Regina school board promotes equity by wounding academic traditions.
When you first get to university, what usually happens is that you hang out with those friends that you made in high school. At least, that’s what happens here; the U of R is an extension of the Regina high school system for the most part. As such, your high school never really fades from your mind.
Recently, a major event happened at my high school. Campbell Collegiate, a public school known for its academic performance, saw its International Baccalaureate (IB) program pulled by the Regina Board of Education and given to Balfour Collegiate instead. The IB program is essentially an international version of the Advanced Placement (AP) program found at other schools. I did an IB Certificate program while in Campbell and I managed to not only get a top-notch education that exposed me to foreign authors and ideas, but I also got university credits for some introductory classes; I didn’t need to take English 100. Campbell Collegiate has had the IB program for twenty years and the school board’s decision stunned me. It apparently was so secret that it didn’t even hardly make the news; I only found out thanks to a friend whose sister was in grade nine at Campbell. From what can be gleamed from this decision, I believe the Regina Board of Education made a massive mistake in removing IB from Campbell.
First off, let us consider why they did this. From what I and other concerned friends were able to gather, the school board is moving the IB program because it wants to both increase enrollment at Balfour and ensure that not too many people apply to go to Campbell. While I can understand why this situation might come about, I do not think this is a solution. For one thing, lots of students who came to Campbell for IB are now going to have to move schools simply because a board official thought they should be going to another school. The main issue is that Campbell is essentially being punished for being too good. Its staff did not steal the IB program from any other school, nor did they deceive the administrators of the IB program about how good their school was. Campbell Collegiate was awarded a top-notch program and got good at administering it. Because of this, the Board of Education declared that there was a crisis and essentially punished Campbell for its good work.
And this brings me to what really angers me about this situation: the secrecy and suddenness of this decision. As my friend told me, her sister just received the news out of the blue, as apparently did many teachers. Keep in mind that this decision could effectively make or break schools; who’s to say that later on from now, Balfour won’t be the popular school and Campbell the school everyone avoids? As such, why did my friend’s sister have to hear this decision and make adjustments to her life immediately? If you go on the Regina Board of Education’s website, you will find a post on their ‘High School Strategy’ which claims that they made this decision “[following] consultation with stakeholders.” Then why did this decision stun a lot of people at Campbell? More to the point, that same post states that this decision was only made because the IB program at Thom Collegiate was losing popularity. If that’s the case, then why the hell remove Campbell’s program? Why not move Thom’s to Balfour?
It is really difficult to express just how mind-bogglingly stupid I find the school board’s decision to be. They don’t, or just can’t (professionally), understand how important the IB program came to be to the identity of Campbell Collegiate and its students. I am doubly disappointed that no concrete reason has been given for why they chose this course of action over others; striving for “equity” does not count. If the Board of Education wants to make things right, it should redo its entire consultation process and fully explain to students just how their plans affect them. Because, as of now, their proposed plans just end up messing up student’s lives for no clear benefit.