Matthew Renda
North Lake Tahoe Bonanza

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March 10, 2010
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International Baccalaureate: Not enough choice for parents, some say

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The main problem with International Baccalaureate is enrolling in the curriculum, particularly in the elementary and middle schools, is mandatory for all students in Incline schools' small campus environment.

That's the message Incline resident John Eppolito said he shared during a informational meeting Thursday, March 4, at Incline Village Library, about the upcoming education reform at Incline's public schools.

“IB is a fine liberal arts program,” he said in an interview this week. “However, there is no choice for parents. It's either have your children attend IB programs or move, and many parents are thinking of doing just that. The school is so small and (IB) rules require all of the elementary kids and all of the middle school kids to be involved in the program. There's no escaping it.”

Eppolito said: “About 40 people showed up and for the most part people were civil. Things got a little testy at the beginning, but they settled down toward the end. The most important thing was after the presentation, people had the opportunity to share their opinions while others listened. There was a positive back-and-forth.”

Eppolito, a father of four students currently enrolled in the district and a former K-12 teacher who has emerged as a leader of the movement to slow implementation maintains school district representatives have consistently avoided answering the tough questions throughout the process of public debate.

Recent meetings with Washoe County School District Deputy Superintendent Pedro Martinez and Public Information Officer Steve Mulvenon haven't been constructive, he said, something by with the district reps agreed with last week.

“I never intended to begin (an anti-IB movement),” Eppolito said. “I went to the district with questions about IB and failed to receive satisfactory answers. So I started doing research and the more I looked into it, the more I didn't like what I found.”

During the presentation, Eppolito revealed that Granite Bay High School in California has an enrollment of 2,200 students, about five times that of IHS, and the school still compiles AP and IB classes, with the exception of foreign language classes. Oakmont High School in Oakland, Calif., has an enrollment of 1,700, and most of the accelerated classrooms do not have combined AP with IB.

Luther Burbant High School in Sacramento, Calif., has an enrollment of 2,100 students, and after eight years of running the IB curriculum, there are no AP classes remaining, highlighting a concern of some Incline residents that AP classes will not persist under the implementation of IB, including the popular “We the People” program.

“IB works well for Wooster High School, where they have larger enrollment figures,” Eppolito said. “It's a very good liberal arts program as I said before, but IB lacks a strong math/science program.”

Martinez has repeatedly said he and the district are committed to keeping AP classes in IHS.

“IB implementation is about increasing choices for students,” said Martinez in a previous Bonanza story. “If students want to go the AP track, they will have that opportunity, but IB provides students with another educational option.”

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Mar 10, 2010 07:36PM Published Mar 10, 2010 06:07PM Copyright 2010 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.