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« The Year in Review | Main | Asymmetric Warfare or Mirror Image? »

January 01, 2007


I don't suppose they've decided to cut athletic programs? My impression is that whenever schools have to make cuts for budgetary reasons -- or here for purported budgetary reasons -- they cut academics first. Certainly the arts are less important than a football team, and often the "real" subjects as well (such as would seem to be the case here).

Ding,ding,ding.... You're right, Joe- athletics is not on the list of items to be cut- in fact, one of the current BM ran on a platform a few years back of bringing back rationality to the sports decision making process after a popular but controversial coach was summarily dismissed. Sports ranks right up there with the holies for him and many others here. High school football (USC had a great year) is definitely a religion of its own (one which is a mystery to me, I might add, not having a single sporting bone in my body ;)

Can you tell us anything specific that the BM feels is anti-Judeo-Christian in the IB program? Or is it just the "international" part that bothers these super patriots?

Unlike Sujatha, I am actually quite fond of sports and consider athletics an integral part of a well rounded education. But what I DON'T get is the elevated position of high school / college football in the minds of surrounding communities. Just as Sujatha says, it is almost "holy" and "all American" in its aura. It is disgusting to see school districts cutting art, music and occasionally academic subjects to trim budget while athletic programs (mostly football) is never lacking in pork.

I spoke about my volunteer activities a couple of posts ago. I did not particularly care to volunteer in the schools because I felt that my kids already saw enough of me without me hovering around them during school hours. But as one of the few stay at home moms, I regularly got called in to help. I usually declined anything that had to do with my being present in the classrooms of my children, preferring to help in the library, office or on occasional field trips. The only time I accepted a class room volunteer activity was when my son was in the third grade and the schools had just cut all regular music and art classes. To make up for that, they came up with a program called "Picture Lady." Under this arrangement, volunteer mothers were sought to expose the children to art once a month for an hour. I volunteered with a few friends. Every month, we introduced the kids to one artist or one art form. We brought books, prints, posters of the relevant art work and spoke briefly about the history/ biograpy/ technique of the art and the artist. We examined styles, color choices etc. After the presentation, the entire group including teachers, students and the Picture Ladies attempted to make a piece of painting to resemble whatever we had just studied. I remember covering Picasso, Klee, Mondrian, Monet, Seurat, Egyptian tomb and Indian miniature paintings among others. The children's imitation/ interpretation were sometimes amazing. They eagerly looked forward to this meager art class once a month.

I looked around for any further mentions of the 'anti(less Judeo and more Christian)' bias that the SB directors were complaining about. Beyond Dr.Iracki's assertion that "Our country was founded on Judeo-Christian values and we have to be careful about what values our children are taught.", the other directors have been more focussed against the 'anti-American' part. They have been taking their stance, words and opinions from websites like, and are in fact purveying the same on their website called,backed by a small chorus of like-minded people in the township.
While they haven't started cutting the arts and music syllabus (interesting how they did it in your son's school), they have been cutting back on resources for technology(computer labs and aides) and the like. They have effectively cancelled a much-lauded Natural Helpers survey for HS students that had a few sexuality related questions, based on the complaints of just a few parents, by changing the parental consent policy to more restrictive terms. They have been looking into outsourcing the school-owned and maintained fleet of buses (and yes, one of the companies that could benefit is headed by a close friend of one of the BM). Typical small-town shenanigans, injecting division into the atmosphere,with special group after group scrambling to protect their interests. If any good has come of this, I will say that it has been the heightened awareness of how vulnerable a community can be to the FOXNews-fed rantings of a few voices.

As usual, we have yet another one-sided view of reality propagated by a small group of malcontents whose motivations are solely political. When you look at the facts, what you will find is a group of liberal thinkers who are quite upset over losing control of the school district in November 2005. Upper St. Clair is a Republican community to be sure, but conservatives haven’t controlled the political landscape for years. The leadership of the school district for some time has been liberal, from Dr. Pope to Dr. Lombardo (an outspoken critic of President Bush and all things conservative) who left the district because he got caught with his hands in the proverbial cookie jar---he actively worked against the school board majority in a lawsuit by the ACLU over IB.
This isn’t about which side is better---it’s about which side has power.
Which brings us to another point. I couldn’t say any of this on the supposedly free marketplace of opinion—the WAVES forum—because negative comments quickly disappear there. If you don’t tow the line, they investigate and castigate the messenger. Comments disappear regularly, well, not the ones where they lament they are victims of the evil Republican party, or victims of religious persecution, or victims of the evil BM.It’s almost comical—where do they find the time to opine about all the persecution they’ve had to endure? Do they think USC is a concentration camp?
And another thing these victims forget to mention—WAVES minions have sent BM members anonymous death threats, disrupted public meetings, started rumors, threatened businesses with boycotts and investigations, disturbed the peace, erected signs. All this from the victims.
Which brings us round to IB. Like Alice’s Restaurant, this is a story about IB. It just takes awhile to get there. And through all this nonsense, we really don’t know whether IB is the best thing for USC. Oh sure—the WAVERS think it is. But there are 20,000 people in USC. I don’t think the core WAVE posse of 50 is reflective of the entire community.
Anyway, I’d like to know more about IB other than some parents like it, or some kids cry at meetings if we take it away. The adults need to look at this. I want to know why IB is better than AP. I want to know why many colleges don’t give credit for IB except for the advanced IB courses. I want to know why public money is paying for the program and not the parents who support it. I mean, if all 20,000 USC residents are paying for IB, I think all 20,000 residents should weigh in on it. USC is a democratic republic, after all.

(Edited for length)

'Sadie Mae Glutz', you claim to have quite intimate knowledge of the workings of WAVES. Could you give your actual identity instead of hiding behind the pseudonym, if you wish to continue this conversation.

Thank you,

'Upper St. Clair is a Republican community to be sure, but conservatives haven’t controlled the political landscape for years.'- Do you care to back up this claim? I, for one, have never seen any evidence of Democratic existence in the community, beyond the few desultory signs that pop up during election time. On first moving into this community, I noted that only the USC Republican Committee had a link on the Township website, there was none for the Democratic party, and realized that it was pretty much non-existent. That of course has now been remedied after the recent elections.
Dr.Lombardo didn't 'actively work' against the BM- He merely deposed under oath the truth of the matter regarding emails he had received and sent from the BM regarding the IB issue. That isn't called being 'caught with hands in cookie jar'- that's called being truthful to yourself and maintaining your integrity- a quality much to be prized in any person, let alone a school super.
"I couldn’t say any of this on the supposedly free marketplace of opinion—the WAVES forum—because negative comments quickly disappear there." - You claim that negative comments quickly disappear there, but I've not seen any vanishing beyond those with ad hominem attacks on people, which isn't a WAVES value, despite what you may think.
"where do they find the time to opine about all the persecution they’ve had to endure? "- You, sir, have found the time to compose this long piece and post it on a relatively small-readership blog. "Pot, meet Kettle"
'WAVES minions have sent BM members anonymous death threats, disrupted public meetings, started rumors, threatened businesses with boycotts and investigations, disturbed the peace, erected signs.'- How about the threats of violence that WAVES members and early frequenters of the Google newsgroup had to deal with. We have had our share of those, and even before the BM. It's just that we decided to take it the police rather than blare it out as a propaganda point, as the BM have done.
As far as waving signs and erecting them, such protest is part of your and my constitutional right to freedom of expression. Just as you are expressing your views in your comment. I can think of many places in the world where such sign-waving and protest is muzzled (marxist Russia, for instance, in another era). Presumably, you would love to see everyone conform to the mold of kowtowing to the powers that be- well, we may well be edging to a de facto dictatorship, where criticism of the rulers is not tolerated. Your points decrying the protests are typical of those made by paid propaganda shills.
"I’d like to know more about IB other than some parents like it, or some kids cry at meetings if we take it away. "- Read the and the websites to figure out why IB is valued, not just the highly biased writings at edwatch and responsible-ed. That is, if you truly care to be informed. Otherwise, you may continue with your usual program.

Dr. T, why do you continually pit IB against AP? Is there only room for one choice? And now you'd like all 20,000 residents to comment. hmmm... Will you be suggesting these ideas hold true for everything in the schools.
Is there only room for one athletic option or one arts option? Are you going to spark a debate pitting baseball against swimming? There are certainly costs associated with both of these programs which all 20,000 residents pay for through their taxes. I guess they should all weigh in.

Maybe you will stand for baseball, feeling that is exercise enough and challenge enough for all kids. By having more swimming as an option, we actually have fewer kids in baseball. Might you argue swimming is irrelevant and unpopular? You could suggest the swimming parents pay for the cost of this redundant athletic program including the large cost to maintain the pool.
The notion of pitting athletic programs against each other is very much parallel with that of pitting academic programs against one another. We all see that the athletic argument is rediculous... Why can't you see the rediculousness of the academic argument?

And who is Sadie Mae? Why, he sure sounds a lot like Dr. Mark Trombetta, a school director in Upper St. Clair, PA. Now that's someone who seems to have a lot of time on his hands! This school director (who loves Reagan so much that he attempted to name a high school theater auditorium after him) is among those who orchestrated the elimination of IB and was mortally offended that he was sued by ACLU. Now that he is up for re-election, Trombetta would like to believe that there are only 50 of us. Well, he is in for a surprise. Attacking Dr. Lombardo, a man of utmost integrity bullied away by the school board, and dismissing the opinions of a substantial group of citizens disgusted by the board majority's actions, will certainly not help this arrogant man to win the election. People will not be fooled again.

I am so tired of hearing that the reason over 1000 people spontaneously assembled to voice their support of the IB program in USC and their disapproval of the Board's hasty decision to cancel the program was because we wanted to overturn an election. That is absolute nonsense. The vast majority of the supporters of IB, support IB because we believe that is has educational value for our children.

Am I the only one who finds humor in the alias chosen by our WAVES dissenter?

Sadie Mae Glutz was the alias for Susan Atkins, who is considered a puppet controlled by the ultimate cult of personality, Charlie Manson.

Sadie Mae was brainwashed by Charlie Manson and obeyed the orders to kill Sharon Tate.

Who or what has brainwashed our own "homegrown" Sadie Mae to "kill" IB? Who's pulling the strings to this puppet?

The Mansonian reference didn't go unnoticed- that's why I ID'ed SMG as a male of a certain age ( if you notice that I addressed him as 'sir' in my reply). I think it highly unlikely that a woman commenter would have picked a reference to a brainwashed murderer as a pseudonym. Their taste runs more to obscure imDB actresses and marathon runner lists. ;)

Sadie, when you say Lombardo actively worked against the school directors? You mean he was deposed and told the truth. You really are a Conservative without a Conscience.
(By the way, George Washington was a freemason )

One pill makes you larger, one pill makes you small
The ones that mother gives you don’t do anything at all
Go ask Alice, when she’s 10 feet tall
-Grace Slick

How very very interesting that over half my original post was “edited for length,” yet posts in response appear to be longer than that….hmmmm. Some people get edited here, just like they do on WAVES. Imagine that. The meaning changes at the behest of the censorer.
Moby Grape (Bill Graham’s Fillmore West connection right here in USC) opines about poor Sadie Mae. Ignorant as the rest, Mike doesn’t even know that Sadie didn’t do it. Tex did. Please, I beg you, do some research before you yap your trap and say something stupid. There's yet another drama king talking about G. Washington being a freemason (who cares), and of conservatives being evil. Too many drama kings and queens in here. It's the inquisition all over again. How DARE anyone speak without our advance permission!
You liberals are just plain angry all the time. You need to chill, take a pill, have a drink, face reality. You are over age 40. Act like it. The world doesn't begin and end at your crib. Just because you want it, doesn't mean everyone else does.
It’s all about May 07. You want the power. Politics is power, nothing more. The majority of USC be damned. A 1,000 people go to a meeting (maybe... the auditorium holds 750), how many were PTA, how many were students, how many were USC Demoncats? You need to get John "inagaddadavida" Kerry to be a spokesman. Or Al Gorelioni. Let these wisemen speak for the liberal mob. Hurry, it's getting warmer outside! Keep driving your SUVs! Get a direct flight to LA just for yourself, and burn more of that that jet fuel! Sue U.S. Airways! Eliminate school boards! If they don't agree with you, they're evil anyway! Yay!

Dear Mr. Driftwood (your real name this time, I presume),

Speak away fearlessly but try to be substantive. Although you talk a lot and do so quite colorfully (Grace Slick, huh?), you end up "saying" very little. Much in your last comment is irrelevant personal attack on liberals and USC WAVE members.

Perhaps that is why Sujatha edited you. I happened to read your original comment before the edit. You exaggerate massively when you say that "more than half" of your comment was edited. Most of it appeared here. You do like hyperbole, don't you? Perhaps she didn't edit it so much for "length" as for "sense!"

I don't personally have a horse in the USC / IB race. But I am afraid of fundamentalist / fascist creep ups in our educational and social fronts if we don't watch and challenge such trends. That is exactly what has been happening for the last few years. Under the leadership of George W. Bush, the obscurantists have been emboldened to unload their extremist agenda on the rest of us.

You are welcome to argue on substance but please keep the ad hominems in check. You are doing fine so far but if you go too much beyond Drama King/ Queen or "Yap your Trap," I will ban you.

It has been fun to have part of this debate on our site. I hope that those who came in because of Sujatha's post will browse our blog. Perhaps there is something of interest here for everyone, Sadie Mae Driftwood included.

Actually, Mr.Whoever, my response to your post would have about equalled the edited comment, if I hadn't filled my post with direct quotes from yours, in a point-by-point response. I see no other cases of comments exceeding the length of your own.

Otis my man!

Thanks for making me laugh! Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously. Although you know we don't take you seriously. I just hope your "research" on IB isn't as faulty as your reseach on Manson. Ms. Atkins was convicted on seven counts of first degree murder (although I must admit it might've been a liberal judge).

By the way, I'd watch myself with Sadie Mae if I were you, rumor has it she was "reportedly kicked out of the family for a while, and was often blamed for getting the family contracted with the clap."

Otis B. Driftwood, Night at the Opera

Blogger's Note: This comment has been modified by Ruchira Paul

What we’ve got here is…failure to communicate.
Or more precisely, failure to listen before offering knee-jerk emotional comments which fail to reflect any sensible thought pattern. Like a benevolent old sage, I am confounded by the illogical positions, yet continue to try to enlighten the naysayers, however difficult that may be. Because children often are fickle creatures not given to highly-evolved reasoning ability. I expect the quest for true knowledge is a learned trait.
Moby Grape says no one is taking me “seriously.” I don’t recall asking him or anyone else to take me seriously. And if the best he can come up with in reply, is to infer I have some type of venereal disease, well friends, it means your cause is already lost. Go back to reading Jimmy Carter.
I also find it fascinating that after 1.5 posts here, there is a tacit threat that I “will be banned” for saying any more than “Yap your trap,” or “drama King/queen,” yet others here can infer I have VD and it goes unnoticed.
By way of illustration, since Moby Grape has invoked Sadie’s illustrious past and compares it to “IB research,” I must once again correct misinformation. Mike said “Sadie Mae was brainwashed by Charlie Manson and obeyed the orders to kill Sharon Tate.”
Not true. Sadie did not kill Sharon. Tex did.
Then the follow up, without bothering to check the facts: "I just hope your "research" on IB isn't as faulty as your reseach on Manson. Ms. Atkins was convicted on seven counts of first degree murder (although I must admit it might've been a liberal judge)."
Again, faulty conclusion. The IB supporters refuse to hear what they don’t want to hear. They don’t read or research what they don’t want to believe.
Whether Ms. Atkins was convicted or not, is not the issue. If we’ve learned anything from our legal system, simply because one is convicted or not, isn’t necessarily a reflection of guilt or innocence. To Wit: O.J. Simpson.
Mike, I hope your “research” on IB isn’t as faulty as YOUR impression of what really happened on Aug. 9, 1969.
Stick to topics you can debate. Don’t embarrass yourself any further. Seek knowledge, only then will you will find it.
Otis B. Driftwood

Point taken.

Mr. Grape's comment has been modified to remove any reference to Otis D. and STD.

Too much fancy writing without any substance. I don't know how the Manson family and OJ Simpson are wrapped up with a quiet suburban community, but I suspect maybe for smoke and mirrors.

Not true that IB supporters refuse to hear what they don't want to hear. Sujatha's link to USC-WAVES illuminates a wealth of information. Both sides of the issue have been considered, read, researched and looked at. Behind the smoke and mirrors lies the reality that the only places anti-IB sentiment is found, is on ultra-right wing websites such as EdWatch, out of Minnesota.
EdWatch was founded by a gentlemen with ten children, married to a woman who formerly ran a lesbian bookshop. Now the two, run an ultra-conservative website that advocates U.S. sovereignty, non-globalism, book banning, and more. It's easy to reject such garbage, and to embrace the reality that good academics are sadly lacking in the US educational system.

Otis my man(son scholar)!

Once again, thanks for the entertainment. You're truly the FedEx of chuckles, delivery guaranteed baby.

I find it amusing that you just can't let go of the "Tex did it" conspiracy theory. By shining the bright light of your helter skelter knowledge on the importance of who held the knife vs. who held Ms. Tate, you reveal that the metaphor went right over your head, much like those strings that keep tugging you about.

Hold on a sec, my knee's still jerking...

So sorry to hear you took the Sadie Mae/clap bit of research the wrong way. I had pointed it out since it's just another facet of your original namesake. And as that great liberal writer Kurt Vonnegut said, "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be." Quick, look up! There goes another one flying over your head as we speak.

Please post soon and shine your knowledge light above you this time so I can see who's pulling those strings.

Your pal, Moby

Silly, silly boy.
Your hopelessly ridiculous diatribes reveal the immaturity of youth and of a life not yet lived. I expect you'll be "still jerking" for many years to come. And then one day...
Perhaps we shall play a game. I will wait for you to grow. Until then, the adults are talking here. Go back to playing with Playstation 3, dreaming of lollipops, sugar plum fairies and dancing in Tom's midnight garden until the dew sets upon the blades. You'll have plenty of time to organize the bric a brac which constitutes all your thoughts and impotent articulations, sorting the dreams and wishes from reality. And this dear boy, shines a light on YOU for all to see. It's my gift to you. Remember ignorance can be an asset to those who lack knowledge. But at what cost?
Let the game begin.

Mark (for that is your real name, "Otis", isn't it?),

Why don't you STOP playing games? Why don't we return to the real issues at hand?
For example, could you please "enlighten" us with the main findings of your extensive "research" on IB and the reasons you think the program should be eliminated? Please indicate the sources (e.g. edwatch, ceopa, etc.) of this information. Thanks.

USC parent

There they go again.
They don’t read, then they proffer these inane leaps of logic that would make Steven Hawkings ask ‘what’s it all about? Did I miss something here? It’s beyond even my universe.’
Pretty please with a cherry on top: The Edwatch, Edwatch, Edwatch mantra is getting old. I’m tired of the old-fashioned bait and switch from the street corner hucksters. As in, let’s throw this polarizing “Edwatch” byte into the mixing bowl, and see if we can’t raise the fear level out there in the ether. It sounds like a manipulation, one that Joseph Goebbels himself would be proud of.
“The bigger the lie, the more people will believe it.”
I could care less about Edwatch. I don’t care what they have to say. Are you trying to infer that anyone who views the Edwatch home page becomes a Manchurian Candidate with a single-minded goal of destroying IB? Is there some sort of hypnotism link there that unwary maidens (or kingsmen) are powerless against? Do you believe the “ultra-right wing” is out to get you?
You need to cleanse yourself of the bogeyman (or woman) called Edwatch. It’s not in the closet, it’s not hiding under the bed. Besides, I don’t suspect the powers that be at Edwatch “have it in” for your “quiet suburban community.”
Regarding IB, the “Marxism” and “Judeo-Christian values” monikers are just noise. No reasonable person would actually believe that on a universal level.
But I have concerns about the value of IB as opposed to AP. When it comes to paying for college, AP offers a substantial return on investment.
Many colleges only provide credit for higher level IB courses and exams, while they provide credit for all AP courses/exams. Typical college admissions departments recognize a score of 3 or higher in awarding credit for AP exams. For IB though, a score of 5 or higher on IB examinations is required. If students in the IB program take the two or three high level IB courses required for the diploma, they may only receive two or three courses of college credits--at those colleges that only accept higher level IB courses, and do not accept any credit for standard level IB courses.
However, students in the AP program taking the required six AP courses, will receive up to 36 college credits. That’s a full year. That’s $20,000-$50,000. Now THAT is a return on an investment.
Also, not all students have an interest in taking the five years of a foreign language the IB degree requires.
Does this mean there aren’t colleges that give IB credit? No. But it surely means a student with an IB diploma has a LIMITED range of colleges to apply to, opposed to a student with an AP diploma, who has a WIDE range. And if my son or daughter can save up to $50,000 by taking the AP program, or take the IB programme hoping the investment will pay off, which way would I go? I’d go with the sure thing.
So then the question becomes, how far extended is USC for offering BOTH IB and AP? Costs to implement IB appear to be modest, but I think there’s a substantial investment of staff time in the program. That said, I see no reason why parents of children who participate shouldn’t pay a modest “per credit” fee, as it is abundantly clear few students complete the IB program.
And there’s this notion of unfairness by offering coursework to a small core of privileged students at the expense of others, particularly low-income children. The whole idea of the public “common school” was that ALL children have equal access to the same education in the state. But IB is only offered in a handful of schools in Pennsylvania. Isn’t that terribly unfair to poor students, from say Reading or Scranton who are barred from IB? Sure, that district COULD elect to have it, but that doesn’t change the inequity that exists right here and now. I believe AP is more universal state wide, even in poor areas.
Also, there’s been much talk about the president "supporting" IB. Indeed, U.S. Dept. of Education issued a $1.2 million grant to implement IB in 2004. So how much of that money is USC getting? With relatively few schools offering IB, the per-school figure should be rather high. Is it a revolving grant?
And finally, the district should also vigorously implement as much AP coursework as possible, so students can reap the high return on local investment when applying to the college of his or her choice.

An early jump on college is well worth a little stress in May
Tuesday, January 16, 2007

"But for many students, earning credits is not the whole point of AP and IB classes. The point is to get into college in the first place. We pack our schedules with APs and IBs mainly to impress admissions officers (and in many cases because we are also genuinely interested in the subject).

It has nothing to do with credit; high school students do not think that far ahead. Besides, we don't know if the college we'll attend will even accept our AP credit when we sign up for the classes. We're just trying to keep our schedules competitive in a pool of overachievers.

Parents, however, do not forget about the whole college credit part of AP and IB classes. In many cases, this may be a money issue: The $83 for an AP test or even the $200 for an IB test seems like nothing in comparison to the cost of a semester or
year of college we could skip with earned credits.

Many students don't like the idea of finishing college early, though; that would require us to leave the academic bubble and find some sort of direction for our lives a whole year or semester earlier, a thought none of us is too fond of. Besides, it means missing a whole year of college parties.

So if students have the financial means to stay in college for four years, they are probably going to want to do so, even with a semester or two's worth of credits from AP and IB tests."

Well, Mark, thanks for returning to the issue at hand.

First of all, IB students do NOT have a limited range of schools to apply to - I have yet to come across a college or university that does not consider IB to be AT LEAST as rigorous as AP if not more so. IB students DO get college credit, scholarships and even sophomore standing if their scores are sufficiently high (and keep in mind that 5 out of 7 on an IB test you quoted is comparable to 3 out of 5 on AP). So they do save a lot of money in college. For an extra insurance, students may take an AP test after completing an IB course, since they are more than well prepared for it.

But much more importantly, IB diploma students get an excellent overall advanced-level education that emphasizes interdisciplinary connections, inquiry-based approach, creativity and community service. You do not get this with AP even if you do take 6 AP classes, which relatively few students do, by the way.

Finally, do not forget about the IB certificate option and the primary and middle years programs that also provide a unique educational experience for the large number of students who participate in them. As many teachers will tell you, the whole district benefits from having the IB program and adopting its educational practices, so ultimately it is good for IB and non-IB students alike.

Okay, let's leave Edwatch out of the mix, and all the fancy language too.

The bottom line is this:

A. IB Diploma students MUST take the equivalent of 6 (six) AP classes, per year. Not all AP students take that many. IB Diploma students get a weighted GPA, but not for ALL the classes they take. If the school board directors were to change that situation, and add weight to ALL their classes, as many other high schools do, then maybe more kids would be interested. Also, IB Diploma students must take their written exams, whereas not all AP students take the exams, so AP credit isn't a sure bet either. Finally, many IB students also take AP exams, so in fact they have both AP credit and IB credit when applying to college.

B. The weighted GPA helps, although as it's implemented all the IB kids are short changed. Maybe the school board directors don't know. But, despite the fact that only 32 credits are weighted, IB kids do well enough to qualify for scholarships. So, maybe a college doesn't offer a full year of college credit, but instead offers a nice scholarship package, then IB does become a good investment, for the kids, for the families, and for the school district.

C. I believe there will be changes in the admissions offices in the near future: I believe more admissions offices will offer credit for IB classes. Also, although, anecdotal, I know plenty of parents whose kids took AP and didn't receive ANY credit.

D. In my view students should have four years in college. The point of a college prep program is exactly that: to prep for college, just as pricey prep schools offer a college prep program.

E. The colleges that have $50,000 per year tuition most likely don't offer credit for either AP or IB. But, they do offer academic scholarships, and if a parent has the means to send their kid to a top Ivy League college, then the admissions office wants to see that the kid took IB classes -- that's the way it's trending.

F. Whether or not kids are interested in taking foreign language, it's a good investment. It's one of the classes that students can opt out of. Oh, yes, students may not necessarily receive credit for IB, but they can OPT out of classes (depends on majors, etc.) which might give the student an edge when preparing for grad. school, law school, medical school, etc.

G. A "modest" per credit fee may not necessarily be a bad idea.

H. If the feds offer grants for IB, then USC should apply for funds. Why hasn't the school district done so? I'd be happy to research and help.

Thanks for finally coming up with some valid arguable points.

You state "However, students in the AP program taking the required six AP courses, will receive up to 36 college credits. That’s a full year. That’s $20,000-$50,000. Now THAT is a return on an investment."

The IB diploma can similarly receive upto 36 college credits, a full year of tuition saved. I fail to see why only AP is to be considered a 'return on investment' while IB is not.

For instance, the following quote from an IB diploma holder "In 1988, Brandeis University granted me one year worth of college credits (32 credits) for my IB diploma. I did physics, chemistry, mathematics, and economics at the higher level, and english, spanish, and further mathematics at the subsidiary level. I graduated three (as opposed to the usual four) years later (1991) with a BA"

Again, you state"And there’s this notion of unfairness by offering coursework to a small core of privileged students at the expense of others, particularly low-income children."

The IB classes at no point have any restrictions that would limit them only to a small core of privileged students. There isn't even a requirement that the student be identified as 'Gifted' - it is open to students of all calibres.

"Isn’t that terribly unfair to poor students, from say Reading or Scranton who are barred from IB?" - There's nothing to bar the poor students from Reading or Scranton (except perhaps the distances involved in getting them to and fro) if their school districts are willing to send them to USC. If I recall correctly, that's exactly what a neighboring school district did for an IB student of theirs, paying tuition to the USC school district.

As an analogy, just because USC offers a varied and vigorous sports program (which will aid only a fortunate few in getting sports scholarships to colleges/univs. of their choice), they are not narrowing focus on just one or two favored sports like football or basketball and pulling resources from other sports.
Similarly, it would be a mistake to pull out resources from IB and focus it entirely on AP, taking away the extra depth, self-inquiry and thinking that characterizes the IB teaching and learning, which is not replicated in AP.

For your further reading (other than the edwatch, ceopa and responsible-ed offerings, of course), I would highly recommend the following:

Link 1
Link 2
Link 4
Link 5

Wow, looks like it turned into a heated discussion!

Yes Joe, it is pretty amazing. Some strong opinions here. I guess the heated discussion is being fueled by the anti-IB gentleman, whom everyone seems to recognize but who for some weird reason, keeps appearing under pseudonyms invoking fabled cult killers.

I don't know if he's sending USC parents a sinister message or if it is his idea of wholesome fun. I am curious to see who he will be next - The Boston Strangler, Ted Bundy or O.J. May be none of these. Sadie May Glutz aka Otis B. Driftwood aka Captain Spaulding has a much more intimate knowledge of notorious killers than I do.

Regarding the following quote from Capt.Spaulding:
"And if my son or daughter can save up to $50,000 by taking the AP program, or take the IB programme hoping the investment will pay off, which way would I go? I’d go with the sure thing.I see no reason why parents of children who participate shouldn’t pay a modest “per credit” fee, as it is abundantly clear few students complete the IB program. And there’s this notion of unfairness by offering coursework to a small core of privileged students at the expense of others, particularly low-income children."
By this way of thinking, why shouldn't parents of children taking AP pay a "per credit" fee? Why should I subsidize their kid's college education? My child may be average and the "elitist" AP students are costing ME money. How is it okay for AP but not IB? This reasoning is obviously biased and one-sided.

To interested reader I would say the following:

Unfortunately the educational system perpetrates the belief of different levels of intelligence, when in fact an "average" child often can accomplish a great deal. Any student who is willing to work hard can take either AP or IB and reap the benefits. I believe that IB is easier for some students' learning habits, because at the Diploma level, (11th and 12th grade) the students are continually assessed throughout the two years and their final score is an amalgam of all the assessments, whereas AP students get one shot at a mutliple choice test at a stressful time of year.

In addition, think of it like this: imagine that a small portion of your taxes or mine benefit an AP student. That student gets into a good college, does well and comes home and ultimately has a start-up company that becomes successful and employs many, (perhaps even somebody from your family), and in fact benefits the region.

Providing good academics benefits an economically depressed region.

Ask why H.S. varsity athletics programs should be supported. Should the community taxes pay for only a handful of students who make the cut and have the benefit of college athletics schoarships or a shot at major league sports career?

The question should not be so much about why fund this program or that. But to make as many choices available to as many students as possible - be it athletics, debate, music or accelerated academics. It is true that the schools only have limited funds. But the argument seems to be always about cutting academics, not sports. Why?


It depends where one lives.

When we lived on the west coast there was less emphasis on sports, and considerably less money was spent on sports. In fact, I heard of a school in the Bay Area that decided to completely eliminate sports and spent the funds for academics.

Where we live now, sports are an important part of the community fabric. Friday night high school football games attract entire communities and are considered a family outing. Pittsburgh, a city that has lost much of its manufacturing base, has managed to attract funds through supporting football and baseball in the form of new stadiums (stadia?) that are part of the riverfront.

So, I'd say, that funding for sports shouldn't be totally eliminated is this area. That said, I absolutely believe that we need better academics EVERYWHERE in the country, and we must be willing to pay for better academics. I spent some time researching school reform this morning, and I came across a couple of interesting reports about the "state of the schools" in the nation. Essentially we're not making the grade in our secondary schools, and we're sending underprepared kids to college.

We do need to break the mindset that high school is about football and proms, and really instill a mindset that studying is important, but I thinks that's going to be a hard sell. Nonetheless, I also think it's a sell that's absolutely imperative for the economic future of the nation.

Now that the discussion has turned to issues, the committee of Sadie Mae Glutz aka Otis B. Driftwood aka Captain Spaulding seems to have disappeared. They have been 'just wondering' and 'asking questions' - how about some answers now.

We are waiting for the response.

Pssst, Interested Reader, didn't you know that even
'notorious killers' like to go to church on Sundays to display fake religiosity? ;)

They'll be back on Monday, I predict.

Well, maybe not - what if the school board meeting lasts too long?

Well, I guess Interested Reader was right - our school directors and their friends have no interest in discussing the real issues.

When you spout propaganda and lies it does not stand up to reality. No one on the school board majority answers questions, it seems. Even though they think they are clever, there is no room for actual discussion because thier agenda is not popular when held to the light. So they dodge and weave and just play at discussing, never giving real responses to honest questions posed by their own constituents. Well, the constituents that disagree with them. Unless the question fits their agenda then one phantom phone call will bring them to action.

As an IB student, I must say that I am shocked by the amount of misinformation and childish name-calling going on here.

It seems as if everyone has lost their willingness to discuss the issues without attacking one another. When I went to the polls in November of 2005, all I hoped to do was begin a discussion. This whole problem occurred because no one was listening to the other side. Unfortunately, this problem still exists. Everyone is so wrapped up in hating their opponents that the students have long since been left behind.

It seems beyond hope at this point; but every day I wish that some decisions could be made without subservience to prior agendas and inflexible ideology.

Note: I'll post under an alias; because I've received so many threats I now know the danger of expressing my honest opinion.

Dear Mohuohu,

As an IB student, you may have noticed that most people on this discussion thread actually are interested in having a real discussion. However, as soon as this discussion started, the other side has all but disappeared. You may also have noticed that USC-WAVES posters actually do care a great deal about students. For us, it is not about hating the other side - it is about saving our schools from the slow but sure process of destruction started by the current school board majority. It is about retaining and improving quality programs for all students.

Your perspective as a student is very important. Please tell us about your personal experience in the IB program in Upper St. Clair. Thank you.

It seems like in the push to justify the program the real point has been lost. To me, IB was all about learning and pushing your boundaries for the sake of learning and broadening your horizons. Going about the defense and trying to construct the program as something which it is not seems to me to be the wrong way of going about it.

What seems the most ridiculous to me is how a curriculum issue has become so overtly politicized that the real benefits and drawbacks of the program are getting lost in the rhetoric? All the politics is drowning out the possibility of having a sober debate about whether IB is a good fit for the type of education USC is looking to give its students. The voice of reason has been drowned out.

I am not saying that the WAVES group is completely innocent of using dramatic rhetoric, but it seems like a sad testament that the adults of the community cannot resolve their disputes without reverting back to high school cliquishness and name calling. Those who support the board are suddenly "theocrats who are out to destroy freedom of expression" while those who are petitioning for WAVES are "foreigners, Marxists, elitists and anti-American"

It seems to me that everything the IB program stands for has been lost in the course of the battle. As the discourse has deteriorated, the critical thinking and open minds which IB is supposed to develop have been replaced by bitter venom.

I think the attack on the IB program is just one telling symptom of a deep cultural divide in the community which reflects a similar divide in the country as a whole. And I do believe theocracy and xenophobia have a lot to do with why IB program is so much hated by the extreme right across the US. Now, I absolutely agree that not all people in the community who oppose the program are theocrats - some are, and the others dislike it for different reasons, lack of understanding, antiintellectualism, xenophobia and nationalism being most common ones, in my opinion. You may choose to call this assessment "name calling", but to me this is the conclusion I came to after analyzing the situation here and in the country in general for some time. If you disagree with my analysis, I would be interested in reading your thoughts on why there is an opposition to the IB program. In particular, maybe you can explain to me why the communities in which the program is deemed "controversial" tend to be very conservative, with a significant religious right population.

Sorry for the sloppy writing - I was in a hurry. Obviously, I meant to say that in addition to theocratic ideology and simple lack of understanding, people who dislike IB are commonly driven by antiintellectualism, xenophobia and nationalism.

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