International Baccalaureate on the Culture Wars battlefield 78

Last month, the Upper St. Clair, Penn., school board voted, 5-4, to terminate the well-regarded International Baccalaureate program. Their reasons cited were its cost and the parent organization’s association with the Earth Charter.

Similar efforts to can the program have popped up in other communities scattered around the country, including Minnetonka, Minn., Cherry Hill, Penn., Fairfax, Va., and San Diego, Calif. The campaign against IB parallels Christocratic political moves in Kansas and Dover, Penn., against teaching evolution and the Big Bang in science classes.

This growing movement against the IB program is yet another example of the Culture Wars led by right-wing religious and political groups. Their principal complaints are that the IB program is anti-American, pantheistic, pro-globalism, pro-evolution, pro-Marxist and pro-gay and lesbian.

And, they say, the IB program diverts students from a “real” education, one that presumably has them read the right books, say the right things, learn how great the U.S. is, and learn their math tables by heart. A “real” education, in their view, apparently does not include learning how to synthesize and analyze data, weigh disparate viewpoints, and see the U.S. as merely one nation among hundreds.

As is usual in cases like this one, the opponents tend not only to exaggerate their claims, but tend to mindlessly repeat the same objections without ever checking their veracity. So far, they seem to be a fringe element, as even Pres. George W. Bush favors the IB program. Fringe elements –for example, the intelligent design movement — lately have tended to become influential beyond their numbers, so examining this anti-IB trend is worth the effort.

The International Baccalaureate program was developed in 1968 in Geneva, Switzerland, to provide students worldwide a common college-preparatory program. The original objective was to facilitate the college admission of diplomats’ children, but has since expanded to include the lower grades and students whose parents may never leave their home country.

While the International Baccalaureate Organization develops the program’s curricula and grants the IB diplomas, local school systems actually administer and teach the program. They pay the IBO annual fees to belong to the IB system and use the IB materials.

In Kentucky, four schools use the secondary level IB curriculum, Atherton High School and Sacred Heart Academy in Louisville, Holmes High School in Covington, and Apollo High School in Owensboro. There are seven IB secondary schools in Indiana, five in Indianapolis alone. None use the middle and lower school programs.

About 500 schools in the U.S. have adopted the IB program, recognizing its educational rigor and depth, as well as the advantages its graduates have in gaining college admission. Many colleges apparently put IB graduates’ applications in the “A” pile, meaning they look at those folders first.

Unlike the College Board Advanced Placement program, taking the IB subject tests does not guarantee college credit or placement. Some critics apparently have somehow taken that difference to mean that colleges do not recognize the IB program at all, a gross misrepresentation.

IB critics distrust any infringement on local control of schools. Even Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act is suspect. Their language echoes that of other right-wing nationalistic groups like the John Birch Society and conservative Christians like Pat Robertson, who fear the rise of a godless, world government bent on destroying the U.S.A. and our “way of life.”

The anti-IB faction tends to focus on two issues. One is the IBO’s association with global ecology and human rights agreements and with UNESCO, the United Nation’s education agency. The other is its stated multicultural focus, which would be expected of a curriculum intended for use worldwide.

Both objections are rooted in the belief that IB is a flagrant takeover of local schools by an irreligious, left-wing foreign organization bent on creating a world educational system antithetical to Christianity and the “American way.”

Education for a Free Nation, based in Chaska, Minn., leads the fight against IB. Its officers and staff members have the expected right-wing Republican and conservative Christian associations. The Edwatch mission statement says:

EdWatch is committed to educating the public about the unprecedented movement of the U.S. workforce, the U.S. economy and the entire educational system toward a centrally planned and controlled federal system.

EdWatch is working with business leaders to alert them to the undermining of America’s free market economy and constitutional freedoms by the restructuring of education and the workforce.

EdWatch is working with parents toward a broad, knowledge-based education that meets the objectives of parents, schools, school boards and businesses.

Specifically, Edwatch objects to IB for the following reasons (I am paraphrasing here):

  • IB is transformational education, not knowledge-based education.
  • IB curriculum is pantheistic and multicultural and subscribes to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which EdWatch associates with communism and marxism.
  • Colleges do not accept IB courses as fulfilling undergraduate requirements for admission. This statement they base on a single Jan. 18, 2004, article in the right-wing rag, The Washington TImes, which I have not been able to access.
  • “America’s foundational principles of national sovereignty, natural law and inalienable rights are at odds with the IB curriculum and are not taught. IBO explicitly states that its curriculum does not follow the political system of any particular nation, including the United States.” – a direct quote

In summary, 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. Dr. Ian Hill, Deputy Director of IBO, recently said that the primary goal of IBO is the promotion of “world citizenship.” –also a direct quote

OK, that’s pretty clear, then. IB is part of the New World Order and an educational fraud. is the website of the political action committee of Education for a Free Nation. It repeats the same objections as EdWatch word for word, and in fact, shares the same mailing address and the same officers. EdAction also opposes the No Child Left Behind Act and other efforts to, as it says, permit state and federal government “takeover of education” at the local level.

Parents Against Bad Books in Schools is another anti-IB group, as evidenced in this press release on the EdWatch site. Here, PABBIS objects to specific books used in the IB curriculum in Florida and Fairfax, Va. Its complaints are similar to those in other book-challenge cases nationwide. EdWatch and PABBIS level the usual criticisms at IB in general, though.

Prefacing the release is the following remark:

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.

Believe it or not, these are the more reasonable objections to IB. Similar objections have been raised to national curricular reforms, including the “New Math” and reading programs that deemphasize phonics. Like other conservative education groups, the anti-IB crowd wants schools to return to using McGuffey readers, rote learning of arithmetic, and learning about the primacy of the U.S. in the world, pedagogical systems that were abandoned decades ago.

Their objection to relinquishing curricular control to a foreign organization is not a valid complaint, since the local schools actually administer the IB curriculum, using the international corpus of material as the foundation for local implementation. IB test scores are probably as secure as those kept by the Educational Testing Service in New Jersey, which administers the Advanced Placement program anti-IBers frequently suggest as a worthy replacement for IB.

Arguing that IB is not content-based is also far from accurate, since the IB program expects mastery on the level of the College Board AP program or the United Kingdom’s A-level program. It is by no means “touchy-feely” or developmental education.

Beyond the pedagogical and curricular issues, however, the anti-IB objections get really bizarre. The IBO is a partner with UNESCO in global education issues and programs,but UNESCO has no direct involvement with IBO’s curricular development or administration. UNESCO is a signatory to the Earth Charter, which means, the anti-IB crowd claims, so is the IBO. (In the 1950s, this situation was called “guilt by association.”) The connection with the Charter means the IB program fosters specific anti-American and anti-Christian beliefs and attitudes among its students, EdWatch says.

Consider this quote from the EdWatch site:

The Earth Charter is a broadly defined religious and political document that promotes the following positions:

1. Earth worship (pantheism)
2. Socialized medicine
3. World government
4. Abortion on-demand
5. Education for sustainability including spiritual education in New Age/pantheism
6. Adoption of the gay rights agenda
7. Elimination of the right to bear arms

Now the actual charter, encompassing all of six pages, says nothing of the kind. Even reading between the lines fails to turn up anything specifically promoting pantheism, abortion, homosexuality or banning the “right” to bear arms. But then again, I’m not a paranoid, right-wing wacko.

Here are the four main principles in the Charter, all of them far from sinister in nature:

  • Respect Earth and life in all its diversity.
  • Care for the community of life with understanding, compassion, and love.
  • Build democratic societies that are just, participatory, sustainable, and peaceful.
  • Secure Earth’s bounty and beauty for present and future generations.

To secure these goals, the charter then goes on to list objectives of ecological integrity, social and economic justice, and democracy, nonviolence and peace. Some might be construed as socialistic and pro-animal rights, but since the charter is not legally binding on any signatory or government, the objections are either just smear tactics or the delusions of paranoid, right-wing wackos.

While now just a blip in the news, the anti-IB movement is likely to grow in strength, as other sympathetic, right-wing groups adopt its rhetoric and take up its cause. Witness this article from a typical conservative website.

Educators and parents who value their children’s education would do well to keep an eye out for these people. While IB is not widespread, the objections to it could be applied to any of a number of important educational programs. Intelligent design is not the only threat to a decent public school education.

The Earth Charter in Action: Toward a Sustainable World

Supertest: How the International Baccalaureate Can Strengthen Our SchoolsSupertest: How the International Baccalaureate Can Strengthen Our Schools

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78 thoughts on “International Baccalaureate on the Culture Wars battlefield

  1. Reply eljefe Mar 15,2006 11:40 am

    I, too, am bewildered by the nuttiness of some of these types. They belong in the same groups that see the UN as some kind of “commie one-worlder” plot to overthrow the US — an idea that is at least 50-60 years old now and as stupid now as then. What gets me is that they never look beyond those “code words” to see that there is much of value in IB and in the literature they reject out-of-hand.

    I would bet many of these same people see the Harry Potter books and films as satanic plots to corrupt our youth, without seeing the quintessential elements of some great coming-of-age literature. Kids actually read the damn books! So far mine have not joined covens or sacrificed any goats.

    Thanks for your compliments. Come back soon!

  2. Reply Dave Eaton Mar 15,2006 9:48 am

    I’m very glad to discover your blog through the Tangled Bank. I am a research chemist born and raised in Kentucky, a product of the public schools there. I miss a lot about living there.

    I always wonder at how some , ahem, right-leaning good christian people see ‘code words’ about homosexuality and abortion everywhere. Makes me wonder where their mind is.

    I think of myself as center libertarian (impractical, yes, but I’m already impractical, I’m a scientist!) and can’t for the life of me see why following a well-developed curriculum, regardless of origin, is erosive of local control. I’d be inclined to agree that some of the politics at the UN are nutty at times, but much of the scientific and educational work is quite good. Not all, of course, but being critical and selective is something we are never free of, I think. But the effort to tar with a broad brush anything associated with it seems, hmm, a little paranoid, perhaps?

    I read your earlier posts about Einstein and Ernie Fletcher (damn, that’s as close to blasphemy as I’ve ever come by my lights, listing them together in the same sentence). I look forward to reading your stuff in the future.

  3. Reply Larry Riley Feb 12,2008 5:13 pm

    I have recently been doing some research into IB as a program has recently been started in my area. I was glad to run across your blog. I wouldn’t let my son within a mile of an IB school after reading your dogmatic defense of it.

  4. Reply wheatdogg Feb 13,2008 11:19 am

    Larry —

    I’m not sure what you mean by “dogmatic.” I teach high school, so I have some familiarity, if not experience, with IB. It is a stellar program. Despite what some allege, it is not “run” by a central body thousands of miles away. Local school officials administer the program, within the guidelines set by the IB program. Advanced Placement, the College Board program, has similar guidelines for much the same purpose. An IB diploma (or AP credit) should represent the same thing no matter where a student has earned it.

    I am sorry to see that you have such a negative response to IB. It is substantially more stringent than the typical US school curriculum, so IB students really have to learn their stuff. Your son would benefit from it, in my opinion. Before making any snap judgments, you should try to talk with students and parents with IB experience.

    What part of the country are you from?

  5. Reply wheatdogg Feb 13,2008 11:26 am

    This reference is limited to the sciences (bio, chem and physics) and apparently is not available on line, but the abstract states that IB students out-perform students in regular programs. I would offer that as evidence that IB is a superb program.

  6. Reply Larry Riley Feb 18,2008 6:52 pm

    I went ahead and attended the local school district presentation for the IB program starting in our area. One of the stated goals of the program is to teach the students to be “compassionate thinkers”. If that doesn’t send shivvers up your spine…

  7. Reply wheatdogg Feb 19,2008 8:55 pm

    Well, it doesn’t — my kids are, IMHO. I don’t understand your objection, really.

    But, that said, it sounds like your district’s touchy-feely educators have gotten a hold of IB and are pushing its global-cultural awareness aspect instead of its rigourous curriculum. Too bad, as they will probably turn off a lot of parents who get alarmed at IB’s tree-hugger appeal.

    And what school district is this, again?

  8. Reply ObserverNY Mar 27,2009 7:21 am

    What a shame that a teacher is unable to present any alleged positives of IB without bashing those Americans who oppose it.

    I, for one, am sick and tired of being told to watch out for black helicopters and that those like me, who have questioned IB, are nothing more than religious nutjob conspiracy theorists.

    IBO is nothing more than junk education and a scam. It is a waste of our hard earned taxdollars and is left-wing UN indoctrination with a designer label slapped on it for better marketing.

  9. Reply eljefe Mar 30,2009 2:35 am

    Well, ObserverNY, if your opposition was based on anything halfway reasonable, I would not have to bash you. Instead, you seem to have started with a false impression of the IB program and conflated it with fears of a liberal/socialist propaganda machine. I mean, “black helicopters” and “left-wing UN indoctrination?” WTF are you talking about? If you don’t want to be labeled a “religious nutjob conspiracy theorist,” then don’t act like one.

    I visited your website. It repeats basically the same crapola that EdWatch and others have on their sites, although I will compliment you for sharing positive comments about IB from students and parents. Few real “nutjobs” are willing to give the opposition time to support IB.

    The purpose of IB is not to take over the US education system. IB exists so that universities worldwide can more accurately judge the educational preparation of their applicants. To put in another way, an IB diploma from Malaysia means the same thing as one from Salinas, Kansas. Both students have studied the same material, done similar work and passed the same examinations.

    The IB curriculum is rigorous and proven. So, some school districts, in an effort to beef up their college prep programs, have adopted or are considering adopting IB. It’s a lot easier, and ultimately more effective, than starting one from scratch.

    Considering how poorly American students compare to foreign students in science, math, geography and foreign languages, a little rigor should not be a bad thing. To me, your objections sound like you’re afraid your children might actually learn something useful.

  10. Reply ObserverNY Mar 30,2009 7:13 am


    “The IB curriculum is rigorous and proven.”

    *sigh* One of these days, defenders of IB are going to be able to come up with a different adjective than “rigorous”. IBO has coined the repeated usage of this word in its marketing campaign and apparently people like you are brainwashed into believing it to be a positive descriptor of what education should be. If you look up the definition of “rigorous”, it is not a terribly positive word.

    IB is an expensive product, nothing more, nothing less. It is sold to Superintendents who want to put a designer label on their districts that sets them “apart” from other traditional school systems. These Supts. in turn sell it to their Boards of Education who slip it in behind the community’s back. Once in place, it is very difficult to get rid of because none of the “powers that be” want to admit that it was a bad investment. Kids prefer AP. When given the choice, very few CHOOSE IB. IB is NOT proven, has not been proven in its 40 year existence and survives on its rhetorical sales-pitches which are entirely hearsay from other IB schools.

    “To put in another way, an IB diploma from Malaysia means the same thing as one from Salinas, Kansas. Both students have studied the same material, done similar work and passed the same examinations.”

    Untrue. Even here in this blog, there is disparity between whether IB is merely a “framework” within which teachers write their own curriculum or as you claim, the same material around the world. It is this MAJOR incongruity which exposes the weakness of the alleged value of an IB Diploma. The student in Malaysia may be taking IB HL Islamic History and HL IB Math while the student in Kansas is more likely taking IB HL History of the Americas and IB SL Math Studies. Totally different courses, totally different exams.

    Your need to try and equate my objections to IB to “fears” of my children learning something useful, are laughable. My son earned his BFA and is a successful lighting designer and happily married, and my daughter is on the Deans List at NYU. Surely you can come up with a better defense of IB than trying to insult my children.

  11. Reply eljefe Mar 31,2009 4:06 am

    “Rigorous” has several meanings, you know. I am using the word in the sense of “strict precision” and “logically accurate,” which is the sense used most often in education circles. For example, I used to teach two courses in physics, a conceptual course, and another, more rigorous course that required trigonometry and algebra II skills. AP courses are “rigorous.” IBO uses “rigorous” in the same sense, but it has not “coined” the usage of the word. Rigorous is a fairly common word in the education world, particularly at the university level.

    Students would call those course “hard,” though.

    IB may be expensive, but so are AP exams, which are running close to $90 a pop now. Of course, only AP students and their families have to shoulder that burden, not an entire school district. The per capita cost of IB can’t be that oppressive. Do you have any concrete figures to support your claim?

    “Kids prefer AP.”
    That’s a sweeping generalization, and I have no data one way or another to support or refute the claim. I wonder if you do. Students can select AP courses, but are not required to take all of their subjects at the AP level. IB is an all-or-nothing deal, however, so I wouldn’t be surprised that kids would rather take one or two APs instead of a full load of “hard” courses.

    “IB is NOT proven …”
    Then why is it still being used in more than 2,000 schools in 125 countries? According to this report, there are more than 570,000 students worldwide in IB programs. I find it hard to believe that IB’s “rhetorical sales pitches” have managed to hoodwink 2,000 school administrations and a half-million families into participating in an “unproven” program.

    “Totally different courses, totally different exams”
    Clearly, a student in Malaysia is not going to take American History, and vice versa. You took my meaning too literally. I meant that IB courses (history, for example) follow the same pedagogical principles and have similar expectations of students. It is not a “MAJOR incongruity,” as you allege, to expect schools in different parts of the world to focus on their national history and cultural expectations, while also ensuring the quality of instruction and student work is equivalent.

    IB does require schools, teachers and students to follow a specific curriculum. While teachers have some leeway in the methods they use to instruct students, they still have to follow the IB “scope and sequence” of material. The same is true for the AP program; I taught AP Physics C-level for more than 20 years. There was no time to deviate from the AP Physics C-level curriculum if I wanted to prepare my students for the national exam in May. Yet, I hear few complaints from teachers, students or parents about the overly restrictive AP curriculum that takes local control away from local schools.

    For that matter, many states have their own “scope and sequence” documents for subjects in the public schools. These curriculum documents are usually handed down from the state education board to local schools; some curricula are pretty specific.

    I wasn’t trying to insult your children. I don’t pretend that IB is the be-all-end-all system of education. My own children are also very successful, and neither attended an IB school. Both took a bundle of AP courses, though. IB is not suitable for every student, or for every school district. If a local community rejects IB, no big deal, but such decisions should be made rationally, on the basis of the educational value of the program. Policy decisions should not be made on emotional appeals based on misinformation and unfounded fears of a “new world order,” left-wing UN indoctrination, or supposed anti-Christian teachings.

    In my post, I mentioned four schools by name; three I am familiar with: Apollo in Owensboro, and Atherton and Sacred Heart in Louisville, Kentucky. These are all fine schools, with excellent reputations in Kentucky, a very conservative state. None have become hotbeds of anti-Christian dissent, communist party cells, or satellites of a supposed world conspiracy. And, it might be noted, not everyone in these schools are enrolled in IB. The IB programs are “schools within schools.” To the best of my recollection, no one seriously objected to instituting IB in either Owensboro or Louisville. Has New York now become more conservative than even Kentucky?

  12. Reply ObserverNY Mar 31,2009 7:35 am


    My, what an interesting change of “voice” in your second post. I don’t have time this morning to rebut your post point by point, most of your points, especially the cost issue, are specifically addressed on my website with verifiable documentation to back up my position. If you have time, I will be on a live webcast this morning on KFAB radio with Scott Voorhees at 10:05 AM, EST. Parents in Omaha, Nebraska, are unhappy about their district becoming IB K-12 and I have been invited to speak out on the issue.

    I would like to share with you this letter to the editor written by the union President from Marblehead, MA:

    The teacher’s number of 40 is interesting. It is the exact number claimed by the Principal in my district the year IB began. So far, we have had three IB graduating classes. The first class had 24 IB Diploma recipients, the 2nd 14, and the 3rd 20. IB can’t even live up to an exaggerated minimal number of 40 when the Truth is told.

    In conclusion, I ask you, elfje, what would you say to a student who asked the following ridiculous question:
    ******* Has New York now become more conservative than even Kentucky? *******
    What kind of thinking allows for such gross generalizations and prejudicial perception?

  13. Reply eljefe Apr 1,2009 11:35 am

    My last remark is known as sarcasm, ObserverNY. You might try to lighten up a little. I was not seriously trying to make any gross generalizations or prejudical perceptions. I have lived more than 20 years each in New York and Kentucky, and I know as well as anyone each state has liberals and conservatives both.

    To be frank, if you and other anti-IB folks would limit your objections to educational or pedagogical methods, per capita costs for IB programs, and results of IB programs, I would probably have more patience dealing with you. You lose me (and other educators) when you start alleging all kinds of IB conspiracies to undermine religion, American values, and “traditional” education. These allegations conjure up visions of loonies in tinfoil hats seeing sinister conspiracies everywhere.

    That said, the teacher in Marblehead approaches the issue in a logical, sensible way. IB costs money, and if the high school is in fact in such a sad state, spending money on IB does seem like a waste of money. With the economy in the toilet right now, and so many home foreclosures, property tax revenues will be very low for quite a while. Buying new textbooks and hiring teachers seems a better use of tax revenue than paying for IB materials.

    I worked for 23 years at a private high school in Kentucky. At one point several years ago, we considered becoming an IB school. We ultimately rejected the notion for two main reasons: it costs money, which we did not have much of at the time, and its curriculum and expectations of students were pretty similar to the ones we already had. We had pragmatic reasons, not emotional ones.

    Your district apparently has an IB program in place. What are those graduates doing now? Where are they? What do they say about the experience? And for that matter, your kids have graduated — why are you griping about IB? Are current parents also upset about the program, or are you a voice in the wilderness?

    If the KFAB program is available online, I’ll try to listen to it, but not live.

    Lastly, a piece of advice: don’t capitalize the “t” in “truth,” unless you mean some kind of divine truth. It sends the wrong message.

  14. Reply eljefe Apr 1,2009 11:49 pm

    Now we get to the crux of the problem: you believe the IBO is a “tool” of the UN. So, answer me this, Lisa: what is wrong with the UN? What exactly are you afraid of?

    IBO is not precisely an NGO of the UN. It is affiliated with the UN because IBO signed UNESCO’s Peace Education plan. As I understand it, the connection between IBO and the UN is pretty tenuous; I doubt the UN (a bureaucrat’s nightmare) would have the time to oversee IBO’s daily operations or micromanage its curriculum. Unless IBO’s founders are colossally stupid, their own articles of incorporation would prevent such external interference by the UN or anyone else.

    Signing a Peace Education plan seems like a positive thing to do. So, tell me, what specifically are you complaining about? And don’t refer me to your website, thank you. Just answer my questions directly.

  15. Reply ObserverNY Apr 1,2009 12:42 pm

    Oh. Sarcasm. Uh huh.

    >>>>>>>>And for that matter, your kids have graduated — why are you griping about IB?>>>>>>>>>

    Let’s see. I just got a notice from my mortgage company that my monthly payment is going up $60 a month to cover the escrow for my increased school taxes. I don’t want my tax dollars going to fund a UN education.

    IBO is an NGO of the UN. IBO representatives repeatedly DENY IBO’s affiliation with UNESCO. This is not a conspiracy. This is not misinformation. This is FACT. This is the TRUTH. So IB and its minions can spout as much propaganda as they like about its pedagogy and methodology and any other ology it chooses, IB PATHOLOGICALLY misrepresents its UN connections.

  16. Reply ObserverNY Apr 2,2009 8:46 am

    eljefe –

    I’m afraid you are incorrect. IBO is PRECISELY an NGO of UNESCO. Since you don’t want to look at my website, how about the official IB website? Is that ok with you?

    The IB has been recognized as a NGO of UNESCO since 1970 and currently has the status of “formal consultative relations as a network” with UNESCO. IB representatives participate regularly in UNESCO meetings and comment on UNESCO proposals in education. Some projects have received UNESCO funding—see Cambodia and Nigeria in the list of partnerships [126 kb, PDF] and exchanges with governments and inter-governmental organizations (IGOs).

    Back in the early 70’s when I was in HS, I was a hippie. We protested the Vietnam War, our school had constant drug raids, we wore scraggly ripped jeans, we all had long hair and I even cleaned up an oil spill with the Environmental Action Club. You might even be interested in knowing I taught the lead guitarist for Sonic Youth how to play Blackbird, Lee and I are friends. We went to Grateful Dead concerts in old VW mini-vans and did all kinds of groovy things. Our school was on split-session due to the recession of the 70’s and I had to catch the bus at 6:15 AM. In my senior year, I doubled up on my courses simply so I could graduate in January. I couldn’t WAIT to get out of there.

    And then I grew up.

    You ask me: what is wrong with the UN? What exactly are you afraid of?

    As far as I’m concerned, the UN should fall into the East River and suffer the same fate as The League of Nations. It is a destructive, corrupt, dysfunctional, power-hungry organization that seeks to rule the world. Our idiot President just yesterday, joined the UNHRC. If ANY division of the UN is a bigger farce and more full of communist hypocrites, I can’t really think of it. UNESCO is a close second. Reagan pulled the U.S. out of UNESCO and it was only idiot Bush the 2nd who rejoined after the adoption of Goals 2000. Tax cheat TurboTax Geithner and the Obamination are now meeting with the G20 and the concept of a “global currency” is “on the table”. And you ask me what I am afraid of?

    I am afraid that this naive President who thinks we can sit down and “talk” to crazed dictators like Chavez and Achmadinejad is shredding our Constitution. I’m afraid that this President who duped the American public into believing his message of “hope” and “change” is changing this country into what can only be described as “democratic fascism”. I’m afraid that all of our individual freedoms are being stripped from us in a far more dangerous manner than the Patriot Act ever did. And I’m afraid for my children and my grandchildren as to what kind of America they will have to live in and be mercilessly taxed in if we don’t stand up for the Constitution and American fundamentals.

    Remember, 48% of this country DID NOT vote for Obama. I am afraid a revolution is coming. I’m just a suburban Mom, yet for the first time in my life I have purchased a gun. I now go to the range regularly to hone my skills. The cost of ammunition has gone up 250% since the election. I am not alone. On April 15th, you will see an outpouring of protest across this country the likes of which has never been seen before. There will be protests by Americans, and at these protests there will be Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and probably some anarchists, but the bottom line is they will be Americans standing up for American principles and saying, Enough is enough!

    Infiltration of the UN/One World government’s agenda through our children’s education is the most heinous of all. I’ll leave you with the words of a very famous German you may have heard of: He alone, who owns the youth, gains the Future!

  17. Reply eljefe Apr 6,2009 5:48 am

    Well, your last comment here pretty much stands on its own. So, as the boss here, I am moving the entire discussion between us to a new post.

    But before I do, earlier you said you didn’t like being labeled a “religious nutjob conspiracy theorist.” For me, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it is a duck.

  18. Reply ObserverNY Apr 6,2009 6:59 am

    What a shame that left-wingers like yourself and Obummer can’t realize that YOU are the Americans who are “arrogant and dismissive”.

  19. Reply wheelhouse Apr 8,2009 3:56 pm

    Instead of increasingly raw emotion, let’s try some facts and some first-hand experience. I interact with IB graduates often, and I also happen to know a couple of local high school students who are in the program. There is simply nothing unpatriotic or “globalist” about these kids — one of the college students is a member of the local Young Republicans chapter, another is a member of the campus GLBTQ organization, and one of the high schoolers starts at point guard for his varsity basketball team. The only uniformity anybody can detect among these young people is their effectiveness as learners and their engagement as citizens. I’m sorry, but there isn’t any evidence that IB is brainwashing or indoctrinating them — and suggesting that those of us who see it that way are ourselves brainwashed constitutes the worst sort of circular reasoning.

    On a broader level, there also isn’t evidence that IB education in general seeks to demonize or denigrate the United States, our culture, or our government, at least not in the curriculum. Take the “History of the Americas” course that seems to draw so much fire: introducing a high school junior to the history of South America alongside the history of North America doesn’t downplay the importance of North America any more than the use of an adjective downplays the importance of a noun in the same sentence. It just offers some context and gives the sentence a more complex meaning. Trust me, nobody is going to quit using nouns once they’ve discovered how cool adjectives can be.

    And on a still broader level, there’s truly no evidence that the United Nations seeks to establish a unilateral, universal system of government. After all, the United States sits on the UN Security Council, and all G20 nations are automatically members of the UN Executive Council. Plus, it is abundantly clear that the 192 current UN member states rarely speak with one voice about anything. Go ahead and check a transcript — it’s difficult to imagine such a fragmented group launching a One World Barbeque Stand, let alone One World Government.

    I’ve read IB’s critics’ comments here and elsewhere, and I’ve even gotten involved (briefly) in one online discussion regarding the topic. I’m not a fan of the word “paranoid” in the pop sense, but these people do seem to be short on facts, other than their absolutely accurate assertion that there is a connection between IB and UNESCO. Not to be uncharitable, but these detractors also seem to speak primarily out of fear and anger, and I would humbly suggest that emphasizing one’s target range activity and using as juvenile a term as “Obummer” does little to dispel that image.

  20. Reply eljefe May 5,2009 2:46 am

    Here is what the pertinent websites say about diplomas and admission requirements.

    From the Oxford website:

    The University has seen a significant increase in applications from International Baccalaureate candidates. All degree schemes have now established an offer of between 38 and 40 points. This offer is applied consistently within the subject and includes any points awarded for the extended essay, the Creativity, Action, Service element, and the Theory of Knowledge. The University will be reviewing the scores expected of candidates at Higher Level later in this academic year, to determine whether a standard offer of 7,6,6 at Higher Level can be used as a consistent element of the conditional offer across all courses.

    Successful candidates would typically have an excellent High School record supplemented by SAT I scores of at least 1,400 in Critical Reading and Mathematics and preferably also 700 or more in the Writing Paper, giving a combined score of at least 2,100, or ACT with a score of at least 32 out of 36. We would also expect Grade 5 in three or more Advanced Placement tests in appropriate subjects or SAT II in three appropriate subjects at 700 or better.

    From the IB website:
    A student’s examination performance in individual subjects is scored on a scale of 1–7 points with a further 3 points available based on a matrix of performance in the theory of knowledge (TOK) and the extended essay components. Students who display satisfactory levels of performance across all subject areas and achieve a minimum of 24 points (out of a possible 45) are awarded the IB diploma. All others receive a certificate of results for the subjects examined. Subjects are marked according to the following scale:

    7 Excellent
    6 Very good
    5 Good
    4 Satisfactory
    3 Mediocre
    2 Poor
    1 Very poor
    N No grade

    The TOK course and the extended essay are graded according to the following scale.

    A Excellent
    B Good
    C Satisfactory
    D Mediocre
    E Elementary
    N No grade

    Now, it seems to me that Oxford and Cambridge demand high marks for all applicants, whether they have an IB diploma or AP test scores. Anyone who has taught or taken AP courses can tell you that 5’s on AP exams are relatively rare; students with 5’s know their subjects very well. And test scores are not the only criteria that universities use for accepting students. I have had students with excellent marks and test scores be rejected or waitlisted by Harvard or Princeton, for example.

    As for the requirements for an IB diploma, the IB website makes it clear that to receive the diploma a student must have satisfactory (C) marks in ALL subjects, with a total score of at least 24. (See the highlighted section above.) ObserverNY’s contention that IB students can fail subjects yet still receive a diploma is therefore unfounded.

    If IB students at LVHS cannot meet Oxford’s lofty requirements, is that a comment about the effectiveness of the Locust Valley IB program or a comment about the abilities of the students? If they cannot meet the lofty requirements of Oxbridge, so what? Very few US students even consider attending Oxford or Cambridge, and for that matter, few UK students do, either. The question is really whether an IB (or AP) student has had a solid high school education, not whether they can all attend Harvard, Princeton or Yale, or Oxbridge.

    If Cheryl wants to debate the whole “socialism” manufactroversy, she can. I have tried to talk sense to you anti-IB people, and have failed. It’s like talking to trees. So I’m staying out of that part of the discussion.

  21. Reply Cheryl May 4,2009 6:32 pm

    I’ve spent most of today writing remarks I will give at my city’s school board meeting, in support of their consideration of joining the IBO. Then I found this post. Could have saved myself a lot of time if I’d found it to begin with! 🙂 But here’s a part of what I wrote, that adds a bit of detail to what you’ve already said very well.

    I have read the article about IB on the website Edwatch, as requested by an attendee of the parent information meeting. This article consistently used quotations out of context, twisting their meaning, to make IB sound like part of an imaginary, extremist, world-government conspiracy. Due to my time limit I cannot go through them all. As an example, in his June 30, 2004 article “International Baccalaureate”, Allen Quist says, “IBO explicitly states that its curriculum does not follow the political system of any particular nation, including the United States.” He doesn’t mention that the IBO also explicitly states, “We promote intercultural understanding and respect, not as an alternative to a sense of cultural and national identity, but as an essential part of life in the 21st century.”

    Also in this article, Quist claims: “Because of the non-academic nature of IB, many colleges and universities will not accept IB courses as fulfilling undergraduate requirements for admission.” I think M.I.T. is a college with fairly rigorous admission standards, how about you? They not only admit IB graduates, but students can also receive college credit and advanced placement for sufficient scores on the upper level exams. And how do IB students do once they get there? According to a Report on MIT’s Advanced Placement Policy, by an MIT committee, the students who placed out of Calculus I through an IB exam had the highest average grade in Calculus II, of all students who received advanced placement. The average for all students was 4.04. The average for students with a score of 5 on the AP BC exam was 4.21, compared to the IB students’ average of 4.58. I’m not seeing a cause for concern about the level of preparation of IB students for college, there. By the way, Oxford and Harvard are also among the universities that accept an IB diploma.

    Another falsehood in Allen Quist’s Edwatch article regards a document called the Earth Charter. It should be noted that the Earth Charter is not actually part of the IB curriculum; the Charter was endorsed by the IB Organization. Others among the very large number of cities, counties, businesses, universities, NGOs, and religious institutions world-wide who have also endorsed the Earth Charter include the American Association of University Women, Antioch College, the Archdiocese of Louisville Kentucky, Boise State University, Colgate University, the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ, and I only got through the letter “C”. Recently, the IBO rescinded their endorsement, but since this retraction is regarded by IB’s opponents as solely an insincere response to their complaints, I will attempt to address their concerns regarding the Earth Charter. Quist describes this document as promoting
    1. “Earth worship (pantheism)
    2. Socialized medicine
    3. World government
    4. Abortion on-demand
    5. Education for sustainability including spiritual education in New Age/pantheism
    6. Adoption of the gay rights agenda
    7. Elimination of the right to bear arms”.

    I have brought with me, the full and complete text of The Earth Charter. Nowhere in this document does it mention any of these. Going down his list:
    1. It says nothing about worship of any kind. Where it mentions faith, what it actually says is, “Affirm faith in the inherent dignity of all human beings and in the intellectual, artistic, ethical, and spiritual potential of humanity.”
    2. It says nothing about socialized medicine. Where it mentions health care, it says, “Affirm gender equality and equity as prerequisites to sustainable development and ensure universal access to education, health care, and economic opportunity.”
    3. It does not call for a world government. It is a set of principles that are offered as a source of guidance to governments as they currently exist. Where it mentions government at all, it says, “Therefore, together in hope we affirm the following interdependent principles for a sustainable way of life as a common standard by which the conduct of all individuals, organizations, businesses, governments, and transnational institutions is to be guided and assessed.” Please note the plural on “governments”.
    4. Where it mentions abortion………, oh, um, actually, it doesn’t. At all.
    5. Where it mentions education it says, “Integrate into formal education and life-long learning the knowledge, values, and skills needed for a sustainable way of life.” I’m not sure what Quist opposes about a sustainable way of life, given that the alternative is, by definition, unsustainable.
    6. The only reference to sexual orientation is in the sentence, “Eliminate discrimination in all its forms, such as that based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, language, and national, ethnic or social origin.” Nothing whatsoever about “adopting” any “agenda”.
    7. The Earth Charter makes no reference to the right to bear arms. Where it does mention rights, it says, “Protect the rights to freedom of opinion, expression, peaceful assembly, association, and dissent.” Where it mentions arms, it says, “Implement comprehensive strategies to prevent violent conflict and use collaborative problem solving to manage and resolve environmental conflicts and other disputes. Demilitarize national security systems to the level of a non-provocative defense posture, and convert military resources to peaceful purposes, including ecological restoration. Eliminate nuclear, biological, and toxic weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.” It also asks us to “Avoid military activities damaging to the environment.”

    In short, what the Earth Charter really asks everyone in the world to do, is to “Recognize that the freedom of action of each generation is qualified by the needs of future generations.” In other words, we’ve only got one Earth, so let’s not spoil it.

    To conclude: the opponents of IB appear to see the world as a zero-sum game – one in which anything that benefits anyone else necessarily means a loss to oneself. This is a worldview based in fear and hostility, which leads inevitably to violence in response to conflict, and precludes any possibility of achieving lasting peace. In contrast to this is a worldview which seeks win-win, non-zero-sum solutions to conflicts. This kind of mutually beneficial conflict resolution is what the IB program teaches students to strive for. Please pursue the IB program and let the [City Name] Public Schools be part of the solution, not the problem.

  22. Reply eljefe May 5,2009 8:13 am

    Ya think it’s also possible to get a regular high school diploma with straight D’s? A diploma just says ya graduated, it doesn’t say ya got good grades. That’s what transcripts are for.

    An IB certificate of completion is not the same thing as an IB diploma. The difference is clearly stated on the IB site.

    Ya think it’s possible to carefully read someone’s comments without reflexively rushing to your keyboard to try to prove him wrong, then finding he was right after all, then moving the goalposts?

    Ya think ya could be little less full of yaself, and keep the discussion on a more adult level? Huh, couldja?

    My point about the Oxbridge requirements was not to contradict your observation about a minimum score of 38. Believe it or not, Lisa, I am willing to admit that you can be right about some things. Some things. Not all things. My point was to emphasize the highly selective admissions of Oxbridge, and to ponder what your point was. So far, you have not explained what your point was.

  23. Reply ObserverNY May 4,2009 8:23 pm


    I’m afraid you’ve already run off to read your manifesto on socialism in support of IB, what a shame that you were so disingenuous and closed-minded about what Alan Quist has written on the subject. I can’t be bothered trying to rebut your blind refusal to recognize socialist “code words” however, ne of Quist’s major objections to IBO’s endorsement of the Earth Charter was the following specific clause:

    10. Ensure that economic activities and institutions at all levels promote human development in an equitable and sustainable manner.
    a. Promote the equitable distribution of wealth within nations and among nations.
    b. Enhance the intellectual, financial, technical, and social resources of developing nations, and relieve them of onerous international debt.
    c. Ensure that all trade supports sustainable resource use, environmental protection, and progressive labor standards.

    Equitable distribution of wealth? Relieve developing nations of “onerous international debt”? Who is going to relieve the U.S. of this insurmountable unsustainable debt that our idiot Congress and new President has just foisted upon this country?

    The fact that IBO signed on to PROMOTE the Earth Charter via its “international continuum of education” is enough to convince any rightminded individual that IBO has a socialist agenda designed to indoctrinate students to follow the UN ideal of “international-mindedness”. For an allegedly intelligent and prestigious organization to continually rely on a term that isn’t even a word, it says a lot about the intellectual honesty of those in charge at IBO.

    Do you have any idea what score on an IB Diploma Oxford and Cambridge want for admission? I’ve heard of students being rejected with a 42, although Oxford’s admission policy states that a student must have AT LEAST a 38 to be considered. I can tell you since our HS has had IB for the past 5 years, the highest score earned on an IB Diploma was a 36, with a mean score of 29. Hardly Oxford material.

    Were you also aware that a student can earn a 28 on an IB Diploma and literally FAIL half of the IB courses and exams? That’s right, they can get below a 4 in 1 HL and 2 SL courses/exams and still get more than the minimum diploma score with a 50% failure rate.

    Know what you are supporting.

  24. Reply eljefe May 5,2009 9:37 am

    LVHS used to have students admitted to MIT. We haven’t had one in the past 5 years….since IB was implemented.

    Correlation is not causation. All of the Ivies have raised their admission criteria into the stratosphere, because the number of applicants has also spiked in recent years. Princeton, for example, had about 25,000 applicants last year for only 1,400 spots in the freshman class. LVHS adopting IB has nothing to do with MIT’s acceptance rates. It has just become incredibly hard to gain admission to MIT, or any other highly selective school.

    I am not willing to admit an IB score of 24-28 is equivalent to a high school average of 69% (it used to be 65% was a D – have the percentages changed?), since the expectations for IB students and regular HS students are quite different. That would be like comparing the AP C-level Physics exam to the NYS Regents exam in Physics. They measure mastery of different curricula, so an AP score of 3 is not quite the same thing as a Regents score of 50%, or even 90%. Likewise, your fussing about 4’s on the IB scale is missing the point. IB measures different mastery levels than regular HS classes.

    Or to put in simpler (quasi-elitist) terms, my RA at Princeton once tried to cheer me up when she said my demoralizing C in Physics 103 was the same as an A down the road at the community college. Different expectations, different scales.

    If parents, et alia, are gullible enough to think IB (or AP) is an automatic ticket to the Ivies or Oxbridge, is it fair to castigate IB’s promoters? Smart parents should know there are no guarantees in college admissions anymore. IB and AP offer advantages only, not guarantees. The child’s (and teachers’, alas!) efforts and abilities are also factors. As they say, results may vary.

  25. Reply ObserverNY May 5,2009 6:54 am

    Hi eljefe,

    >>>>>>>>>>ObserverNY’s contention that IB students can fail subjects yet still receive a diploma is therefore unfounded.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Please show me at where it says that a student must have “”satisfactory” marks in ALL subjects. I think that was “wishful reading” on your part, eljefe. Here is the official list of “Conditions” for attaining the IB Diploma:

    Conditions for the
    International Baccalaureate Diploma
    Performance in each subject is graded on a scale of 1 to 7 points. For the IB Diploma, a maximum of 3 bonus points is awarded for combined performance in Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and the Extended Essay (EE). The maximum total IB Diploma Programme points score is therefore 45.
    Award of the IB Diploma
    All Candidates must meet the following conditions:
    All assessment components for each of the 6 subjects have been completed.
    All TOK and EE Requirements have been met.
    All CAS requirements have been met.
    Grades A (highest) to E (lowest) have been awarded for both TOK and EE, with a grade of at least D in one of them.
    There is no grade 1 in any subject.
    The final award committee has not judged the candidate to be guilty of malpractice.
    The IB Diploma will be awarded to candidates whose total score, (including any bonus points) is 24 to 27 points, provided all the following requirements have been met.
    There is no grade 2 at Higher Level (HL).
    There is no more than one grade 2 at Standard Level (SL)
    Overall, there are no more than three grades 3 or below.
    At least 12 points have been gained on HL subjects (Candidates who register for four HL subjects must gain at least 16 points on HL subjects)
    At least 9 points have been gained on SL subjects (candidates who register for two SL subjects must gain at least 6 points on SL subjects).
    The IB Diploma will be awarded to candidates whose total score (including any bonus points) is 28 points or above, provided all the following requirements have been met.
    There is no more than one grade 2 on HL subjects.
    There are no more than two grades 2 on SL subjects.
    Overall, there are no more than three grades 3 or below.
    At least 11 points have been gained on HL subjects (candidates who register for four HL subjects must gain at least 14 points on HL subjects)
    At least 8 points have been gained on SL subjects (candidates who register for two SL subjects must gain at least 5 points on SL subjects).
    A maximum of three examination sessions is allowed in which to satisfy the requirements for the award of the IB Diploma.

    “Mediocre” and “Poor” do not “Satisfactory” make.

    Now say, “I’m sorry for doubting you, Lisa”. 😉

  26. Reply ObserverNY May 5,2009 7:15 am

    p.s. – please ignore my request for where it says “satisfactory” – I see it now. LOL! It doesn’t say “earn grades of Satisfactory”…..oh no………it says “satisfactory levels of performance across all subject areas”.

    So eljefe, you have now learned that IBO considers grades of Poor and Mediocre, “satisfactory levels of performance” for earning the Diploma when counter-balanced by 6’s or 7’s in 3 subjects.

    This usage of language by IBO is consistently abused throughout its rhetoric. It’s the same sort of misleading rodomontade which leads parents to believe that a student actually has to pass an IB course and exam to earn an IB Certificate. They don’t. The Certificate is nothing more than a grade report, you get one whether you score a 1 or a 7, as long as you paid the exam fee.

    Btw, in case you want to accuse me of making up the above list, here is the official page from IBO’s Handbook of Procedures how to report any of the “failing conditions”:

  27. Reply ObserverNY May 5,2009 7:23 am


    I see you italicized the following:

    >>>>>>>>All degree schemes have now established an offer of between 38 and 40 points>>>>>>>>

    Was that to point out that I was correct that Oxford requires a minimum score of 38 on the IB Diploma? Ya think maybe I know what I am talking about? Ya think? 😉

  28. Reply ObserverNY May 5,2009 8:31 am


    I’m sorry you didn’t glean my point. My point, was that when people like Cheryl throw out names like MIT, Oxford and Cambridge without bothering to mention the very high scores needed on an IB Diploma to even be considered for admission, let alone college credit, she is doing a gross disservice to the “average- above average” American student. LVHS used to have students admitted to MIT. We haven’t had one in the past 5 years….since IB was implemented.

    >>>>>>>”Ya think it’s also possible to get a regular high school diploma with straight D’s?”>>>>>>>>>

    So you are willing to admit than an IB Diploma with a score of 24-28 is no better than a regular local HS diploma for a student with a 69 average?

    IB is nothing more than an expensive, puffed up designer label programme marketed to sucker gullible educators, administrators and BoEs into believing they’ve bought the “golden ticket” for “the children” to get into the best universities. Please note that Oxford would accept “three or more AP exams with a grade of 5”. So, with little to no extra money spent in a public school to teach AP, a student can actually achieve AP Scholar status by the end of their junior year! Plus, students would only have to lay out $249 for 3 AP exams compared to the $498 for 6 IB exams in order to meet Oxford’s requirements.

  29. Reply ObserverNY May 5,2009 8:44 am

    Revised Statement

    I’m taking your local ‘D’ HS diploma analogy a step further.

    At least that student PASSED all of the subjects, however poorly.

    An IB Diploma allows for a 50% FAILURE rate. Remember, an IB ‘4’ is considered PASSING. Therefore the local ‘D’ HS Diploma in terms of a student’s academic achievement is statistically superior.

    IB rewards failure and dumbs down our schools under the guise of improvement.

  30. Reply Cheryl May 5,2009 8:54 am

    1. It’s literally impossible to discuss anything with someone who refuses to accept common definitions of words and insists upon their having some “secret code” meaning, so I also can’t be bothered.
    2. If you are going to continue to write on the internet in support of Allen Quist’s ideas, he might like it if you spell his name the way he does.
    3. If the Social and Economic Justice section of the Earth Charter is, as you say, Quist’s actual major objection, then what is all that other demonstrably misrepresentative stuff doing in his argument? Truth argues for itself. If he had a good case to make, he wouldn’t have felt the need to embellish so much. I spent 5 hours yesterday reading for myself, Quist’s Edwatch article and all the things he quotes in it. I was anything but closed-minded. However after I had read the source material, the embellishments he makes indicated to me that he either lacks reading comprehension skills, or is deliberately misrepresenting things. There are no other possible explanations. Either way, I’m not going to listen to him.
    4. Like eljefe said, wow, you have to do really really well to get into Oxford. Shock. The thing is, Quist claimed many universities don’t accept IB diplomas as fulfilling their requirements. Taking the universities with the highest requirements in the world, and showing that they do accept IB graduates, is logically the most efficient possible counterexample to Quist’s claim. That’s all.

  31. Reply ObserverNY May 5,2009 10:43 am


    If you are going to continue to write on the internet in support of Allen Quist’s ideas, he might like it if you spell his name the way he does.

    ROTFLMAO! Oh for goodness sake! You know, I had a really hot boyfriend in college and he spelled his name ‘Alan’, gosh, must have been a Freudian slip!


    If parents, et alia, are gullible enough to think IB (or AP) is an automatic ticket to the Ivies or Oxbridge, is it fair to castigate IB’s promoters?

    Absolutely, positively 100% YES! This organization is feeding on parental emotions and our taxdollars. Worse, it is profiting off of our children! IBO sells false prestige. It relies on hearsay to sell its product.

    The College Board doesn’t go around promoting its product the way IBO does. It’s there. All of the information you could ever want is available on the College Board website. Specific details as to what constitutes a PASSING grade, syllabi, what degree of distinction you can earn based on the specific number of AP exams and averages, etc. specifics! Clear and exact. No pussyfooting around. Transparent.

    With IB you have to hunt and grope for information, details are buried within password access only documents and everything is relative. You can earn college credit if you score a 6 or 7 on an IB exam, but not if it is a SL exam. You can earn the IB Diploma if you get 3 – 2’s as long as you do really really well in the other 3 subjects. And that is once you get past all of the “international-mindedness” gop. IB may cover the ground, but it’s as clear as mud.

  32. Reply ObserverNY May 5,2009 10:51 am

    >>>>>>>>>>>IB measures different mastery levels than regular HS classes>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Prove it. IB wants all of its “generalized statements” such as yours above, to be at the “superlative” level. I’m not talking about HL IB Math which maybe 8 kids in a school might take. I’m talking about a course like SL IB Math Studies. Prove to me that that IB Math course tests at a HIGHER mastery level than NYS Regents Trigonometry.

    It is IBO’s broad stroke generalizations about its programmes that annoy me the most. And anyone who dares to question the almighty IBO is labeled a “right-wing conspiracy theorist” and “ignorant”. It’s much easier to call names than honestly defend IBO’s incredibly low internal standards and deficiency in data to back up its claims.

  33. Reply ObserverNY May 6,2009 7:42 am

    I thought I would share with you a sample of one of the “lovely” e-mails TAIB receives from IB supporters:

    Comments: Please read up on Mikhail Gorbachev and realize that he was one of the people who sought to bring down Communism in the name of an open, free enterprise market (PERESTROIKA) and cultural openness towards the west (GLASNOST). Your label of “avowed Communist” simply does not fit.

    Also, thinking in a non-America-centered point of view is not “unpatriotic”, it’s realistic. Afterall, you’re probably a Christian Fascist and doesn’t God say that there is no God before him… thus, why are you praising something like a “nation” that will cease to exist after the apocalypse??

    People like you amaze me. You are a dying breed and hopefully you will not exist for much longer. ~inntelligent educated person,

    This moron actually included a return e-mail, which we didn’t bother writing to because it is probably false. TAIB considers this e-mail a threat and is dealing with it accordingly.

  34. Reply eljefe May 7,2009 11:49 am

    jimbo —

    Frank Tipler (not Paul Tipler, the guy who wrote my favorite AP Physics textbook!) is a legitimate physicist who crossed over into the land of woo sometime in the 1990s. And he has fallen into fellowship with William Dembski and his band of Intelligent Design merry men. I’ve never read any of Frank Tipler’s work. The Tao of Physics was pretty much the last time I tried reading anything that tries to mix metaphysics with real physics.

    As for Andy Fletcher, he does indeed have some kind of connection with IB. This IB school, Ramparts High School, links to this site, which Fletcher supposedly runs. I can’t access it here in China for some reason. Maybe you can. Fletcher appears to be a popularizer of “quantum metaphysics,” much like Fritjof Capra was in the 1970s.

    Tipler and Fletcher both subscribe to the anthropic principle, the idea that the universe was somehow “made” just for us humans to live in. In Tipler’s case, he believes further in an Intelligent Designer (aka God). In Fletcher’s case, I am not sure what he believes. I need to check out his blog to be sure.

    Does inviting Fletcher to speak mean Tasis is not as secular as IB purports to be? No. Notre Dame invited Obama to speak. Does that mean Notre Dame, a Catholic university, has gotten “soft” on opposing abortions? No. Should Tasis have chosen a better spokesman for science? Yes. Fletcher is not a scientist, and if he is parroting Frank Tipler, he is a poor journalist and author besides. He needs more than one source for his information.

    ObserverNY —

    Thanks for sharing your hate mail with us, but what is your point? You get emails from nutjobs. I get some, too. So do a lot of other bloggers. Besides, you need to reread your own posts regarding IB, the one-world conspiracy and “Obummer” before you start looking for the mote in someone else’s eye. Some of your statements are not exactly rational, either.

  35. Reply jimbo for reason May 7,2009 9:40 am

    The IB program is not as secular as you imagine….

    I recently attended a IB sponsored lecture at the Tasis American School in London by Andrew Fletcher, CEO of Life, the Universe and Everything, Inc. In a nutshell, he begins the presentation saying that there is scientific evidence that God exists and there is an evil cabal of scientists that are attempting to thwart this evidence. His presentation is nothing more than an elaborate argument for intelligent design, which, by all means, can be discussed in a philosophy class but since there is no evidence of God (a different magisteria) should not be presented as science (in Mr. Fletcher’s case, physics). He quote-mines various scientists to support his belief in God and then ridicules others that don’t share his view. He even singles out Richard Dawkins for critisizing the New Scientist cover story Darwin Was Wrong as evidence of this. (Of course he didn’t explain to the students that the story was referring to one aspect of Darwins theory…just what Richard was afraid of).

    The goal of international bauccalareate program is to encourage critical thinking. Mr. Fletcher’s lecture is a perfect example of non-critical thinking.

    He refers often to Dr. Tipler in his lecture. He is an author of several books on the intelligent design of the universe. He is also considered a crack-pot by most physicists.

    You can read about Tipler’s work (Fletcher uses his arguments verbatim…just like he stole atheist Douglas Adams’ book title) in the book Why People Believe Weird Things by Michael Shermer. There is a section in the book called Why Smart People Believe Weird Things, which describes Fletcher’s faulty reasoning to a tee.


  36. Reply ObserverNY May 7,2009 11:27 am


    I for one never claimed IB was secular. As a rule, IBO USED to promote secular humanism but of late, it appears that Islam is IBO’s preferred religion to promote. From IBO’s 40th Birthday party Petersen Lecture by the Aga Khan:

    You will readily understand why such words seem appropriate for a Peterson Lecture. They speak to the fundamental value of a universal human bond- a gift of the Creator – which both requires and validates our efforts to educate for global citizenship.
    I would also like to quote an infinitely more powerful statement about the unity of mankind, because it comes directly from the Holy Quran, and which I would ask you to think about. The Holy Quran addresses itself not only to Muslims, but to the entirety of the human race, when it says:
    “O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from one single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women.”
    These words reflect a deeply spiritual insight – A Divine imperative if you will – which, in my view, should under gird our educational commitments. It is because we see humankind, despite our differences, as children of God and born from one soul, that we insist on reaching beyond traditional boundaries as we deliberate, communicate, and educate internationally. The IB mission statement puts it extremely well…

  37. Reply ObserverNY May 7,2009 12:40 pm


    Oh there you are. I see you’d much rather digress to the more “controversial” aspects of IB such as religion and politics than stick to what we were discussing regarding the allowable FAILING aspects of an IB diploma and why it is inferior to a designation of AP Scholar or AP Scholar with Honors.

    IB promotes and celebrates failure. Once anyone bothers to pull back the curtain and read the fine print and analyze on a national scale how this program is being implemented in the U.S. – one can clearly see it is being used for social manipulation and a grab for .gov grant money. It is pushed quietly into districts in a hushed, “Oh God we hope IBO approves us, it’s soooooo rigorous”, then when they get the authorization,(which we know 100% of the schools that apply, do), it begins to dominate all of the decisions being made about other programs in the school. Questions from parents about the program are met with hostility. And then the hiding of information begins. This is not just in my school district. This is a pattern across the United States. I am hearing nice e-mails from parents across the country who are starting to forearm themselves with questions and make it to meetings when IB is being presented. Where do they file a FOIL? How can they see the application? How much does it cost? Will they get rid of AP?

    When parents with reasonable questions get labeled right-wing extremists because they DARE to question the glorious IBO, something is seriously, seriously wrong. IB does not belong in general public schools. Would IBO like to operate in separate charter schools or private academies? There’s their market. I’m all for it. Go for it. Just stay out of our general public schools that 2/3 of my outrageous property taxes go to support!

  38. Reply Cristina Aug 1,2009 6:13 am

    This NYObserver is absolutely hilarious.

  39. Reply ObserverNY Aug 11,2009 7:40 am

    “When parents with reasonable questions get labeled right-wing extremists because they DARE to question the glorious IBO, something is seriously, seriously wrong.”

    I love when I can quote myself. 😉

    And now, here we are in the middle of August and many of the SAME Americans who oppose IB are standing up against Obamacare and are being called, “Un-American and Nazis” by Princess Pelosi, 3rd in line for the Presidency.

    When the American public is fed a load of rhetoric, propaganda and lies and officials refuse to answer questions, the American public gets angry. These sort of politics DO NOT belong in American public schools. Teaching and learning should be APOLITICAL.

  40. Reply eljefe Aug 13,2009 2:50 am

    Lisa, some of those SAME Americans have been calling Obama a Nazi, a socialist, and a commie (hard to be all of them at the same time, actually), are alleging the health care proposals will turn the US into a communist country, will kill the handicapped and the aged, and will mean there will be “death panels.” Swastikas have been painted on congressmen’s office buildings. Town hall meetings are gatherings of angry mobs yelling at their elected officials, who don’t even get a chance to answer questions.

    I’m not excusing Pelosi’s remarks, but it seems she dishing out a little bit of what your side has been shoveling out for weeks now.

    People get labeling as right-wing extremists when they act like right-wing extremists. You want teaching and learning to be APOLITICAL, but many of your comments here and elsewhere are patently political in content and extremist in tone.

    You might want to remove that beam from your eye before you start criticizing anyone else for the way they talk.

    And unlike Cristina, I do not find you to be hilarious at all. Annoying, is more like it. Go kvetch someplace else. You’ve worn out your welcome.

  41. Reply eljefe Aug 13,2009 10:10 am

    Dear, dear, sorry to hurt your feelings. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  42. Reply ObserverNY Aug 13,2009 7:25 am


    You certainly never made me feel welcome in the first place, but just like your fellow left-wing loonies, when you don’t like hearing about reality, you find it necessary to cover your ears, name-call and hide in your fantasy world. I’ve figured out what the problem with the Democrats is – they’re jealous. They can’t stand seeing regular folks come out en masse to protest this march to tyranny. We stole their protests – and ACORN doesn’t have to pay us to protest, either!

    I’d be willing to wager that Congressman Scott paid someone to paint that swastika on his office sign to try and divert attention from his own bad behavior at a Town meeting. Funny how that story immediately dropped from the news, wasn’t it? Just like I called the little girl at Obama’s NH joke of a “town hall” meeting as a plant and daughter of an Obama campaigner and contributor – you know, the one who asked about the “mean signs” she saw outside. These are the politics of liars, cowards and Chicago thugs. The fact that you buy into the liberal media and DNC’s garbage of labeling senior citizens and average Americans as “angry mobs” is pathetic.

    No one at the tea party I attended had signs with swastikas – and if you see any on 9/12 in D.C., they’re most likely the work of provacateurs trying to discredit the Liberty movement.

    Ciao, eljefe. Peace out.

    In liberty,

  43. Reply eljefe Sep 21,2009 9:01 pm

    Thanks for the link. I’ve read other comparisons of the current right wing crazies to the ones that Goldwater had to beat back when he ran for president. He tried to distance himself from the nutters; today’s GOP embraces them.

    For another long debate on an education issue with just a soupçon of paranoia, check out this post. There my interlocutor mixes Christian Dominionism, libertarianism, and states-rightism to suggest we abolish public education altogether.

  44. Reply eljefe Sep 22,2009 12:50 am

    Against my better judgment, I let your comment through, Lisa. At least you kept it short.

  45. Reply wheelhouse Sep 21,2009 3:13 pm

    I’m not sure why I checked back here, but there certainly has been a lot of activity; eljefe, I tip my hat to you for showing as much patience as you have. With that in mind, I found myself better equipped to understand Ms. McLoughlin’s vast body of work after reading this article:

    Trust me — it explains a lot. Alas, one thing it explains is why she may now return here and subject all of us to more snide remarks, arbitrary upper-case shouting, adolescent text-messaging shorthand (LOL!), and that silly wink emoticon.

  46. Reply ObserverNY Sep 21,2009 9:36 pm

    That’s very nice. Keep calling people like myself names while I rub my hands in glee as corrupt organizations like ACORN go down in flames and lunatic communist radicals like Van Jones resign at the 12:01 AM, the hour of execution.

  47. Reply wheelhouse Sep 25,2009 12:33 pm

    eljefe, that is a quite a series of posts from your friend “Joey”; in fact, I don’t think I have ever a train of thought quite like it. But it is enlightening, just as the International Baccalaureate threads have been. While appellations like “crackpot” typically don’t help a conversation, sometimes a term such as term “absolutist” or “paranoiac” is not only appropriate, but the only word that fits.

    What intrigues me — and it’s the reason I provided the link to the article above — is the phenomenon in which a relatively bright, articulate individual assumes a position based primarily on emotion…and then either ignores whatever facts contradict that position or attempts to force all facts into a framework that supports the position. I guess if I genuinely believed that there existed a global(ist) conspiracy trying to swipe the hearts and minds of our youth, I’d focus my wrath on public education in general or on a program such as IB in particular. But again, that strikes me as a sort of “intellect override” that healthy adults don’t practice.

  48. Reply eljefe Sep 26,2009 6:18 am

    Thanks, wheelhouse. I am expecting a quick riposte from ObserverNY in 3 … 2… 1 …

  49. Reply eljefe Sep 26,2009 10:58 am

    Do NOT get me started on Glenn Beck or his 9/12 project. And if the WH watches his show, it’s probably for laughs.

    Madrassas are Islamic schools. They do not ALL produce terrorists, as I believe you are suggesting, just as ALL public high schools do not produce student shooters. Please see this New York Times piece from 2005 (pre-Obama, thank you):

    It’s not big news that people have complained about IB schools around the world. People always complain about schools, no matter what kind of programs they have. It would be big news if you were receiving hundreds or even thousands of items of correspondence from overseas. So, in absolute numbers, how many have you received, exactly?

    I take anything on YouTube with a grain of salt. It’s the video version of Wikipedia. Verify, verify, verify.

  50. Reply ObserverNY Sep 26,2009 8:31 am

    hehehehe, I certainly wouldn’t want to disappoint you, eljefe 😉

    First, let me say that I have no problem with the term “absolutist”. That is probably the most accurate and unbiased “label” that can be attributed to individuals like myself. I have an absolute belief in God, I absolutely believe that the fundamentals (Declaration of Independence, Constitution/Bill of Rights, inalienable rights as granted by our Creator) upon which our great country was founded were correct then and are correct now. “We hold these truths to be self-evident….” It is the “relativism” of programmes like IB that go against our grain.

    On Thursday I had the privilege of being part of Glenn Beck’s studio audience of 9/12 Moms. I only got a very brief spot but at least I got to mention IB as an arm of UNESCO and direct competitor with AP. We know the White House watches his show VERY carefully. Mr. Beck is bringing down ACORN, I hope he can do the same to IBO. I am convinced that this organization is hypocritical and corrupt to the core, and not just for what it is doing to American children, but to children around the world. I am in receipt of correspondence from Germany, the UK, Switzerland, Singapore — stories from students and parents how IB has ruined their teenagers lives and futures. There are complaints about IBO’s authorization in 2008 of two Islamic madrassas. This sort of corruption is not relative, it is absolute.

    Please watch this video produced by a student from Singapore. I assure you, I had nothing to do with its production:

    in liberty,

  51. Reply eljefe Sep 26,2009 9:59 pm

    In contrast, no one can edit, censor or challenge the uploading of videos on You Tube (other than pornography).

    Totally wrong. Organizations like the Scientologists and individuals with clout can and have pressured YouTube to pull videos that are unflattering or critical of the subject, even if the videos are factually correct.

  52. Reply eljefe Sep 26,2009 11:13 pm

    And I asked you, Lisa, for quantitative data for your anti-IB correspondence from overseas. You’ve posted twice since then to reply to peripheral issues and have yet to answer my question. We don’t want to talk about Glenn Beck, 9/12, Wikipedia or YouTube, or speculations about how many people favor IB versus those who don’t. You could just answer the damn question.

  53. Reply ObserverNY Sep 26,2009 12:30 pm

    Wikipedia is a JOKE! It is dominated by left-wing editors and administrators who hyper control editing of the articles by getting anyone banned from editing who DARES to challenge their biased presentation of facts with non-Lib based verifiable facts. In contrast, no one can edit, censor or challenge the uploading of videos on You Tube (other than pornography).

  54. Reply wheelhouse Sep 26,2009 7:36 pm

    Thanks once again for staying on track, eljefe — discussing Glenn Beck will get us nowhere. This most recent exchange reminds me why I offered the link to the Hofstadter article in the first place. Once someone decides that s/he is in possession of objective truth, then nothing interferes, and that becomes especially unproductive when the “objective truth” in question involves such broad issues as divinity, human freedom, and so forth. Absolute faith in God may be wonderful thing, but it should not to be confused with the absolute nature of God: the fervor of one’s belief in God, alas, does not mean God exists, and it does not justify the notion that monotheists are somehow better people than the millions of people who believe otherwise. And just as with religion, once someone decides that a particular organization or program is wrong in an absolute sense, then the same non-critical thinking prevails.

    That is not to say that relativism is always the way to go: I think we’d all agree that the Holocaust was an evil event, and we’d consider people who condone it or deny it to be evil, or at least sick. But the stories of people who feel that their lives have been improved by IB far outweigh those who say otherwise — so to brand it as bad, wrong, or evil in an absolute sense says more about the mindset of the person critiquing it than it does about the program itself. And to characterize anybody who supports the program as a Kool-Aid victim or a collaborator in the UN’s global plot makes a similar impression: since the critic is already convinced that the global plot exists, IB serves as a handy target, but that should not be confused with any objective basis for hating IB.

  55. Reply ObserverNY Sep 26,2009 10:03 pm

    “But the stories of people who feel that their lives have been improved by IB far outweigh those who say otherwise -”

    Really? What quantitative data do you have to back up that claim? Even if you COULD find quantitative data to support that claim, would 60% asserting a claim of improved value outweigh a 40% claim of complete ruin?

  56. Reply ObserverNY Sep 27,2009 8:12 am


    My apologies, I actually missed your question. I read the NYT piece and must have skimmed over it. I haven’t counted them up, to tell you the truth. IB is an “obscure” topic to most, most people still say “What’s IB?”. Our site has been live less than a year. We’re no Drudge Report. I’m sure the actual correspondence number pro and con is under 100. I have posted the “pro-IB” comments though on their own page (my effort at providing balance) – you can read them here:

    Some of the anti-IB comments contain complaints currently under review by IBO and I am not in a position at this time to make them public. But I will try and count them up and get back to you with a number so you can compare them to the pro comments I have posted.

  57. Reply wheelhouse Sep 27,2009 10:45 am

    That is an excellent point, Observer: it would be impossible to come up with quantifiable data, and I should probably have inserted an “apparently” or some such disclaimer. What I decided to do, believe it or not, is use the “search engine searchers” like Metacrawler to find all available postings on IB. Not precise by any means, but it was surprising and informative regardless of where each of us lines up.

    What I found was an approximate 10-to-1 ratio of IB supporters to IB detractors. Again, you’re right to suggest that this can’t be read as official or authoritative, and I’ll admit right off the bat that I was eyeballing this from screen to screen rather than counting and taking notes. But I tried to take several important factors into account:
    1. I noticed that pro-IB sites appear to attract a larger number of pro-IB posts than anti-IB posts. You would best be able to state whether your website attracts more anti-IB posts than pro-IB posts, because, as you insightfully point out, it may not be on many people’s radar. In fact, yours appears to be the only site other than EdWatch that addresses the issue more than once or twice. Plus, my impression is that you don’t feel you can post all the responses you receive, for various reasons (including the very good reason you mention in your most recent post).
    2. I did also notice that pro-IB posts come from a far wider variety of posters. Not to push any buttons, Observer, but you and “NH” appear to be responsible for about 1/2 of the anti-IB posts currently online, particularly if we count the posts (like those on Jay Mathews’ site) in which you use a different online moniker. I’m not stalking, by the way: I only figured that out because of Mr. Mathews’ comments.
    3. The apparent majority of pro-IB posts come from people with direct experience: IB students, IB graduates, IB teachers. While I’m willing to admit that people involved with a program may have a stake in praising it, there are lots of students who readily bash the schools and the programs from which they came, and that seems only occasionally to be the case with IB. More importantly, it seems that neither you nor your family has had any experience with IB; in fact, you seem to be somewhat proud of the fact that you’ve never set foot in an IB classroom, and I respect that, but I’m sure you understand that it raises questions about expertise and authority.
    4. Finally, and I apologize again if this seems inflammatory, every pro-IB post I’ve encountered appears on a site or in a discussion that is actually about IB from the start, while your particular anti-IB posts sometimes show up in places where IB isn’t even the main topic of discussion. Observer, without coming back at me in anger, please be honest and admit that you post at some sites where IB is only mentioned peripherally, e.g. a discussion in an online Seattle newspaper about the Seattle school board. Hey, I don’t live anywhere near Seattle and neither do you — hence the “NY” part, right? — so you’d have to be actively red-flagging “International Baccalaureate” in order to even know about that conversation, let along show up and offer a link to your website. (Again, I certainly don’t want to come off as a stalker here. I just did a few exact-phrase and all-words searches using the terms we’re all using: International, Baccalaureate, IB, IBO, you get the idea.)

    Since I seem to be in apology mode, I apologize for the length of this post and I reiterate that no, none of us can come up with hard figures or percentages on this. That means the best we’ve got is anecdotal evidence and Internet chatter, and those sources *seem* to confirm my earlier take on the matter. It’s just some quick research that could probably be refined, but I don’t plan on re-doing or expanding it because this topic actually isn’t one of my core concerns in life.

    But thanks, eljefe and Observer both, for compelling me to stay sharp! I think I’ll take a break for awhile.

  58. Reply ObserverNY Sep 27,2009 1:37 pm


    Thanks for the reply. Let me tell you right off the bat that I “red-flag” articles which refer to IB or International Baccalaureate via Google alerts. I also follow IB on Twitter to see what links they are posting. You might want to ask IB why they are Twittering about school board elections in Seattle. 😉

    The lack of quantifiable date by IB is one of the things I abhor most about the programmes. IB specializes in reporting the meager data it does produce primarily in percentages. This can be very misleading.

    BUT – let’s consider one IB stat which has remained fairly consistent over the past 5 years – an 80% global pass rate on the IB diploma. In my district last year, there was only a 65% pass rate (14 students). Consider what this means. IB loves to laud those who achieve the diploma, but what of those who spent their final two years of HS dedicating themselves to this programme who fail to achieve this “prize”? Do you honestly think they are going to sing IB’s praises?

    Which begets a bigger question – why spend an exorbitant amount of money for IB, a programme in which a minimum of 20% of the students fail, when a district could run AP for far less money, and those who are recognized as AP Scholars are 100% successful?

  59. Reply ObserverNY Sep 27,2009 2:02 pm

    Irony is a wonderful thing –

    I just checked Twitter – from today:

    ib_news – As promised a few months ago I have done interviews with all of … – Federal Way News: As promised a few month.. about 1 hour ago from twitterfeed

    If you dont have Twitter, here is the article it links to:

  60. Reply wheelhouse Sep 28,2009 2:24 pm

    The darndest thing just happened. I was in the middle of typing a response to your most recent question, Observer, when something hit me.

    First off, I do think IB is worth the money (which I don’t see as exorbitant) precisely because of its stated mission. I know, I know, that is specifically why you *don’t* like IB, but I am just plain excited about the prospect of my kids receiving an intentionally global perspective at public school. Not necessarily a better education than AP, but different. (I know, I know, the public school issue is another reason you don’t like IB.)

    And to paraphrase my late hero Frank Zappa, that’s what brings me to the crux of the biscuit. You and I are actually in the same boat. You don’t like being called an absolutist — rather, you don’t mind being called one, but you feel quite deeply that those who use the term against you have misunderstood the term, and by extension they have misunderstood you.

    Well, you are to absolutism what I am to globalism. I absolutely love my country, and even when I disagree with its leaders or dislike its popular trends I love the fact that I can say so without fear of arrest (or worse). If I were pressed, however, I’d have to say that I consider my first identity to be that of human being; my second identity would be Buddhist; and my third identity would be United States citizen. I unashamedly view that as globalism, but I don’t see it as treasonous or even unpatriotic; you likely see it as both, and I have to be okay with that.

    Our divergent views accepted, at the same time I hope this allows us to bear witness to some common experience or condition. You are comfortable at Glenn Beck’s show, a setting in which the host regularly suggests that the audience should adopt a state of mind that runs counter to, or even suggests defiance of, the current administration. I’ve never been in the same room as the Dalai Lama, but I guess if he were to tell me to do one thing and the President were to tell me to do the opposite, I’d probably go with the Dalai Lama. Of course, one cool thing about the Dalai Lama is that he doesn’t do stuff like that. But you get my point.

    Well, that’s about it. Several posts back, I wondered why I revisited this conversation. Maybe it was because it presented an opportunity to say something along these lines.

    Thanks for providing opportunities like this, eljefe. All the best, Observer.

  61. Reply ObserverNY Sep 29,2009 8:06 pm


    Me thinks you need to concentrate on your navel a bit more grasshopper…

    Out through the night
    An’ the whispering breezes
    To the place where they keep
    The Imaginary Diseases. 😉


  62. Reply eljefe Apr 27,2010 6:24 am

    Thanks for the comments, Rose. I am waiting for ObserverNY to jump back into the thread any minute now.

    Meanwhile, I have some reaction to your comments. What you say about teacher preparation is right on the money in many schools. Experienced teachers are hard to find (they tend to leave after five years in the trenches), and they ones who stick it out require higher salaries. Given the choice of hiring an experienced teacher for twice the pay of a newbie, most schools will go with the cheaper new teacher. Sad, but true. Since IB and AP programs have become more popular, well trained teachers are fewer and far between — the demand outstrips the supply. Usually, it’s the veterans in the school who get the cushy jobs (IB, AP, honors classes, etc.) if there are enough to go around.

    While teaching is a noble profession, teacher training programs in universities do not always attract the sharpest tools in the shed, so there’s the added challenge of finding a young teacher with the intellectual curiosity and/or ability to tackle Camus, for example, with the kind of depth IB (or even AP) demands. Training can help, but as you note, training is not the same as education. The College Board has many excellent courses for new and experienced AP teachers, but even they cannot correct the shortcomings of teachers who plain don’t fully understand their subjects. And the teachers, or their schools, have to pony up the money to attend these courses. As a result, not every AP or IB teacher receives the kind of training or preparation they require. So, they fall back on form (do an essay, any essay) over substance (does the damn thing actually say anything?).

    To be fair, many university faculty are knowledgeable in their fields, but some are terrible teachers. So the problem is not limited to high schools. In fact, sometimes the AP or IB teacher does a better job than a university prof, since they enjoy a smaller teacher-student ratio than a prof does.

    And before anyone jumps on me for being overly critical of teachers, I have been teaching for 25 years, and I was an AP Physics teacher for 23. I have worked alongside poor teachers, mediocre teachers, and excellent teachers, of all ages. I am not dumping on teachers; I am just reporting the real situation.

  63. Reply Rose Apr 27,2010 1:34 am

    As an IB diploma recipient who, to put it mildly, didn’t exactly have the most positive experience with her school’s program, I’m really interested if there is any IB criticism that comes from a point of view of, well, some actual experience with it. I’m really sick of how all the anti-IB stuff is nonsense from right-wing ideologues who find everything suspect that so much as acknowledges that there’s a world outside U.S. borders.

    I think there are some weaknesses in the program. IB seems to have less guidelines, for example, on teacher-training than the AP program does, and at my school that meant we were frequently taught by people who did not have the degrees nor the teaching experience (they were often fresh out of undergrad) to handle the material. I mean, you can go to all the IB seminars in the world, but if you don’t have the education or even just raw intellect to understand Camus, you can’t teach it. And with inexperienced teachers, the IB can be very form-over-substance. It’s really annoying that this conversation, about the negative side of the IB, is dominated by idiots who just take little things and jump to ridiculous conclusions.

    I mean, your kids are going to be out in the world eventually. You can’t keep them in your conservative bubble forever.

  64. Reply Rose Apr 27,2010 1:36 am

    (It’s probably worth acknowledging that, yes, I got a decent score on my IB tests and received the diploma. So my dislike of the program isn’t out of spite.)

  65. Reply ObserverNY Apr 27,2010 8:44 am

    I wouldn’t want to keep Eljefe waiting. 😉


    I resent your reference to those of us who oppose IB in American public schools as “idiots”. Frankly, that’s just plain rude and very close-minded of you. Furthermore, just because someone has a Conservative mindset doesn’t mean they are devoid of global awareness. The truth is we are far more aware of the globalist agenda to control our children than organizations like the UN and IBO want us to be, which is why they attempt to dismiss our efforts to expose their stated “attacks on compulsory curriculum” as “conspiracy theory”. It’s not a conspiracy theory when we can prove IBO has stated its intentions to “actively intervene” in black and white.

    A requirement of the IB program prior to implementation is that teachers, Principals and librarians receive the very expensive IB training. IBO claims this mandatory training sets it apart from AP. However, the training itself is nothing more than a 3 day jaunt to a location usually rather distant from the school itself, costs on average $1,500 per teacher, per session and is usually held during the school year resulting in untrained substitutes being hired to run the IB classroom. I have read reports from teachers who have attended these workshops who claim it is nothing but brainwashing. Others claim it “transformed” their lives.

    You may be interested in reading this recent letter from a former IB student I received. Scroll down to the last letter on this page:

  66. Pingback: JJ’s Religion Roundup (Week ending 4/28/06) « The Corporate Corruption Chronicle

  67. Reply Michelle Jun 7,2013 6:56 am

    Rather than attack opponents of IB so viciously as loonies, idiots etc, I suggest some of the immature kids on this website try to learn as much on IB as possible, because one day they’ll be parents too and may think differently when it involves their own children.

  68. Reply eljefe Jul 8,2013 11:37 pm

    I need to apologize to Michelle for not approving her comment sooner. This thread is seven years old, so I’m not always watching for new comments to come in. I found Michelle’s while doing routine website maintenance.

    Unfortunately, Michelle’s link is dead, so I can’t comment on its contents. If she’s subscribed to this thread, maybe she can update the link.

    Michelle, what immature kids? We seem to be adults here, although adults with some serious disagreements about the IB program.

  69. Reply Thickskint Jun 8,2014 12:22 am

    I think, therefore I.B…..My classmates used to giggle about the phrase. 15years after receiving the IB diploma I am still moved by it. I fully support the high school program, but I am concerned the pre- requisite skills are not being taught. I tried to take AP instead of IB because I knew IB was going to be way more demanding. My older sister earned the diploma 4years before me and my counselors immediately snitched on me when I didn’t sign up for IB classes. They asked my Daddy,”You want her to take what her sister took, right?” LOL. Leading, much??? I was literally forced into the program and I did rebel. In fact, my class grades were awful. So bad in history, that they moved me out of the IB history class and put me in the traditional class to make sure I graduated high school on time. If you fail senior year history, you automatically fail junior year as well. So while my “true” classmates were learning about real history, I was coloring by numbers in the traditional class across the hall. No lie, color by numbers. At 18yrs old. And if I colored them all right, I got a “homework pass” where I didn’t have to do a homework assignment. The whole experience was laughable then and is now. I ended up scoring a 6 on the History (always a higher level course)even though I had to study on my own. By that point, however, the IB instructors/courses had already taught me how to study. All that to say, once I started college I was the top performer without any effort at all. The point of IB is to teach a student how to learn alone…how to process knowledge and consider the source. My IB teachers allowed us to move the classroom discussions so we controlled our own learning. We quickly became aware of what we did not know and made the moves to find out. I was amazed in college how many couldn’t write coherently. It was so bad, my English prof told me not to even worry about coming back. I had an A. She was depressed that she had to teach her class punctuation. I know all high schools are not that bad at preparing students for college, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that IB sent me places in my mind that I would not have gone without the program’s demands. They tried to get rid of IB in my old high school (Covington, Ky’s Holmes High), and guess what? IB alumni came out of the woodwork to stop it. The local school board was amazed at the support…especially in an inner city school district where there’s usually no support for anything at all. The IB alumni narrative ws the same…IB changed our lives…we were poor, but we had potential. My sister is an executive for a major pharmaceutical company and I am a lawyer. Our former IB classmates are similarly situated in their careers and we came from the worst school district in the state. Before relying on political pressure and posturing to vilify IB, look at some of the success stories…would they be possible without the IB background? My story would not have had a happy ending without the IB instructors,curriculum, and higher expectations.

  70. Reply shriya Sep 25,2014 3:43 pm

    In India too, IB is catching up. There are many schools who provides International Baccalaureate diploma programme for students. I have found good reviews for The Shri Ram School, Moulsari campus.

  71. Reply Mike Feb 20,2015 12:36 pm

    What is worrying is that IB encourages “their” young children to take action, meaning you see them in these types of forums defending IB when they haven’t even road tested their qualification out in the real world. If that’s not communist collectivist mentality then I don’t know what is.

  72. Reply eljefe Feb 20,2015 3:18 pm

    So the Young Republicans should just shut up and wait until they get jobs before they get involved in politics?

  73. Reply IB EDUCATOR Jun 12,2015 4:19 pm

    nice article , will recommend my student to go over it. i want to show them that how IB can change their life ?

  74. Reply mattie spurlock Sep 20,2015 7:37 am

    The happy blather of educrats and 1984-ish exuberant doublespeak in the IB materials, course descriptions, and public relations claptrap that I have read is astonishing. My favorite bit is the slavish reiteration of the meaningless phrase “teaching critical thinking skills.” Would those be something akin to Reason, Logic, Discourse? What are thinking skills, say, apart from the act of thinking? Parse it.

    Btw, Kentucky’s public school system is run by Democrats. The system is abysmal. I teach in Kentucky. The KY DOE is lock step with any collectivist pedagogical fad that makes its way to this backwater. The populace of Kentucky who actually makes it through school, the high-school drop out rate in many parts of the commonwealth is 50 percent, is hardly educated by any measure. Could be why we have so many welfare recipients. Check out the ITBS and Common Core test results if you’re so impressed with Kentucky public education.

    As for presumed great books advocated by the “far right,” no one reads them here anyway. You know — Harold Bloom and the Western canon? Great “critical thinking skills” giants such as Aristotle, Plato, Cicero, St. Augustine? Stick to Chemistry.

  75. Reply mattie spurlock Sep 20,2015 7:41 am

    “Critical thinking skills” is the kindergarten equivalent of philosophy.

  76. Reply mattie spurlock Sep 20,2015 7:43 am

    I love elitists who use tax dollars to fund private academies and call those public schools.

  77. Reply eljefe Sep 20,2015 12:51 pm

    Those would be called “charter schools,” no?

  78. Reply eljefe Sep 20,2015 12:57 pm

    Where did anyone here say they were impressed with KY public schools? I didn’t. And, in case you missed it, a Democrat in KY is not that much different from a Republican, politically speaking. A more useful description would be liberal vs. conservative. Once you get outside the larger cities and the university towns, KY is pretty conservative, no matter what political party people say they belong to. Case in point, Kim Davis in Grayson.

    As a matter of policy, I figure anyone who uses the term “collectivist” is on the conservative side of politics. Care to explain what you mean by this term? And yes, I know the meaning of it. I want to know what YOU mean by it. Thanks.

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