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Know the facts before voting

In light of the fact that there may soon be votes cast for school board candidates by people who may not have children in the school system, I believe that it is imperative that the issues and facts addressed in recent newspaper interviews be corrected.

In a recent newspaper article, school board candidate Tom Clapper voiced lukewarm support for the International Baccalaureate curriculum in its third year of implementation at Aspen High School.

Stating that the district’s financial impact to facilitate the program is “far greater than what we’re getting out of it,” Clapper further implies that only 10 percent of our high school students are benefiting from the IB program.

It appears Mr. Clapper is misinformed. As we are in the final days of determining the best two of three candidates for the school board, it is important to know the researched facts pertaining to this issue.

There are currently 10 seniors and 25 juniors enrolled as full International Baccalaureate diploma candidates, a representation of over 17 percent of these two classes. The IB diploma program represents the most rigorous of the options available for highly motivated students.

The IB certificate enrollees are even more numerous. This option enables students to select specific disciplines in which they excel or have an interest and focus on a certificate for that class.

We currently have more than 70 seniors and juniors enrolled in a class for an IB certificate. Contrary to Mr. Clapper’s reported 10 percent, the combined number of students impacted by this curriculum is actually more than 50 percent.

On the financial side, the school district spends $8,000 per year to gain access to the IB program materials. Soft monies via the Aspen Education Foundation have supplied the balance of the investigative seed money and training funds over the past five years. An investment of $20,000 per year is a small price to pay to build a strong academic offering for our district.

I believe that the nature of educating our children has become much more complicated and complex than it was 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago. With that in mind, now more than ever, it is time to consider voting for candidates who have already made strong commitments to the Aspen School District in terms of attending school board meetings, serving on task forces and having an understanding of the state and district issues which we are now faced with.

It is no longer just enough to run just because “everybody asked me to.”

Sandra M. Peirce

Aspen


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