There is a school not run by the public school district in which it is located. It is a selective school attracting the best and the brightest students. It has a national reputation for academic excellence. Students must apply and pass an admissions test to be considered for admission. There is limited capacity. Admission is reported to be “by lottery” among qualified applicants.
The school is the International Academy. It is the pride of the community – including the district within whose borders it exists, BHSD. However, the BHSD School Board chose not to expand its 30 “seat” presence to serve more of its nearly 100 students qualified students each year. It chose not to respond even when 20 “seats” become available when Farmington dropped out of the consortium.
Even if BHSD had claimed all of the available “seats,” about half of the qualified students in BHSD would still be denied the opportunity to attend the school of their choice – the IA. How could this situation be allowed to persist for over a decade? How could a district that prides itself on providing a maximum of choice for its students deliberately fail its most academically inclined students?
Apparently, high achieving students of BHSD are free to be “architects of their future” only when they are among the one third of the eligible BHSD students lucky enough to win the IA admissions lottery. Parents should not be satisfied with perpetuating a situation were luck determines their child's learning opportunity. Each child has but one opportunity to be admitted to the IA.
Until the International Baccalaureate Programme in the mainline high school has been demonstrated to provide the equivalent educational outcome, as measured by generally accepted assessment tests, parents should not be fooled by District protestations that the “IB at Bloomfield High” is the equivalent to the educational experience at the IA. Many know better. In fact, those with means who would send their children to the IA refuse to send them to Bloomfield High if their children fail to win the “lottery.”
Should BHSD continue to deny its most academically advanced students the opportunity to excel? Is it right?