IB program a worthy investment

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Re: “Schools’ IB program an expensive failure,” by Julia Yancey, Jan. 25:

Oh, Ms. Yancey. You do not know what you are talking about in your letter about the IB program. How does a knowledgeable school system educate genius in different areas without ruining their potential if their gifts aren’t challenged?

You were right to end your letter with the advice to “make an informed decision as to what is best for your child.”

Here’s the problem. You were a teacher like I was. Your task was to educate all students who entered your classroom. You should acknowledge that there were problems in the classroom because of the diversity of learning levels present.

If you read books, watch shows and movies of parents of “special,” handicapped, slow, terminally ill children; troublemakers (who are sometimes bored geniuses), intelligent and gifted children, you will see the challenges parents through on their journeys. Many of these parents don’t really know how to raise these children. That’s where the school or school system and programs like Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate come in.

I fear you sound like a raving person who has no understanding of the complexities of the job teachers have when you rail against the IB program. You were a teacher. That should inform your perspective that it is not a black and white issue.

Most of us parents have average/normal (relative terms) children. School systems have to fight to keep students on track by actually challenging them. What you suggest is to get rid of the IB program and apparently dump those students into AP courses. You call it an “elite program” that “benefits…few students at considerable costs…with dubious benefits.”

You are familiar with the IB program because it appeared “with much fanfare” shortly before you left your final school. You do not know the firsthand benefits for the IB students. I was an IB art teacher at my final school Beddingfield High.

I actually delayed my retirement by one year for one student. It was one brilliant young woman so talented in the visual, textile and native arts, that she excelled at N.C. State in textiles. She currently teaches women in “third-world” villages how to make clothing, baskets and other native textiles that will allow them to make a living for themselves and their families. This will, in turn, enrich their local economies and will help the world economy, including our own here. It’s the butterfly effect.

Ms. Yancey, I would encourage you to learn more about the IB program before you condemn it. You may find that the investment made in it is well beyond worth it. I would encourage anyone who feels that it is not helpful to end this wonderful IB program to attend the next school board meeting at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19 to pledge your support for this and all programs that seek to challenge students at their level and help them succeed in school, as well as our community.

Bobi Gregory