International Baccalaureate (IB)

Feeling the Heat

By Julie M. Quist

Issues and Action in Education

An e-letter produced by EdWatch, a nonprofit organization.

July 3, 2006

"Federal funding for International Baccalaureate has been allocated from the Advanced Placement Program for a number of years." (See "Federal 2007 Appropriations Bill" below.)
        New resources opposing IB are popping up across the country. Opposition in Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania has spawned an active website after the Upper St. Clair school board voted to drop its IB program last February. The American Civil Liberties Union retaliated by trying, and they are still trying, to bust the district's budget in court. The board was forced to temporarily reinstate IB to avoid an expensive lawsuit. The Pennsylvania website posts two sample IB exams that reveal the Marxist, multi-cultural and feminist political worldview of the IB curriculum. (These will soon be posted on the EdWatch website.) Sample IB Exam Questions 1 and Sample IB Exam Questions 2.

"This led to an identification with other peoples of color on a global level because of a shared history of victimization by whites. Many of the women did not accept official versions of the terrorists [9/11] as madmen. Their scepticism over the media portrayals offers further evidence of their marginal position as Americans. During such moments in the discussions their position as blacks became the most important characteristic of their cultural identity. One of the women, Stella, hypothesized that being black allowed for greater compassion towards the terrorists than whites would have."
And another:
"[However,] the women’s role as mothers was even more powerful than their disconnection from America, and challenged it. […] In talking, their frequent self-positioning as mothers was connected to the rejection of violence as a solution to the September 11 attacks. […] One woman, Nadine, said, “I noticed that men and women have different views, as far as what we were experiencing, and how it should be handled all the females were like, more killing is not going to make it better. And men were like, the testosterone was on high.” […] In her protective maternal role she refused to support America’s war. [However, as the mother of a Marine] she [stated]: “I am proud of him…”. Her role as mother [once again] connected her to America."
Sample questions:
"How can the notion of ethnicity be used to promote or control the position of a group in society?"
"Discuss how honour or shame or purity is used in the exercise of power and authority."
        One former IB student, now at the Fordham Foundation, wrote the following:
"...literary merit wasn't in the mind of those who created the reading lists in my IB English classes; multiculturalism and gender concerns were. After reading some Shakespeare and Dickens's classic Tale of Two Cities, our dead-white-guy quota was just about full...Some of these books were bad, others were quite good. But those Western classics that form the foundation of our literary canon -­ The Sun Also Rises, The Grapes of Wrath, The Scarlet Letter -­ were absent. So, too, the poetry of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman.
"Literature that had stood the test of time was sacrificed for contemporary works that addressed immediate cultural or feminist struggles. The absence of Western classics is not merely frustrating; it's a serious and inexcusable omission that deprives students of an essential piece of cultural currency. And it's particularly disgraceful to forgo teaching such important works because of dubious diversity concerns. This was not the core knowledge I had been promised."
Other recent sources of information regarding IB are: THE EARTH CHARTER
        In a sudden move that reflects mounting opposition to the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, IB recently removed its name from the official list of endorsers of the Earth Charter Initiative. The Earth Charter advocates the following:

1. The redistribution of wealth between nations and within nations [Art. 10.a.]
2. Same-sex marriage [Art. 12.a.]
3. Spiritual education [Art 14.d.] which means education in Pantheism.
4. Military disarmament [Art. 16.d.&e.]
5. Creation of an international agency to make the Earth Charter binding on all nations [in The Way Forward action-plan.]

        The reversal appears to be pure cosmetic, however, since the Deputy Director General of IB, Dr. Ian Hill, is a member of the Earth Charter's founding Education Advisory Committee. In 2002, that committee reported the following:
The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) has undertaken to examine the potential use of the Earth Charter in the following subject areas within its curriculum: Theory of Knowledge; Environmental Systems; Environmental Science; Technology and Social Change; Peace and Conflict Studies; the Experimental Sciences; Philosophy; History; Geography; Maths; and the Arts.
        In a revealing e-mail exchange with a concerned parent at Beechwood Elementary School in Fullerton, California, Dr. Hill clarified the position of IB in relation to the Earth Charter. The parent, Kristine Spadt, writes:
To avoid any confusion as to the IBO position on the Earth Charter, I contacted the organization and asked about the relationship between the Charter and the current IBO curriculum. I received a timely response from Dr. Ian Hill himself. He wrote: "We did an analysis of existing topics…with the content of the Earth Charter and found that we already covered much of it if schools took up our suggestions for content..." Dr. Ian Hill went on to close his e-mail by writing, "So, the IBO endorses the Earth Charter and suggests
many topics which promote it."
         Considering the founding role Dr. Hill played in the development of the Earth Charter's educational action plan, it comes as no surprise that IB's own publication, "Myths and Facts," also acknowledges that IB "promotes the Earth Charter." (p. 9) Yet, IB advocates frequently deny any association between IB and the Earth Charter.

        UNESCO, the educational arm of the UN, is another key and current endorser of the Earth Charter, and also its chief partner. UNESCO also partners closely with IB, funds IB projects, and has granted IB the status of “formal consultative relations as a network”. (See, IBO reference link.) UNESCO delivers the Earth Charter curriculum to schools around the globe, including the U.S., through the Earth Charter/UNESCO curriculum, Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (DESD ).

        For example, the Earth Charter Guidebook for Teachers quotes UNESCO's 2003 resolution "recognizing the Earth Charter as an important ethical framework for sustainable development" and affirming its intention “to utilize the Earth Charter as an educational instrument, particularly in the framework of the United Nations Decade for Education for Sustainable Development”. (p. 8)

        In short, the principles and goals of the Earth Charter have deep roots into the IB curriculum through established curriculum and high level formal and informal relationships.

        The President's American Competitive Initiative was introduced promoting both Advanced Placement and IB. While some of the Initiative's Fact Sheets still link AP with IB, references to IB have disappeared from discussions of the proposals and the President's speeches. The Senate's early proposal to fund the President's Initiative (S 2198) included direct funding for IB, but the 2007 House Appropriations Bill (HR 5647) that passed the Appropriations Committee last month funds the President's Initiative with $43 million additional money for Advanced Placement, with no mention of IB.

       All of this suggests a growing caution in some political arenas with respect to promoting IB in an election year, as opposition to the program grows. However, EdWatch has discovered that federal funding for IB has been allocated from the Advanced Placement Program for a number of years. In 2004, for example, the US Department of Education granted $1.17 million from its Advanced Placement Incentive Program to implement IB. Annual federal Advanced Placement funding increased from $7 million in 2001 to over $22 million in 2005.

        Funding Advanced Placement, then, becomes a way to disguise the funding of International Baccalaureate. Leaving references to IB out of the federal funding bill protects all members of Congress from a vote that directly funds IB. Stay tune for more information coming on this issue.

Julie M. Quist

To learn more about these education issues order America's Schools: The Battleground for Freedom,  by Allen Quist

See also International Baccalaureate and The Earth Charter's Unholy Ark

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See also Brave New Schools, Chapter 2: The International Agenda