SCHOOLS: The PYP problem

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Hayden Meadows is a PYP (primary years program) school. PYP is the elementary school version of the IB (International Baccalaureate) program. IB is now being replaced with AP (advanced placement) at Lake City High School because IB was found to be too costly, benefited too few and had too poor of results.

Likewise, PYP was also terminated at Fernan Elementary a few years ago, because students’ test scores dropped while that program was in use. At Monday night’s school board meeting, I learned that 7 out of the 10 district 271 elementary schools are performing well, based on the state’s new five-star rating system. Three schools rated 3 stars or below, requiring remedial action by those schools. Hayden Meadows was one of the three poor performing schools.

Before PYP, Hayden Meadows was known as the best elementary school in our district, so what happened? I would like an explanation that is based on facts, not the “FEELINGS” of a few vocal teachers and parents. Some in attendance wore T-shirts labeled “I love PYP” and (before the bad results were disclosed) praised the program. Our students need to receive the best education and PYP does not appear to be achieving those results.

Hayden Meadow fundraisers are used to help pay for PYP, but teachers still have to buy their own supplies. That money, and it’s a lot, could and should be used to provide a better education for our kids.

For some, PYP is a “name brand” of education, but where are the quality results? Did anyone else in the room notice the glaring discrepancy between the speakers’ comments in support of PYP and the new rating system results? I did, and I want the board to explain how that happened.

I hope our district makes the decision whether to continue the PYP program based on facts not on “FEELINGS.” Some see IB/PYP as a “name brand” in education. Name brand labeling does not always equate to quality, but makes some people “FEEL” better. The quality shows after they go through the wash.

Sometimes the quality is worse than their plain label counterparts. I think the analogy fits.

MARY JO FINNEY

Coeur d’Alene

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