Mark McDermott

International Baccalaureate put on hold

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Teachers talked. Administrators and school board members listened.

Two weeks after more than 50 high school teachers flooded a Redondo Beach Unified School District Board of Education meeting to protest the potential implementation of the International Baccalaureate program, district leaders this week announced that plans to apply for the program have been suspended.

RBUSD Superintendent Steven Keller said that teacher unrest and the state’s uncertain budget made the decision easy to make.

“I’d say everyone agrees that a little time to breathe is a good thing,” Keller said.

RUHS chemistry teacher Anita Reviczky Stoddard, who has helped organize the teacher protests, said that the teachers’ strong showing at the school board meeting seemed to drive home the message that a large number of the high school faculty have deep concerns about the cost, timing, and implementation of the program.

“I guess when we finally all showed up at the board meeting, they got it,” she said. “Basically, teachers were feeling pretty helpless there for a while, and then finally we let everyone know that it wasn’t just a few teachers having some mixed feelings – that maybe this has gone much too fast.”

RUHS Principal Mary Little sent a note to faculty late last week that cited budget concerns – one of the teachers’ primary objections – as a reason to suspend the application process.

“The current budget crisis in California and the impasse over the governor’s plan for tax extensions will dramatically impact RBUSD,” Little wrote. “As Dr. Keller outlined for us at Monday’s staff meeting, there may be cuts at RUHS.  For this reason, after consultation with Dr. Keller, who has spoken with board members, we have decided to delay the submission of Application B to become an IB World School. This additional time will give all of us an opportunity to learn more about IB.”

Reviczky Stoddard said that the teachers had several concerns, including the impact of the IB program on the school’s master schedule, which had never been vetted.

“The teachers at the high school are very glad the administration went ahead and suspended the application,” she said. “They think it’s a good thing, especially during uncertain economic times. When we went to the school board, it finally came to light we really, really need to sit down and talk about this, because it was never really discussed with teachers, and that in these uncertain economic times was adding insult to injury.” ER

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