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TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2005
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EDITORIAL

IB program at critical point in Decatur schools

International Baccalaureate Degree officials are in Decatur this week to inspect how well the city's schools are prepared to launch the program.

Hopefully, the inspectors are finding facilities, enthusiasm and staff requirements to their specifications for giving Superintendent Sam Houston permission to begin enrolling students.

To do that, the superintendent apparently must also convince the team that the financial commitment will be in place to sustain the program, even without funding from the City Council, which earlier rejected the requested appropriation.

The superintendent said he will seek private and corporate donations for the student fees to launch the program at the high school level.

The inspectors are not finding the ambitious program Mr. Houston envisioned earlier this year that would have dipped down to the elementary grades to challenge students to excel in academics.

The high school program, nonetheless, would put Decatur among the elite school systems in the nation.

One thing in Decatur's favor is history. Decatur individuals and corporations have a rich tradition of supporting public education. If, indeed, that is the financing route IB must travel here, the superintendent should have little problem raising money to launch the high school IB program.

Ideally, the school system would offer the program at all levels. But for now, for our high schools to get approval for this challenging program would be a gigantic step. About 50 students apparently are lined up to enroll.

Students who graduate with an IB degree can about name the university they wish to attend.

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