It felt like we had won the golden ticket when we first found out that our son had gotten into the International Baccalaureate Pre-IB program. Unfortunately that feeling did not last long. The International Baccalaureate program is a chance for a student to graduate high school with an IB Diploma. It is an academically challenging program that is taught over a two year time period in schools across the world. It is designed for students who are 16 and older. All subjects studied are at a higher level of learning, and it is supposed to be a great honor to actually graduate high school with an IB diploma. It demands the very best out of students.
My son has always been gifted academically. In Kindergarten he was already reading third grader readers. He has always just been very smart, and we, as parents, supported him in every way that we could. We all could tell that he probably would have an Ivy League education in his future. He was just that smart.
It really was no surprise in the last year of middle school that we received letters telling us that our son was eligible for both the Cambridge program and the International Baccalaureate program from two different high schools in our local area. They both really wanted our son to participate in their academic programs. We went to both of the high schools, and we discussed our son’s future with both directors of the programs. We really thought that the International Baccalaureate program was the way to go, and so we enrolled him in that program.
It was during the summer before high school that we went to a local bookstore to pick up my son’s pre-IB reading books for his homework he had to do during the summer that I first questioned the choice of whether we had done the right thing in putting my son into the International Baccalaureate program. As I was paying for my son’s books the clerk commented on my purchase. He told me that he had once been in the International Baccalaureate program, and he told me how in his senior year that he had missed the credit for graduating with his IB diploma by a 6th of a point. See in the International Baccalaureate program it is and all or nothing program. You have to graduate with a 2.75 weighted GPA, and you have to pass the end exam in order to graduate with an IB diploma.
As I left the bookstore, all I could envision was that my son could have a chance of not getting the IB diploma after all, and that he could actually have a future working as a clerk at a local bookstore. Working as a clerk at a bookstore is a good job, but a far cry from the future I had envisioned of an Ivy League graduate. I kept questioning our decision to put our son in the IB program the whole summer. I felt like we should have put our son in a dual enrollment program where he would begin to take college courses in his junior and senior year. At least that way I would know that my son would graduate high school with college courses already under his belt.
However, after much discussion with our whole family, we all decided to take a chance with the Pre-IB International Baccalaureate program. My son started his first quarter excited for his future. We did everything we could to support him. At first it seemed like maybe we had made the right choice for him. However, after time we realized what a horrific mistake we had made.
It was not that son was not smart enough for the International Baccalaureate program that made him not succeed in the program. It was that we found out that the program was set up in such a way that it leads students to fail out of it very quickly. For example, we found out during the semester that only 20 students out of 135 students had actually graduated with an International Baccalaureate Diploma the previous year. Another example is that three of my son’s teachers actually urged their students to drop out of the IB program because they said it would ruin their GPA scores, and that they would not be able to get into good colleges if that happened.
Those were some of the ultimate factors why we are in the process of actually thinking of taking my son out of the International Baccalaureate program. Why should we as parents set our child up for a huge chance of failure? How can a program be that great if it is an all or nothing kind of thing? Yes, it is a positive if your child can actually get the International Baccalaureate Diploma, but what are the real chances of that happening? The percentages of succeeding are so low that it does not seem worthwhile in the end.
My son does two hours or more of homework a night for the Pre-IB program. He gives up his weekends to do volunteer work which is required as part of the IB program. He cannot do sports because of how much effort he should be putting into his homework. He basically gave up the freedom of being a regular high school student, and to be honest I just think the cost of being an International Baccalaureate student is just too high.
I want him to be happy, and he is not anymore. Yes, as a good parent, you want the very best for your child. However, at what cost? I feel like if I keep him in this program that I am setting him up for failure, and that just is not right. Maybe the International Baccalaureate program really is good for some students, but I just do not think it is the right choice for my son now. He deserves better. I am going to make sure he gets better.