Why IB is worth the effort | AspenTimes.com

Why IB is worth the effort

Matt Ferguson

There goes a Marolt again – this time bashing the school system and the professionals who dedicate their lives to education (“Aspen’s extraterrestrial baccalaureate program,” Jan. 19). With a few more of his irrational words (“irresponsible” would suggest reason was extant), he labels Mrs. Sirko a “puppet” and volunteer parents and donors who apparently bruised his fragile ego as “aliens.” Again a Marolt waves their tired badge “I’m from Aspen” as cover and another feeble parochial excuse to belittle good people. This time Roger Marolt’s target is volunteer/parents and donors who were good enough to study extension of the International Baccalaureate program to more grades. The spearhead team included my wonderful and brilliant wife – Kris Ferguson. Not only was her name in the article Roger Marolt says he “read,” but two of our children share stellar teachers with two great next-generation Marolts. Roger Marolt must just be too busy on his word processor to pick up on such details – but then accuracy in his opinions is not his strong suit and certainly not an aspiration.I would venture that the group did not ask Roger Marolt to donate to this excellent cause because at least one other Marolt had been preaching how silly it was to invest in the new middle school and a strong hint of a parsimonious bent in Roger Marolt as penned in his “opinions.” And again a Marolt spews forth with a poorly researched diatribe under the mantle of “opinion.” It is nothing more than an ad hominem attack on good and dedicated people wrapped in what again a Marolt believes is some form of humor. It is so utterly dreary to so many of us – but it does sell free newspapers. I can only venture that the imaginative “alien” theme is from Roger Marolt’s comic book subscriptions – how else could a grown-up cast his neighbors, teachers and fellow parents as “aliens”?The International Baccalaureate program originated in Switzerland (not New York City) – here is something about its educational philosophy and mission:International Baccalaureate Organization aims to assist schools in their endeavours to develop the individual talents of young people and teach them to relate the experience of the classroom to the realities of the world outside. Beyond intellectual rigour and high academic standards, strong emphasis is placed on the ideals of international understanding and responsible citizen ship, to the end that IB students may become critical and compassionate thinkers, lifelong learners and informed participants in local and world affairs, conscious of the shared humanity that binds all people together while respecting the variety of cultures and attitudes that makes for the richness of life.The program is in 1,341 schools in 112 countries – one of them being our own Aspen High School; installed after similar study now railed against by this self-appointed arbiter of OUR children’s educational opportunities. My cousin who grew up in the diplomatic corps (not the military) was schooled in IB schools in England, France and Switzerland with expatriate, local and foreign students. He first made me aware of the program when we were youngsters. Here was a high school boy who raved about and loved school. Now a successful businessman, he still speaks fondly about his IB experiences and was so thrilled his second cousins would have the same experience in of all places – Aspen. He actually does possess “boundless intellectual talents” something Roger Marolt hypothesizes he, too, possesses in using the pronoun “we.” But this is the same “opinion” weaver who concocted the Snowmass election conspiracy and invariably hides tail behind his editorial robes, when called to task by equally honorable people. Thus quite frankly, Roger Marolt’s attempt at reporting what high school scholars past and present said to him about IB begs the reader’s extra scrutiny. He actually called some of our children “laggards” and speculated that teacher salaries will suffer – fiction camouflaged in editorial newsprint to further some parochial agenda in “Maroltville,” where the Marolt “alien” prejudgment is not based on race, religion, or sex – but whether, like his own self, you were born in ASPEN. The traffic and this Marolt “opinion” stuff are just some of the very few things we need to endure with a smile as we going about living and learning in this glorious creation.Thankfully, the younger generations of Aspen High School scholars (aliens and nonaliens alike) have achieved a much higher level of broadmindedness than some past alum and have had the unique opportunity to be rural kids, but prepared (in large part to alien influences and puppet dedication) to be active and kind participants in a complex and too-oft-suffering world.I am sure that Roger Marolt’s intemperate thoughts, prejudgment and minisectarian efforts will only help to ensure that IB programs expand to and for the younger children we hold so dear – no matter where they fall on the grade or test charts. P.S.: I love all you “aliens” especially you, Kris. You are all “out of this world” and doing a great job as are those who honestly and graciously debate with you! Don’t let the little things and people get you down.Matt Ferguson is a resident of Snowmass Village.