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Burlington HDSB PAR: About Facts and Objectivity

The decision to politicize the process by the Save Central parents and their selection of a councilor as their representative pumped a degree of energy into the process that created risk for their perspective and the best interests of the City.

I understand that Lynn Crosby called into CHML on Thursday, February 16, morning when the Mayor was on the Bill Kelly Show. She asked him to step up and clearly support leaving Central open.

The Mayor stated very clearly that “the ultimate decision around closing schools was with the school board and that it is not appropriate for the mayor or council collectively to state a particular position that could benefit some at the detriment of others.” This clearly demonstrates that Rick Goldring, as usual, wants to do the right thing for the community. Thank goodness we have such a well-rounded and thoughtful Mayor.

My own answer would have been similar; however, I would have added something along the lines "that the community depends on PARC members and HDSB to have an objective, balanced perspective and to make sure they get their facts right in making sure they arrive at a decision that serves the best interests of the students at large. None of which will be enhanced by politicizing the process."

** Speaking of facts, it has been said that it would be easy to simply move the IB program from Bateman to Central HS. That way, Bateman would be closed and Central would be saved, right?

Well, here is some input about IB, that you might find of interest:

The following comes from a former teacher and the project leader that successfully brought the IB program to Bateman, who subsequently became the IB Coordinator at Bateman.

By way of background, the International Baccalaureate is a prestigious and rigorous academic program based in Geneva Switzerland. It provides students with the opportunity to excel. All IB students write the same exams which and are marked by instructors from all over the world. It is truly an international standard of excellence that every school would be proud to have. In many cases universities, will grant exemptions from first year courses - evidence of how the program is highly regarded.

As you can appreciate, the application process is very rigorous. Many schools apply - only a few are chosen. The Bateman application took us over a year to prepare. While we needed Board support for the application, the IB organization required the school itself apply and only the school itself would be granted the authority to offer the program. Bateman was the first high school in Halton to receive IB accreditation. Since then White Oaks High School in Oakville and Georgetown High School in Georgetown have been accredited giving Halton a reasonable geographic dispersion of IB schools. The loss of the IB program at Bateman could result in the absence of this option for students in south Halton. The IB program required those teachers chosen as instructors to be trained in IB methods and that a pre-IB program be established in the school if the application was to be approved. In addition, a committee from the IB organization spent 2 days at Bateman interviewing teachers that had attended their training programs, checking out the facilities and examining how we would recruit students.

If accepted, the school would be granted the privilege of running the IB program. Therefore, the Board cannot just place it in any school in Halton without that school going through the same rigorous application process outlined above.

“When I read that if the decision is made to close Bateman, the IB program will be sent to Central, I simply do not understand how that can be possible without at least several years of work with the IB organization to ensure Central High School is approved for delivery of the IB program. I believe the Board owes the parents, current and future students a more complete explanation of the future of the IB program in south Halton and the resulting ramifications if Bateman is closed. Students could be severely disadvantaged.”