Thanks for your excellent post. You expressed ideas I hear on a regular basis from my students. It is really a shame when teachers, at any level, sell their students short by assuming they don't have the ability to do more. I am a product of a school system that had high standards and assessment, otherwise I would have barely graduated high school.
It is interesting to hear the prospective of a college student in the ap-group. After all, one important goal is to train students for college.
Good luck in your career.
Get ready for the onslaught - or maybe not - this morning all is quiet on the western front and the eastern one too.