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Re: “IB program a worthy investment” by Bobi Gregory, Tuesday:
Ms. Gregory defends the Wilson County Schools International Baccalaureate program by extolling its academic virtues and citing her personal experience. The IB program is currently at all three high schools for a total outlay of $45,000 per year plus testing expenses. Next year it will be only at Fike, thus reducing costs. Nevertheless, in these times of financial duress, can even that be justified when seen in light of the meager number of students involved?
No evidence was provided to show the superiority of IB to the more established and widely accepted Advanced Placement program. Contrary to “dumping students into AP,” the system would be redirecting funding toward a program that is, at the least, comparable in academic rigor to IB and more economical.
A telling statement in Ms. Gregory’s letter is “Many of these parents don’t know how to raise these children,” referring to children who are special, gifted or otherwise. That statement is elitist explaining Ms. Gregory’s support for such an exclusive program. Elite in that it was established for the children of diplomats posted abroad to ensure even quality in educational opportunities. Also elite as the initial founders were members of the the UN with deep communist roots and empathy for socialist ideologies. And now elite because the cost makes it prohibitive for some systems to affiliate.
It appears that my original assertion that only a few students are the beneficiaries of this expensive program was correct as the writer can cite just one example of an art student who was influenced by the IB art program. So we can look at a dozen years of outlandish spending, looks like about $500,000 so far, and have one student who benefited. It does not seem like a good return on investment to my humble ex-educator way of viewing how we should direct our funds in a fiscally responsible manner.
Ms. Gregory, I encourage you to stop looking at educational funding through rose-colored glasses and remember that school funding comes from taxpayers who deserve the most bang for the buck. By dropping IB and shifting focus to AP, this will be accomplished.