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Lawrence schools won't join international program

Published on -11/12/2013, 11:17 AM

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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- Citing the cost to the school district and to students, the Lawrence school board has decided not to join the International Baccalaureate Diploma program, which offers advanced courses to high school students.

The school board decided Monday not to start an International Baccalaureate Diploma program, which is similar to the better-known Advanced Placement, or AP program, offered by many schools. But the IB program focuses on humanities and liberal arts, and it requires students to complete an entire curriculum, while the AP program allows students to take specific classes, The Lawrence Journal-World reported (http://bit.ly/1a0ucAx ).

A committee of teachers said the IB program would cost the district and the students too much and would benefit only students who are already academically successful.

The committee's report said starting an IB program in Lawrence likely would have required about $48,000 in upfront costs during the first three years, plus an estimated $82,000 a year in ongoing costs. The program would cost students and their families about $775 in registration and test fees during their junior and senior years.

"One thing that makes IB so appealing is the global focus and foreign language," said board vice president Shannon Kimball, who supported the program. "In the United States we are woefully behind in emphasizing language acquisition as an important skill."

As an alternative, the faculty committee recommended the board consider expanding the existing AP curriculum with a new program called AP Cambridge Capstone. That program is more closely aligned to the new Common Core standards in reading and math, and with Next Generation Science Standards, all of which have been adopted in Kansas.

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