The Merrimack Valley School District of NH is seriously considering implementing the expensive program known as International Baccalaureate on a district-wide basis. On the school district’s website, is featured a slide show that supposedly contains all the information parents would need to know to help them make a decision about IB. [ Note: The presentation has since been scrubbed as of May 2012 ]
Like most presentations given by IB proponents, this slide show leaves out much crucial information, particularly many facts about who is behind the program, the requirements of the program, and how and where students’ tests would be graded.
When a 35-year teacher attempted to submit a research piece that would fill in these information gaps, the Loudon Ledger and Boscawen Vine, two local papers that are funded in part with taxpayer monies, both refused to print it.
Consequently, the piece was submitted to the Concord Monitor. As a result, Karen Langley, a reporter for the Monitor contacted the writer and conducted an interview. This interview resulted in yet another propaganda piece in the Monitor, [ All Ages Would Take IB Courses – May 6, 2009 ] with very few quotes from the interview and with most crucial information provided STILL MISSING. [also scrubbed]
It should be worrisome to parents and taxpayers that publicly funded newspapers are refusing to print information that might be be important to their decision-making process about whether to implement the IB program.
Here is the piece, reprinted in full with the author’s permission:
Merrimack Valley Regional School District Forges Ahead With IB
UNESCO says that the International Baccalaureate curriculum promotes “human rights, social justice, sustainable development, population, health, environmental, and immigration concerns.” But are parents being told about this political agenda?
Missing from the presentation on IB on the MVRSD’s website (http://www.mvsdpride.org/curriculum-instruction/the-international-baccalaureate-program) is the fact that taxpayers would be supporting the agenda of UNESCO.
The International Baccalaureate Organization is one of many education “industry” groups of consultants and reformers. The industry recognizes our extreme desire to improve education and competes for the large amounts of taxpayer money we put toward that cause in NH. Promoters from the IBO (www.ibo.org) a Switzerland-based group in partnership with UNESCO (www.unesco.org) use words such as “rigorous,” “prestigious” and “competitive” to sell the purported eliteness of it’s program. This self-laudatory language is suggestive of academic success, even when no track record exists to support such a claim.
After a school is authorized by IBO to use IB program(s) and pays the “annual fee,” it can be accepted as an “IB World School.” IBO charges for using their “programs” (curriculum, teacher training, instructional methods, assessments done outside the USA, coordinator, etc.) in our schools in the U.S.A., which are then referred to as “their” schools.
The 2008-09 Diploma Program “annual fee” has increased from $8,850 to $9,150 per school this year.
The various individual “per candidate” costs (covering registration with IB, per subject fees, exam registration fee, per exams costs, etc.) have also risen. Schools are also required to have an IB Coordinator. What is even more concerning than the extra inflated cost is that the school and its teachers must all adopt the IBO’s “mission.”
In New Hampshire, the bulk of our local property tax bill goes to support public education and it’s assumed that we have some “local control”. If the MVSD already employs the most qualified staff they can find, why would they need to buy a program that is run from another country to provide “rigor”? Tests are sent to any number of places abroad to be graded by the IBO. How does a student appeal a grade and how is this local control?
The presentation states that it will rely heavily on inquiry-based learning and constructivism, two methodologies that are proven failures at the elementary and high school level. University of Virginia professor Robert Tai and Harvard University researcher Philip Sadler have done a study which appeared recently in The International Journal of Science Education. It states that inquiry-based learning is not the ideal way for all high school students to prepare for college science.
“The findings suggest that students with lower levels of high school mathematics attainment had greater success in college science when they reported more teacher-structured laboratory experiences in high school,” Tai and Sadler report in their study, “Same Science for All? Interactive Association of Structure in Learning Activities and Academic Attainment Background on College Science Performance in the U.S.A.”
From my personal experience as a teacher, these “fad” methods also seem to hurt the less able children, the most. Is that what MVSD wants?
Structure More Effective In High School Science Classes, Study Reveals
Date: March 28, 2009
Source: University of Virginia
Summary: Self-led, self-structured inquiry may be the best method to train scientists at the college level and beyond, but it’s not the ideal way for all high school students to prepare for college science. That’s according to findings of a new study.
In the presentation, it also states: “We want to develop the whole child and create lifelong learners with cultural awareness and the ability to compete in an increasingly competitive economy.” But what does all that actually mean? Are parents able to translate this language into anything meaningful or is this just edu-speak intended to sound high-minded while clouding the agenda? The presentation lists a lot of educational skills that should already be implemented by any school. It also talks about giving students a “global perspective” but doesn’t explain exactly what that means either. How can the district maintain control of the curriculum when it is required to adhere to the principles, policies, and mission of a group that administers their program from Geneva, Switzerland?
Schools, once they have committed to IB, are bound by IBO’s “rules” and ideological mission. The contract between the IBO and IB schools is bound by the Geneva (World) Court.
In Bedford, the IB Diploma Program was implemented quietly. Most parents didn’t know, but should be able to request a copy of the contract with the IBO. Parents in that town still have questions about its broad ideology. (See letters below) And so should the parents of MVRSD.
“We’re living on a planet that is becoming exhausted,” said George Walker, IB’s former director-general. “The program remains committed to changing children’s values so they think globally, rather than in parochial national terms from their own country’s viewpoint.” Many parents might be surprised to find that the goal of American education was anything other than imparting knowledge, skills and strengthening the principles of citizenship put forth in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Furthermore they probably didn’t know that supporting those ideals was considered “parochial.”
TOK, short for “Theory of Knowledge,” is a philosophy course that proposes to challenge what kids know or think they know. Apparently this title came from a phrase that originated with Immanuel Kant and generally means “sowing the seeds of doubt.”
[See: Marxist Philosophy]
It is urged that parents and school board members do more independent research on this program, specifically its values-based mission, its methodologies, overall philosophy and the rest of its stated mission, which is to promote the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (redistributionist), and create acceptance for “global citizenship” and “global governance” under the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UDHR does not protect rights as innate, as our own Bill of Rights does, but states instead that the rights and freedoms enumerated therein “may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.” In other words, their premise is, what government gives, government takes away.
Our Constitution has been violated in many ways, but I didn’t realize we’d ditched it in favor of the UN’s vision of “global governance”. While some may think it’s perfectly acceptable to float the idea that national sovereignty is outdated, many might object. It definitely appears as an attempt to change attitudes about our current form of government.
IB is not the only program that promotes ideologies. In general, much American post-modern curricula replaces the teaching of historical facts with the teaching of attitudes and values about multiculturalism and world-mindedness. A review of science, and even math texts, reveals that sustainable development, environmental protection and social justice generally dominate.
Taxpayers should learn more before giving IB their stamp of approval. The IBO does not release materials for free, so it’s hard to get copies of tests. But I have, and that is what prompted me to discover the political agenda embedded in the IBO’s mission.
Please visit www.ibo.org and www.unesco.org (and click on the Education tab) to see what this is about, in their own words.
It’s time that public education finds its direction from the bottom up — the school board should be listening to the parents and taxpayers, and not be snookered into doing what some highly-paid consultants, “reformers”, and snake-oil salesmen have told them.
IB is a Waste of Taxpayer Money [scrubbed from Cabinet.com]
Program Hostile to Some Religious Values [scrubbed from Cabinet.com]
“On February 20, 2006, the Board of Education of the Upper St. Clair public schools ignited a firestorm in this normally tranquil community near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by voting to eliminate the UNESCO-backed International Baccalaureate Organization program in their elementary, middle, and high schools.
The board acted partly for fiscal reasons. Too much money was being spent on an elitist program that benefited too few students, they reasoned, especially since equivalent Advanced Placement courses would still be available to interested students.”
Addendum November 11, 2009
IB Review 2008
From the IB syllabus: “The IB Diploma Programme geography syllabus was revamped to reflect the most pressing threats to the future of the planet and the ways in which they can be addressed.
The new syllabus, for which students will first sit exams in 2011, is designed to encompass the United Nations’ millennium development goals, particularly those concerning poverty reduction, gender equality, improvements in health and education, and environmental sustainability.
Students must evaluate progress towards UN goals and take a close look at major global issues including population migration, global warming, biodiversity and resource availability.
The syllabus also offers seven optional themes that increase the subject’s relevance to a modern audience: freshwater issues and conflicts and their coastal margins; extreme environments; hazards and disasters; leisure, sport and tourism; the geography of food and health; and urban environments.