By: Harper Brown

At the start of the 2014-2015 school year, North Eugene High School became an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School. All Juniors were automatically enrolled in IB Language and Literature (Part I) and IB History of the Americas classes. All Seniors were automatically enrolled in IB Language and Literature (Part II). Some IB courses that North Eugene offers includes IB Language and Literature, IB Film Studies, IB Chemistry, IB Biology, IB Math Studies, IB Theory of Knowledge, IB Music Theory, and IB tests are offered in Spanish and Japanese.

Before, students had the option to take any of these classes and then take the IB test in order to get college credit for their work. Now, students only have the option to take IB sciences, languages, math studies, or “electives” such as Theory of Knowledge or Film Studies, as they are automatically enrolled in IB English and History classes. The reaction to required IB has been wide ranged from both teachers and students.

IB History of the Americas teacher Eric Suchman is one of many North Eugene teachers that stand behind the required IB program. “I love that all students take IB classes. I would hate to have elitist tracks like honors classes that are exclusive courses. Not all students can be involved in them and that’s not fair,” said Suchman.

“I didn’t want to take IB History or Literature,” says Senior Ashlee Lesan-Amondson. “They signed me up for these classes, I didn’t want them. I don’t see the point of IB, I think it’s dumb. I wouldn’t recommend it.”

According to the IB website, the International Baccalaureate Organization offers “a continuum of international education and programmes that encourage both personal and academic achievement, challenging students to excel in their studies and in their personal development.” Some of the benefits of IB include a raised cultural awareness through the development of a second language, independent thinking, as well as being a part of an internationally recognized program that can lead students to better post-secondary schooling options.

IB programs tend to be fast-paced and intensive, which may pose a heavy challenge for some students given the large workload. The work requires a lot of critical thinking and perseverance to complete. Students who do not seek an academic challenge may not have the motivation to complete such extensive work, and IB programs are not really necessary for students who do not plan to pursue further education after high school since the benefits of IB focus mainly post-secondary options.

What do you think? Should students be required to take IB? Or should it be the student’s choice?