Perhaps they're more common than we realize...
And you're wondering just where it is you've heard this term before? Well, Dr. Harner - who was being considered for the position of Superintendent of Toledo Public Schools - has a daughter enrolled in the IB program and wanted her to be able to continue her studies if they moved to this area. But the only IB program offered was in a Sylvania high school. TPS eventually decided to hire acting superintendent John Foley for the position.
According to a Wall Street Journal article (subscription may be required) public and charter schools are increasingly using IB programs as a way to challenge students and pull up test scores.
"Since 2000, ... growth in the number of high schools offering the program has been brisk, reaching 758 high schools this past academic year."
Private schools have used this program, which is more stringent than Advanced Placement courses, for years. However, most schools offering the program do not offer it to all students without some sort of placement or admission standards. In fact, according to WSJ, there are only two schools in the U.S. that teach IB to students of any level, but those students are selected by lottery.
The Journal says that the main obstacle to such offering is the cost - usually around $8,000 per year, along with payments for the exams and teacher training.
I'm not saying that TPS should immediately start such a program, but I do believe our school board should consider such programs as part of their educational programming.
There was even a school board in Pennsylvania that voted to end their IB program. Parents rallied to have it restored and won a pro-baccalaureate majority in a school board election last Tuesday. I can only wonder if there are lessons we could learn from them...