Education in the United States of America has been since its inception proudly local. Any change to that concept has been hard fought and controversial. Local school boards, although guided by State standards and federal regulation, are otherwise largely autonomous especially with regards to curriculum development and instructional methodology. Once districts sign up for IB, how much of this local control must school boards give up? How much control does IBO have? We have drawn information from the experience of several IB member schools, and from IBO itself in order to address this question.
Schools with the High School Programme report that there are some very specific and very restrictive requirements. These requirements are not limited to course content but include staffing requirements, training requirements, and even building requirements that affect the entire student population.
Those who have purchased the PYP and MYP Programmes, the same restrictions and requirements apply as for the DP Programme. And these requirements they say can become more and more restrictive as the years go by. Although you may have developed a Programme that fits within your districts characteristics, the IBO may very well change their requirements over time. We have gathered information and evidence here that will help you to answer this question of local control.
Currently in Upper St.Clair, PA, the School district is faced with addressing the issue of losing choice of academic programming in their neighborhood elementary school. IBO has indicated that Upper St.Clair is in violation of IBO policy that the PYP should be the only educational offering in an individual elementary school building. The Streams Elementary School was split between IB PYP and the local curriculum. This arrangement must end in favor of IB if the district wishes to remain authorized by IBO as an IB World School. If implemented current non-IB Streams students who do not wish to enlist in the IB PYP will be forced to leave their neighborhood or to partake in PYP against their will. To date the School District has not assigned any value to the cost of transporting those Streams students to other schools outside their neighborhood. This leads to speculation which is fair that parents will be responsible for providing transportation. In addition, since the other schools are currently operating at capacity, there may be a need for additional construction. Click here for PYP Evaluation.Click here for news articleClick here for Local Opinion.