Why Should Only Pre-I.B. Students Be Challenged?

From a student letter to the Tacoma News Tribune, April 18, 2004

By Mariana Villegas and Tausha Sabin-Lee, Foss High School

We are responding to the International Baccalaureate controversy at Foss High School (TNT, 4-18).

One of our teachers openly told us he disapproved of the Gates grant at Foss, comparing students to show dogs and pound dogs. He said pound dogs could never be show dogs.

We were never considered show dogs before we received the Gates Achievers Scholarship, because our grade-point averages were below 3.0 and we took lower-level courses. Now as seniors, we are successful in our higher level classes, and we will be attending Gonzaga University and Pacific Lutheran University. After a taste of being pound dogs, we evolved into very powerful show dogs.

The majority of students don’t believe in themselves because some teachers don’t believe they can do quality work. College students are predetermined in the seventh grade. Since the rest of us aren’t show dogs, why would we opt into pre-I.B. classes that weren’t meant for pound dogs?

The belief that non-I.B. students can participate in I.B. courses is sparked and enhanced by the Gates grant at Foss. Equity in education is right for every student. It’s the law. So what’s all the confusion about?