American education has a tattered reputation in many respects, except for our colleges and universities. They are world leaders in quality and accessibility. The desire to provide our children the best in higher education unites Americans in a unique way.
So it dismays me to report that on one issue, the leaders of nearly every four-year college in the country have shown appalling ignorance and hypocrisy. They say they want high schools to provide challenging courses for students thinking of college, but at the same time they discriminate against the most demanding college-level program in high school: International Baccalaureate.
College officials in Maryland, Virginia and the District have proven especially dense on this subject. In February, I wrote about their refusal to give credit to students who did well on final exams in one-year IB courses while giving credit to students who did well in final exams for similar (but in many cases less-demanding) one-year Advanced Placement courses. The culprit seemed to be an old committee report that had wormed its way into university regulations without any data behind it. IB students can generally get college credit only after taking two-year IB courses.