I'm with you on this one, Val.

You wouldn't think it would come up in exactly that way for us, as we've homeschooled, but a surprising number of homeschoolers in our area seek out homeschool co-op AP courses, which has always puzzled me, since dual enrollment availability (all CCs and some four-years) and cost is quite favorable in our area (all high schoolers, regardless of schooling setting, can enroll for credit as long as they place into the course, and have approval of the home district--pretty much a shoo-in for homeschoolers). And the state higher ed agency has mandated that all CCs and state unis have clearly posted articulation agreements, spelling out which courses are freely transferable, so you know right up front if a given course is going to have any value at a four-year.

If AP is supposed to be equivalent to the first college-level course in that subject, it makes a whole lot more sense to set up articulation agreements, and have have qualified high school students just take the actual college course. If you feel like bumping up your AP examinee and score numbers (a metric for district achievement in many state education agencies), then have them take the college course in the fall, and sit the AP exam in the spring. I'd be surprised if students who passed the college course did poorly on the exam.

As it happens, the institution where I am employed does both: some AP courses are offered, as well as opportunities for high-achieving students to enroll in DE, with our first cohort currently working on graduating from high school with an AA at public expense. We're not by any means the typical high-achieving school, either. Many of our students are first-generation college students (now), and/or would have struggled to fund the AA after high school graduation--and they certainly wouldn't have had as much support as we are able to provide while they are dual enrolled.
...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...