News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Jefferson County school's IB program an example

The quality of public school education made it onto the front of a national news magazine and onto national television this week.

Normally, such attention would point out how Alabama doesn't measure up to the other 49 states in preparing students for jobs and for college.

But this isn't a story of excuses why our test scores are low, or classroom whimpering about what our schools could do if we gave them money.

The story is about success. Stunning success. It's about one Jefferson County public school achieving the ranking of best in the nation. It's No. 1.

What a turnaround for Alabama!

Newsweek magazine gave the Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School this honor based on the college-level courses taught to the 325 students on the Shades Valley campus.

But wait, critics might say. Then they might mention that this is a magnet school that draws only the best students, an elitist school, like they say Decatur wants to establish.

The attention has Birmingham-area parents swamping school officials with requests to enroll and for more information. The school may have to expand to meet the demand.

Meanwhile, here in Decatur, school officials are attempting to put IB programs in all schools as a way to offer quality education to all students. But the City Council and mayor are balking.

Decatur shouldn't allow opposition to the much-needed penny sales tax passed in 2001 or the outcome of the old school desegregation lawsuit to deny children here the opportunity to be educated with the best.

It's time to move forward.

Loving their children and offering them the best education possible are the greatest gifts parents can give.

Let's finance IB out of love for our children.

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