CHS Considers Removing IB Program


Jerel LaLone, Writer

As our current school year comes to an end, the administration and the district begin making possible plans for next year, which could include a variety of changes that range from schedule changes to even adding or  eliminating various classes because of budget-related circumstances. However, there has been alleged talks of Capital High School removing the IB Programme, or removing certain IB classes individually as the administration looks at replacing them with optional AP courses, or what has been called “College in the classroom”.

If this were to go into effect then this would lead to drastic changes to the classes people take here at CHS, with IB classes becoming optional or nonexistent. If we were to continue to implement the College in the classroom system then we would need to either create new classes for students to take should they not be required to take advanced classes anymore, or substitute the IB classes if this system was to also be mandatory for CHS students to be enrolled in at least two advanced classes. It’s also important to consider that this may be one of the changes to our school being done on account of the Olympia School District still being in a budget deficit, and having as many IB classes as we currently do has been shown to cost more than running AP or similar structured classes around the school, with IB costing somewhere around $11,000 per year. 

For background context, the IB Programme has been the replacement for AP classes at CHS since the 1980’s and beyond, with their most recent change to the programme being that it is now required for all CHS students to take at least IB English and History for two years, likely in their Junior and Senior years. This has been running since the 2019-2020 school year, the one in which our world changed and the Pandemic began in the same year. Up until this point, the district has not necessarily considered changing or removing that programme at CHS, but now likely due to some budget cuts we are doing such a thing and considering potential replacements for the programme. 

With this information, I asked a few students who are currently at CHS how they felt with the IB Programme being potentially removed, and one in particular, CHS 11th grader, Sal Stocks has said that, “From what I hear, the IB Program is outdated and not valued by colleges as much as our school insists it is. I fully support the removal of the program, as it might give the school a chance to adopt a form of curriculum that supports all students.” 

Furthermore, he continued his thoughts on the IB system by saying, “I don’t know what went wrong systematically to get us here, but it’s antiquated and needs change.” Which is something multiple other students had felt about the program. 

Yet another important thing Sal mentioned in their interview was that “IB classes, the structure and curriculum, as well as the academic goals that the program wants us to meet are ‘advanced’ in that they cater to the ‘top of the class students’. Teachers take every opportunity they get to tell us that. Why is every student forced to be in a class that is designed for one type of brain that only a tiny percentage of people have?” 

He also mentioned briefly that, “By placing all students into ‘advanced’ classes that are maybe built for 5% of students, the school effectively dooms the rest. The system is flawed in that it tries to standardize all brains and force those that don’t fit into their tiny box of thinking to conform. IB makes the box even smaller.” 

Keep in mind, these are only the opinions and thoughts of one student out of many in our school, so it wouldn’t be too far off to assume that there are at least a few more handfuls of students that feel similarly to this.

In the end though, it ultimately is not up to the students or faculty members on whether Capital removes the Program or not as a whole. It’s up to the Olympia school district to make that call, and decide that whatever their next move after that is one that will be beneficial to the education of all students here at CHS, and likely less costly than the existing program should they choose to remove it. Time will only tell, and whether the college in the classroom system will work better than IB is also going to be based on how we do it, and the individual student preference.