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Re: “Class Action

I wish I had known about the parent group who drafted that letter. I would have been one hundred percent behind it. I am one hundred percent behind it. I have two children who completed the IB Programme at LMB. Neither chose to continue on with IB at TJ. That was not even an option after the Brown experience they had.

I remember the gun incident, the idiocy with bathroom supplies, the pure chaos of dealing with the transportation system and RPS buses (why did my kids only have problems getting bussed to LMB?), the chaos of having to be in the gym in the mornings, the fights, the canceled field trips. I remember when my daughter came home and told me her horrible French teacher had hit a student, the dangerously crazy mercury spill incident, the food fights, and my son talking about how in certain classes of his, much of the time the teacher either didn't show up at all or didn't actually teach anything. Some of what I was hearing from them was so far fetched I didn't believe it- until I started checking, and found out that it was all true.

There are two primary issues here: The Richmond Public School system, and the IB Programme. I believe the poor state of the IB Programme is the focus of the letter, but these two issues are tangled up together in such a way that they affect each other. This is reflected in a lot of the anger I see in the comments here.

After the IB experience my kids had, I fully agree with everything that was brought up in the letter that was sent. All of the main points match what our family experienced over the collective four years that my kids were at LMB. Here's what I feel is the real point of all of this:
The International Baccalaureate Programme is presented (and very much sold) to RPS rising middle school students as a very academically challenging curriculum. It is rolled out as a rigorous and well rounded, accelerated educational opportunity. That is a key word: "opportunity." It is definitely not for everyone. The application process is long and fairly demanding, and it is stressed that only the best and brightest students will be accepted. That's the whole point- it is a special program, and it takes a lot of hard work - both with overall academic performance and the application, to get into it. Working and earning your way into an accelerated and comprehensive curriculum where qualified, motivated teachers work with ambitious, engaged students is the expectation that we were sold. Unfortunately it was not the reality.

When my first child started IB it was a little disappointing - but by the time my second finished middle school, it was becoming alarmingly bad. To the point that there was absolutely no interest in continuing with IB.

The issues have been raised, now there is a lot of work to be done. And yes, that does start at the very top, with leadership, and it cascades down. I also believe that the "school within a school" model needs rethinking. At LMB it created an immediate "Us and Them" problem, which affected teachers, students and parents. If IB is a "Special" program, great- let it be a Special program, but not at the expense of the entire school. It should not exist in a situation or environment where it's going to create this negative dynamic.

The letter started a big shake up, that needed to happen. This has gone on for long enough. RPS needs an overhaul- ALL city students deserve a quality education. The IB Programme needs an overhaul- the gifted students who qualified for it deserve the kind of curriculum they were promised.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by JaneQPublic on 03/08/2014 at 4:10 PM

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