International Baccalaureate alert
Issues and Action in Education
An e-letter produced by EdWatch, a nonprofit organization.
November 10, 2005
EdWatch is forwarding this press release from PABBIS with the note that many school districts are now quietly adopting IB because federal grant money is available to offset some of the costs. State legislatures are also passing funding measures to offset the additional IB costs. Taxpayers always pay the extra cost, however, regardless of which pot it is taken from. Please discuss these issues with other parents, your local school boards, and legislators.
Talking points include the fact that IB curriculum is set by an international body. Student tests are forwarded to Geneva, Switzerland for scoring, and a foreign data base collects and stores the personal, values-laden data on individual American students. IB is an outrageous violation of local control. It also teaches the value of global citizenship. -- EdWatch
PABBIS - Parents Against Bad Books In Schools
9 November 2005 News Release www.pabbis.com
Cracking India - A Typical International Baccalaureate Program Book, A Typical Curriculum Book Challenge
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Program is now in over 500 schools in the United States. On average it costs taxpayers about $200,000 per year over regular school expenses to have the IB program in a school. This is more than twice the cost of having an Advanced Placement (AP) program. The IB program is run by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) in Geneva.
The IB program was started in the 1960's and in the 1990's UNESCO got involved with the "aim of testing the feasibility of creating an international education system" according to the September 1999 issue of its Educational Innovation and Information newsletter titled "A Culture of Peace." In a statement called "The Road to Peace," UNESCO said: "Let it be a school of values, of attitudes, above all of practical action..." [Information from The Washington Times, January 18, 2004 article by George Archibald]
Thomas Sowell discussed the IB program in a February 26, 2004 column in The Washington Times and said the IB program was "one of the endless series of fad programs that distract American public schools from real education in real subjects" and it had "a left-wing hidden agenda." He quoted a parent critical of the program as saying it, "promotes socialism, disarmament, radical environmentalism and moral relativism, while attempting to undermine Christian religious values and national sovereignty."
A June 30, 2004 article in EdWatch (www.edwatch.org), by Allen Quist said "IB themes taken together constitute a worldview--an overall philosophy of life. According to UNESCO, the worldview taught by IB includes the promotion of the Earth Charter (a religious/pantheistic document), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (which views human rights the same way Communist countries view human rights) and multiculturalism (which is based on the ideology of Italian Marxist, Antonio Gramsci)." Quist also says that, "America's foundational principles of national sovereignty, natural law and inalienable rights are at odds with the IB curriculum and are not taught." and that "IB is a transformational system of education which exists to promote internationalism. It is structured to change the attitudes, values, beliefs and behavior of its students to conform to the world government system." [Bold emphasis - PABBIS]
The IB program is nearly always introduced into schools at the initiative of the school system, rather than at the request of parents. The IB program almost always pushes out the AP classes and the IB program has much less focus on advanced science and math classes. IB classes and tests result in students receiving little or no college course credit compared to what they would obtain for AP classes and tests.
In addition to all the above concerns, PABBIS receives a greatly disproportionate number of complaints about books from parents of children in the IB program. Some parents have not entered or have withdrawn from the IB program just to avoid running the gauntlet of controversial IB program books. Some of the previous PABBIS News on books used in the Fairfax County, VA IB program is at the end of this article.
Shortly after school started this fall, the parent of an 11th grade IB program student in Florida got upset about a book, Cracking India, that her child was (supposedly) required to read. This book had explicit language, a description of a 9-year old girl's encounter with her teenage cousin's genitilia and being propositioned by him for oral sex, and the girl later having sexual fantasies. The book was being used for the first time this year. The parent started her interaction with the teacher and school which went like this:
1) The parent requested another book for her child. The teacher refused and threatened the parent that her child would have to read the book or withdraw from the class and IB program. This threat/lie is common in the IB program when parents want an alternative book for their child.
2) The Principal said the teacher used Cracking India since it was recommended in the IB training the teacher had attended. This type of "training" is one reason why IB is more expensive. PABBIS wonders where this training was conducted. In Fairfax County training for AP teachers occurs locally. IB teacher training occurs all around the country and world. In 2002 a Fairfax County IB coordinator traveled to Bangkok to deliver a speech entitled "The Community of Caring."
3) The Principal said the student had to read specific books in IB and not doing so could cause the student to have "problems in the future." Quote from September 13, 2005 article by Linda Trimble [ http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJournalOnline/News/WestVolusia/03WVolWEST01091305.htm ]
3) The Principal eventually offered the parent an alternative book. The IB program allows other books to be used and the parent should have been told this in the first place instead of being lied to and threatened. Note that even with the alternative book the parent and student are still under the vague threat of "problems in the future."
4) The parent challenged the book. The parent expressed concern that the parents of the other children in the class didn't know what was in the book.
5) The Principal made statements about everything being in the open and how parents knew what was coming, how nothing is hidden, how parents were warned and signed and returned a letter saying they agreed. Statements like these are often made but the truth is different. The parents simply received a list of books that said there was college level material in the class. This is very typical - the school does not inform parents about specifics of controversial content in the books. When parents find out they get upset. The parents begin to not trust the school because they are surprised by the graphic nature of the material. The schools distort the truth saying things like the principal did in this case and that makes parents distrust the schools even more. It is ironic that in the IB program, which is very big on multi-culturalism and values, that there is no respect for parents and students whose culture and values don't include graphic and explicit material.
6) Various people from inside and outside the school system say things like the parent shouldn't be able to challenge the book because an alternative is allowed.
7) The school system and/or media get some outside expert (normally ALA, ACLU, NCTE and their affiliates) to make a statement on why the challenge is flawed. One of the statements that showed up in this case was by Pat Scales, who is the author of (surprise!) Teaching Banned Books. She often shows up in the press on book challenges making statements about how no parent has the right pick books for a child other than their child. She never says how this really means challenges to books should not even be allowed. She never says how the school is picking books for children other than theirs.
8) The school system and/or media get the author of the book to make a comment on the challenge. The author nearly always makes a statement (surprise!) against the challenge. In this case the author said the controversial material was "just high jinks" and implied somehow it was different because the 9-year old didn't provide the oral sex. The author said the oral sex encounter was "very innocent." [Author quotes from September 13, 2005 Orlando Sentinel article by Erika Hobbs.]
9) The school system forms a book challenge committee with membership designed, as usual, to achieve the desired pre-determined outcome: School right, parent wrong.
10 The committee decided the book was fine and recommended the challenge not be approved. During deliberations and in discussions after, constant note was made of the fact that the parent had the "option" of an alternative book. The committee's recommendation was sent to the Superintendent. Hmmm, wonder what the Superintendent will decide? Parent right, school wrong, committee wrong? - NOT!
11) The district's reading and language-arts specialist (Sue Schilsky) said, "They [students] have to be exposed to things that are not necessarily comfortable" and "The decision we make today is far-reaching." [District specialist quotes from November, 2005 Orlando Sentinel article by Ken Ma. Bold emphasis - PABBIS]. Schilsky sounds a little confused - according to everything decided the parent and student can select an alternative book and not "be exposed." However, Schilsky's comment is very revealing in that it shows she (and many others) really want to MAKE your child read the book.
And so it goes, and without respect for parental rights and Upfront Informed Parental Consent it will continue to go like this. Why won't schools provide parents the specifics of controversial material in books BEFORE students read them? Are they embarrassed of the content? Do they have some hidden agenda? Do they really want to MAKE your child read the book?
A September 13, 2005 article on WESH.com about Cracking India quoted the Principal as saying, "International Baccalaureate not only featured it, they had their top person for IB North America leading this week-long in-depth study."
More and more parents are becoming aware what the IB program is about and what is in IB program books.
Previous PABBIS News on books used in the Fairfax County, VA IB program
One Hundred Years of Solitude - required reading for rising IB 11th graders (17 July 2003 and 29 June 2004 PABBIS News). The author of this book, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, an aging socialist, is an ardent supporter of the Cuban Government. The two main themes of this dreamlike book, from the so-called "magical realism" genre, are solitude and incest. One review said this book "has a lot of violence, much incestuous sex, and plenty of anti-capitalism and anti-clericism." Another said there is "enough incest to keep those with even the shortest attention spans turning pages." Raping your sister, sex with another sister, sex with your aunt, a "zoological brothel" where dog gives stud services to be fed, a child with a "raw back" whose grandmother makes her service 70 men a night for 20 cents each, a male prostitute with a huge sexual organ, balancing beer on his "inconceivable maleness," are some of the controversial material. See PABBIS Excerpts for more controversial material.
Bless Me Ultima - required reading for rising IB 9th graders (17 July 2003 PABBIS News). See PABBIS Excerpts for controversial material.
The House of Spirits - required reading for IB 11th graders (8 March 2001 PABBIS News). Contains graphic details of sexual acts, rape, physical abuse, torture and killing of animals and people, bestiality, child molestation, drug use, prostitution, and necrophilia. Vulgar and perverted content is pervasive throughout the book. Among the numerous sexual and violent passages in this book is a detailed description of a man in a sexual/strangulation scene with a 6-year-old girl. Elsewhere in this book, a child watches a man kiss her sister's naked corpse (intestines already removed) on the lips, the neck, the breasts and between the legs. See PABBIS Excerpts for more controversial material.
The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea - required reading for IB 11th graders (8 March 2001 PABBIS News). This book is about a 12-year old Japanese boy who is able to spy into his widowed mother's bedroom through a hole in the wall. He is able to see her having sex with her sailor boyfriend. The mother makes plans to marry the sailor. The boy and his friends discuss how much they hate "fathers" and they plot to kill the sailor. They experiment on a kitten, torturing and mutilating it. By the end of the book, they have drugged the sailor, brandished a knife and are donning rubber gloves to kill him. The book is full of graphic and vulgar descriptions of sexual acts and violence. See PABBIS Excerpts for more controversial material.
Chronicle of a Death Foretold - required reading for IB 11th graders (8 March 2001 PABBIS News). See PABBIS Excerpts for controversial material.
Town Hall on Book Selection (16 May 2002 PABBIS News) - A speaker said, "My children sought alternate books. This was a very emotionally painful experience for my children. Often friendly teachers would turn cold towards them, and some were openly hostile. We were very grateful to those few teachers who were tolerant of a differing opinion of a book. Both of my daughters had to pull out of IB English courses and switch to regular level courses to facilitate these changes in reading material."
105 Peavey Road, Suite 116, Chaska, MN 55318
EdWatch is entirely user-supported. The continuation of our research and distribution work is entirely dependent upon individual contributors. If you want to assure that our work continues, click here. If you want to subscribe or unsubscribe to this EdWatch e-mail service, mail to: email@example.com. Put "subscribe" or "unsubscribe" in the SUBJECT of the message. Resources of videos, books, and audiotapes are available on our shopping cart.