Confirmed victory
Petitioning TDSB Trustee, Ward 9 Maria Rodrigues and 21 others

Do not charge for the International Baccalaureate Diploma program

The International Baccalaureate program in TDSB is a rigorous program open to all students. On June 19, 2013, the trustees of the Toronto District School Board will vote on whether to charge $1,200 to $1,500 for students interested in participating in the IB programs offered in six Toronto schools. 

The IB program is an internationally acclaimed program. Since its inception, it has been free of charge for all participating students in the TDSB and we, the graduating students of Victoria Park CI, would like to keep it that way.

In Toronto, there are many schools who do charge tuition fee for those in the IB program. As a result of having subsidies for the IB program at TDSB schools, students from low-income families who may have otherwise shielded away from applying/continuing the program have the opportunity to work towards the diploma. This money is invested in the future of these students, so that money does not become an obstacle for those wanting to go into IB.

To prevent elitism and the theft of opportunities, we do not believe that the IB program should have an entrance fee. Other programs such as TOPS, French immersion, Gifted and CyberArts also require extensive funding as all education does. As students promised free education, we feel this fee punishes initiative and achievement.

Please support this petition in hopes of sustaining equal opportunities in our diverse city.

 

“Pierre Trudeau dreamed of a society that afforded all of its citizens an equal opportunity to succeed in life – whatever their background or beliefs, whether rich or poor” – Jean Chretien.

Letter to
TDSB Trustee, Ward 9 Maria Rodrigues
TDSB Trustee, Ward 14 Sheila Ward
TDSB Trustee, Ward 15 Cathy Dandy
and 19 others
TDSB Trustee, Ward 16 Sheila Cary-Meagher
TDSB Trustee, Ward 18 Elizabeth Moyer
TDSB Trustee, Ward 19 David Smith
TDSB Trustee, Ward 21 Shaun Chen
TDSB Trustee, Ward 22 Jerry Chadwick
TDSB Trustee, Ward 4 Stephnie Payne
TDSB Trustee, Ward 10 Chris Bolton
TDSB Trustee, Ward 13 Gerri Gershon
TDSB Trustee, Ward 12 Mari Rutka
TDSB Trustee, Ward 17 Harout Manougian
TDSB Trustee, Ward 1 John Hastings
TDSB Trustee, Ward 2 Chris Glover
TDSB Trustee, Ward 3 Pamela Gough
TDSB Trustee, Ward 5 Howard Kaplan
TDSB Trustee, Ward 6 Chris Tonks
TDSB Trustee, Ward 7 Irene Atkinson
TDSB Trustee, Ward 8 Howard Goodman
TDSB Trustee, Ward 11 Shelley Laskin
TDSB Trustee, Ward 20 Sam Sotiropoulos
On behalf of the International Baccalaureate students in the TDSB, I would like to express our collective concern with proposition of charging students for the privilege of studying towards earning the International Baccalaureate diploma.

The IB program is an internationally acclaimed program, which mentally prepares students for the stress of university. Since its foundation, it has been free of charge for all participating students in the Greater Toronto Area and we, the graduating students of Victoria Park CI, would like to keep it that way.

From my personal experiences in the program, I found it the most useful educational experience in my lifetime. I feel that if a price were to be put on this program, I would have never continued with it and would not have acquired the knowledge I have today. The teachers at Victoria Park CI painstakingly upload worksheets on websites (updated daily) and set up external emails so they can answer our questions off hours. And all of this, they do for free.

In order to pay for the cost of our exams, our learning materials already suffer the consequences. Our mathematics and chemistry textbooks were published in the 80s, there are not enough biology textbooks for every student so they are only used in class, our physics textbooks are limited and must be signed out and, the mandatory English texts were bought for a dollar or two. Due to our outdated economics texts, our teachers are required to produce self-written notes to aid us in our exam preparation. Since Theory of Knowledge textbooks are pricey, limited handouts are handed out. However, most of the time, students print out their own worksheets and notes. To supplement for the lack of teaching material, each student willingly buys an IB study guide or textbook for each subject to maximize our chances of doing well on these exams. Every student is also required to buy a graphing calculator because our school does not encourage borrowing for extended periods of time (this is around $100-$150). Each study guide costs around $40 and each textbook about $60. With six mandatory core subjects and the additional TOK course, this already puts a lot of strain on poorer families. At this point, to succeed, our education is no longer free.

In Toronto, there are many schools who do charge tuition fee for those in the IB program. As a result of having subsidies for the IB program at TDSB schools, students from low-income families who may have otherwise shielded away from applying/continuing the program have the opportunity to work towards the diploma. This money is invested in the future of these students, so that money does not become an obstacle for those wanting to go into IB.

We understand that joining the International Baccalaureate program is a choice, however, that is the same for the CyberArts program at Don Mills CI, the gifted program at Woburn CI, the TOPS program at Marc Garneau and the Advanced Placement programs around the Greater Toronto Area. We, the graduating students of Victoria Park CI, would like to keep the International Baccalaureate program

at our school free in order to encourage students to join this program. If we pay for this program, we are not paying for higher marks or better learning equipment, we are paying to be prepared for university. Our program is far from easy, evident from the drop out rate, but it builds the character necessary to survive through university.

Due to the high dropout rate in this program, it does not seem fair for students to pay a tuition fee for Year 1 of IB when they cannot continue it to receive the full diploma. Our marks do not get adjusted until mid-year in grade 12 and the low grade 11 marks will affect our abilities to get into university. To have to pay for that seems very unjust.

My fellow peers in the IB program come from different backgrounds, both rich and poor. For some, they will be the first in their family to go into university. Thus I feel that every student should have the opportunity to choose a path of academic excellence and preparation. As students promised free education, we feel this fee punishes initiative and achievement.

Thank you for your understanding.