 22 percent.Often, the addition of so many impoverished participants causes average standardized test scores to drop, but the average AP score has remained fairly stable and was higher in 2018 than it was a decade ago, when more than 1 million fewer students took the tests.He has a longtime girlfriend but has never married and has no children, although he does have 23 nieces and nephews.He is an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving as Sunday school teacher at his congregation in Manhattan.But some educators at private institutions think that a program this popular can’t be right for their students.In 2013, Dartmouth College announced that it would no longer give incoming students credit toward graduation for high school AP courses.