Tavares, FL Feb. 9, 2015
by Vance Jochim, www.FiscalRangers.com
Short URL to this page: http://tinyurl.com/IBskeptic
This is a work in progress and draft - will be updated periodically
This document is from the conservative viewpoint and contains both pros and cons on UB schools.
Factsheet on IB Schools – International Baccalaureate “International Schools”
IB Schools are controversial, and are accused by conservative skeptics of being UN centric, however, like Agenda 21 where the American Planner’s Assoc. removed all mention of A21 on their website, the IB schools have removed all traces of connections to the UN on their websites but many earlier articles reference their connection to the UN but internet links are dead.
Update Jan. 18, 2016: At a Dec., 2015 Lake County, FL School Board planning "retreat", three of the five Board members, Marc Dodd, Rosanne Brandeburg and Bill Mathias said a main priority should be establishment of at least a south and north IB school program at two high schools. They told the Superintedent to start researching how to implement the IB program. In earlier meetings, staff said the IB programs were costly and competed with existing AP programs. We will monitor this, but the UN based, one world type of IB programs seem to be considered as "rigorous" programs so expect to see them discusses and budgeted for in the future.
What are IB Schools?
They were created by the Geneva, Switzerland diplomatic “international educator” community in 1968 since kids of Diplomats from many countries were having language and curriculum variations at each Embassy. Their parents might be assigned to any of 140 countries as diplomats and quality and language and curriculum varies significantly, so a need was to create a standard school system, sometimes known as “International” schools to fill that need. Sources say the original schools followed the well regarded Swiss education model, but later UN funding co-opted the program. Foreign families visiting other countries usually find an “International School” that focuses on non-native students, and they may or may not be an IB school. There are also some well known ones called “American schools” for US citizen children.
“IB is a foundation registered in Switzerland, the IB is non-profit. It is governed by an elected 17-member Board of Governors, which appoints the Director General, sets the strategic direction of the organization, adopts a mission statement, makes policy, oversees the IB's financial management, and ensures the autonomy and integrity of IB Diploma Programme examinations and other student assessment. Board membership represents cultural and geographical diversity.”
There are four main IB programs
PYP – Primary Years program for ages 3-12 started in 1997 - grades 1-5
MYP – Middle Years program for ages 11-16 started in 1994 – grades 6-10
DP - Diploma program for ages 16-19 ( results in high school diploma) started in 1968
CRP – Career Related Program for ages 16-19 ( high school career tech and employment) started 2012
Why do we care about implementation of IB school methods in the US?
The IB schools have expanded beyond just diplomatic communities, and there are now 4600 schools worldwide, and 1595 in the US, with 156 in Florida, where many are part of US local school systems. There were 41,107 worldwide DP course candidates in 2013. Overall pass rate of diploma candidates in 2013 were 79-80% (may not reflect all the dropouts). Recently, two school board members in Lake County, FL (home of FiscalRangers.com) requested the School Superintendent review implementing IB schools in Lake County. There are currently no IB schools in Lake County, but in Ocala and Orlando.
There are many conservative and parental issues related to acceptability of IB schools and curriculum in US school districts, funded by local or state or federal taxpayer funds.
Reasons cited by IB proponents why they are a positive addition to US school systems:
- You can find the IB “Benefits here: http://www.ibo.org/en/section-benefits/
- They are internationally focused, rather than on a single country education method.
- They are more strenuous (“rigorous”) - mandating homework loads of up to 5 hours per night. IB student YouTube videos constantly reference that issue.
- “Internationally oriented” parents may want their children to become “world citizens” rather than educated in US centric courses. One aim on graphics is “world mindedness” which is also a term I found in a UNESCO document.
- IB schools require fluency in a second language, which is good.
- 1997 Universities recognize the IB diploma with a published policy statement.
- The IB system is “selective” about who enters, so it provides a more motivated group of IB students who have to apply and be admitted.
- Entire schools or districts do not have to convert to IB – they could start with a group of 20 high school students with just a few IB classes, and using other non-IB classes as electives.
- IB has aligned with Common Core: : http://www.ibo.org/iba/ commoncore. The IB website points out that Common Core has no requirement for a second language, unlike IB.
- IB schools shift emphasis, like Common Core, from “factual content” orientation to soft skills like collaboration.
- History in IB Schools: Students and teachers have a choice of two routes through the Diploma Programme history course. The route one history course explores the main developments in the history of Europe and the Islamic world from 500 to 1570, while the route two history course focuses on 20th century world history. History is available at both Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL).
- Most linkages to the UN, UNESCO and
Reasons cited by conservative IB critics why they are a negative addition to US school systems:
- The United Nations and their education arm, UNESCO, provide funds and direction for the IB “one world citizen” teaching methods. Not all US parents want that. “IB was initially funded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)—which continues to fund certain IB activities—and that UNESCO currently describes IB as a "partner" in its international education initiatives. IB now operates as a non-governmental organization of the UN's Economic and Social Council.”
- The IB system is the world’s largest school district, sets its own standards, and is out of the control of local voters.
- The original 1968 IB program was based upon a well regarded Swiss education system, but has morphed into a UN supportive education system. “Today’s IB (like most ordinary K-12 curriculums) operates in partnership with UNESCO, and therefore is consistent with United Nations dogma. The IB is U.N. dogma on steroids, and redistribution of wealth is an overriding, subliminal theme.” “Switzerland, France and most other nations are facing the same leftist ideology, political correctness and mental “health” exercises — all passed off as academics.”
- IB objectives are opposite of the US Declaration of Independence - “The biggest difference between the American creed and IB is that our Declaration of Independence insists that government is beholden to the people; it does not exist to protect itself. This view puts teeth into the notion of inalienable, individual rights, which is one reason socialist-leaning schools here at home gloss over the Declaration — as if it were Thomas Jefferson’s unsolicited opinion.”
- IB follows the UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights) - Under the U.S. Bill of Rights, government has only those rights that the people say it has. The U.N. takes the position, in its Universal Declaration on Human Rights (Universal Declaration of Human Rights [UDHR], Article 29, Section 3), that: "rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations” [italics mine]. This small phrase is key: Under the UDHR, people have only those rights the United Nations (ergo, government) says they have.
- Taxpayer funds should not be used for IB schools – let them offer private schools, not even charter schools, without taxpayer funding.
- IB schools require significant training at a high cost for IB certified teachers.
- IB curriculums may exclude focused US history or only provide it as an elective, thus shifting knowledge of history to UN focused objectives.
- They are very expensive. Each school must pay significant fees to the Swiss based headquarters (or US division). Some reports say they cost three times the cost of AP classes.
- Their high homework loads prevent kids from most outside activities.
- Their high homework loads result in high dropout rates.
- Their teaching method focus is on writing, group learning and not learning facts or knowledge.
- The curriculum and lessons are designed in Switzerland, and bypass US school development or standards.
- Exams are graded by outsiders in Geneva or their US division HQ, and local teachers do not have any input on the results. Thus only good test takers will excel in IB schools.
- They compete with the US designed AP (Advanced Placement) courses designed and administered by the College Board (https://www.collegeboard.org/ ) , which is known also as the provider of college entrance SAT tests. The Lake County School District and many others are already heavily invested in AP courses. The College Board also administers the AP exams. IB courses are about three times as costly as AP classes and so many US critics question why TWO third party education systems should be in a school district. The extra costs result in reducing funds for teaching non-IB students.
- IB Buzzwords of Concern: 21st Century learners, international-mindedness, rigor, collaboration (vs importance of individual), inter-cultural understanding (i.e. one world vs country centric), global engagement, Global politics class,
- IB schools are now aligning with Common Core. So, any objections to Common Core would extend to IB, such as the use of “informational texts” rather than classic literature.
- US Civics classes may not be included in the IB curriculum. i.e. no info on US local, state or federal government issues.
- IB seems to focus on intellectual action projects and not physical or kinesthetic skills, thus students oriented to kinesthetic skills like sports might not get much from IB.
- Rather than acquiring factual knowledge, students get projects such as creativity, action or service projects, which are soft skills, not factual knowledge.
- Funding for IB in the US, which should be a private or charter school system, is mostly from US taxpayer funds.
- The IB donors list includes some sources that are questions by IB critics including Bill Gates, the UN’s UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), King Faisal Foundation (Arabic),
- IB may not provide any required or elective courses in US History, Civics or Social Studies. I searched on all those terms in the inanswers.ibo.org webpage and received no hits.
- Should we spend taxpayer dollars on a public school curriculum commissioned by the United Nations, made in Europe, and at odds with the principles of the American founding?
- IB is “A curriculum crafted in Europe, with a decidedly non-American and non-Judeo-Christian outlook on the world.”
- The IB organization, until recently, was an official supporter of the Earth Charter, “The Earth Charter advocates the redistribution of wealth among and within nations (Art. 10.a), population-control policies (Art. 7.e), abolition of "all forms" of discrimination based on sexual orientation (presumably including traditional marriage)(Art. 12.a), and military disarmament (Art. 16.e).” The Earth charter
- “In the IB philosophy, national sovereignty must yield to the imperative of solving global problems.” “In an interview in IB World magazine, Rischard praised IB for converting students from "national citizens" to "global citizens" and opined that IB is "showing the way" in facilitating "massive, systemic change" to address issues such as global warming.”
- “how do IB students compare academically? There is no empirical evidence that they outperform those who complete the more universally accepted AP curriculum.” They have their own grading and ranking system, but where are the analytical reports to show how they compare to AP or other schools?
- IB schools in the US would be sharing student data with non-Florida or US entities.
- IB schools in the US or parents of IB students would have to use Swiss based arbitration to settle disputes.
- “IB programs available to students are not within the actual control of the state, but that of a foreign body that can amend its laws as they see fit or, more correctly, at the determination of the United Nations' legal branch.”
- IB seems good for students who want a general, liberal arts type of education and have no interest in being US citizens, but being “world citizens” without national interests.
- IB may be leaving out country centric education, such as US History, unless as electives.
- If the student wants an international or US State Dept. position using soft skills, IB may be a good choice.
- IB is really expensive, and competes with less costly AP programs developed in the US.
- IB has non US and UN focuses, which eliminate any patriotic focus.
- IB History coverage is world history, including a focus on Islam.
- IB seems aimed at developing communications and social confidence and a global perspective like a small, liberal arts college, but not technical or professional competencies. They never specify any analytical evidence to support success.
- Conservatives may consider IB schools to be an agent of UN One World theories, since they were originally funded by them, and are still a UNESCO NGO.
- My recommendations to the Lake County School District is NOT to implement IB because:
- The extreme costs – much of which is buried, but estimates range from $30-100,000 per school for setup fees, then training, tests, etc. Similar but more expensive than AP.
- LCSD already have the AP programs – implementing IB seems to be just a way to pad resumes of administrators and trainers.
- IB programs have a reputation for many dropouts due to the work load.
- Obama’s buddy, Rahm Emmanuel converted many Chicago high schools to 100% IB.
- The program is selective, shifting higher cost per student to IB, reducing funds for other students.
- True costs seem to be hidden by most schools, which avoids true cost transparency.
- Most of the IB “benefits” seem to be vague, un-measured gobbledegook.
- I have not found any solid statistics on graduation or success rates.
- IB has to align with Common Core, or does it?
References supporting IB:
Myths about IB programs – on website of Harding Senior High School in St. Paul, MN
“The International Baccalaureate (IB) was funded by the United Nations Educated Service and Culture Organization (UNESCO), the 20th Century Fund, and the Ford Foundation until 1976. From 1977, however, the Heads Standing Conference (HSC) of Diploma Program (DP) schools was formed and they began to pay the IB annual subscription fee.”
Voice of America Special English report “IB Program Aims to form “Students of the World””
Conference on sustainability – want students to become students of the world
Students talked about what they would do to protect the environment
IB very broad, plus in depth thus “better” but quality of teachers is key
References Opposing IB:
Tom DeWeese on IB (2004) “The International Baccalaureate program should be ripped from the classrooms of America, defunded, and thrown upon the same ash heap of history where the former Soviet Union and other despotisms can be found.”
One critic of the program warned, "administrators do not tell you that the current IB program for ages 3 through grade 12 promotes socialism, disarmament, radical environmentalism and moral relativism, while attempting to undermine Christian religious values and national sovereignty."
Do you want your children growing up without learning the basic facts of our Constitutional form of government? Without learning the facts of our history, replete with the battles fought to retain individual freedoms, States rights, and the rule of law? A review of science, and even math texts, reveals that sustainable development, environmental protection, and social justice dominate material children are force-fed in the name of education.
Henry Lamb, one of the nation's experts on the United Nations, warns that the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization(UNESCO) "has been trying to impose an international curriculum to prepare students for world government" since its inception. During the Reagan administration, the US dropped its membership in UNESCO, citing how corrupt it had become. Typically, the Bush administration just put us back in!
As a result, the current administration tacitly supports the view of a 1949 UNESCO textbook, "Toward World Understanding", that says, "As long as the child breathes the poisoned air of nationalism, education in world-mindedness can produce only rather precarious results. As we have pointed out, it is frequently the family that infects the child with extreme nationalism."
Norway student “BrightonDestiny” YouTube positive video on IB – realistic STUDENT viewpoint – Aug 2014 - 14 min. – many videos like a journal
- Not as hard as people say – students don’t know how to study or level of commitment.
- Many students will just complain.
- First year, didn’t do all homework because she didn’t understand
- Couldn’t understand physics at all.
- Learning how to study right is vital. Spent entire first year learning to study.
- Boyfriend consumed a lot of time which was a big downfall – junior year.
- With IB, action is your responsibility and your fault. Must deal with poor teachers.
- “It is all on you”
- Use the book to offset poor teachers.
- TOK - Theory of knowledge is a course in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme which is, in essence, similar toepistemology courses offered at many universities. The TOK course is expected to involve 100 teaching hours over the two years of the Diploma Programme. Having followed the course, students should be competent to analyse knowledge claims and respond to knowledge issues in the context of different areas of knowledge and ways of knowing, expressing ideas accurately and honestly, using examples from their own experiences as learners and in outside life.
- Many kids ditch school because attendance doesn’t count. (This is in Norway, might be different in US)
- Had to go to summer school, which is “very expensive” (generates more $ for IB)
- Kids procrastinated and then cried and broke down with stress.
- You are in this isolated zone of school. Horror stories of kids dropping out.
- IB is high stress, and if you are already in that place, doesn’t work out well.
May 26, 2011 – US News Opinion article
“a growing chorus of parents and concerned citizens oppose IB because of its conflict with America's founding principles.”
“An excellent source for evaluating IB is "A Continuum of International Education," published by the IB Organization in 2002. ( see HERE for the 2008 updated version) From this document, we learn that the goal of IB is not merely to impart knowledge or teach thinking skills, but rather to develop "citizens of the world" with "universal human values."What are these values? Not necessarily the values of the student's parents or faith, but those embodied in the UN Declaration of Human Rights. That document decrees that "[e]ducation ... shall further the activities of the United Nations ..."—presumably including activities not endorsed by the United States, such as the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Kyoto Protocol.”
IB Earth Charter support: “Another controversial IB connection is the Earth Charter, a sweeping blueprint of international rights and responsibilities promoted by Mikhail Gorbachev, among others. The Earth Charter advocates the redistribution of wealth among and within nations (Art. 10.a), population-control policies (Art. 7.e), abolition of "all forms" of discrimination based on sexual orientation (presumably including traditional marriage)(Art. 12.a), and military disarmament (Art. 16.e). The Charter also decrees that all nations "must ... support the implementation of the Earth Charter principles with an international legally binding instrument on environment and development."Until recently, the IB Organization was listed among official Earth Charter endorsers, and former IB Deputy Director Ian Hill affirmed that "the IBO endorses the Earth Charter and suggests many topics that promote it." As controversy grew about this connection, however, IB announced on its website that it had "with[drawn] its endorsement." Many observers are skeptical that this about-face constituted a substantive change rather than a politically motivated dodge.” HERE is the actual 6-page Earth Charter and some of the objectives are:
- Promote social and economic justice, enabling all to achieve a secure and meaningful livelihood that is ecologically responsible. (Social Justice is income redistribution and collectiveism)
- Affirm that with increased freedom, knowledge, and power comes increased responsibility to promote the common good. (Communism)
- Biological diversity
“In the IB philosophy, national sovereignty must yield to the imperative of solving global problems.”
- “Establish and safeguard viable nature and biosphere reserves, including wild lands and marine areas” (wildlands means pushing people into high density areas and limiting human access to “wild lands”.
- “Promote the recovery of endangered species and ecosystems.” (This promotes regulatory restrictions that harm land and property rights, and reduce value, such as prohibitation of development due to presence of endangered lizards and gopher tortoises).
- “Take action to avoid the possibility of serious or irreversible environmental harm even when scientific knowledge is incomplete or inconclusive. “ Apply the “precautionary approach” to environmentalism. If science does not exist, then regulate it anyway. (Harms property rights.)
- “Guarantee the right to potable water, clean air, food security, uncontaminated soil, shelter, and safe sanitation, allocating the national and international resources required.” (This means to tax the US to fix problems in other countries – income re-distribution on a worldwide scale).
- There are many more communist based UN objectives which can be read at the source document.
May, 2006 – Education Reporter
IB – Analysis of Jurisdiction - Swiss law governs IBO Procedures and Disputes
“In its Rules for Authorized Schools, the schools must "abide by all the IBO regulations and procedures" (IBO, 2005, p.18).”
“Under Article 13, arbitration is the way to resolve disputes regarding the Rules. The arbitration process consists of three arbitrators who act under the Rules of Arbitration from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Switzerland; the seat for arbitration is in Geneva (IBO, 2005, p.22). These same provisions for governance exist in the following IBO documentation intended for American schools.“
Conclusions of the author: “It is evident that the IB programs available to students are not within the actual control of the state, but that of a foreign body that can amend its laws as they see fit or, more correctly, at the determination of the United Nations' legal branch. Moreover, the State of Oklahoma continues to support schools that sign a contract with the IBO through its statutes and funding. Our own statutes show a kind of willingness to erode our own sovereignty by submitting to an international organization where an American school would essentially have to resolve its disputes according to the rules of a foreign body — the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “ Lyn Rahman is an education researcher with Oklahomans for School Accountability.
Undated Article – John Birch Society – “IB Program is the UN on Steroids”
- “Today’s IB (like most ordinary K-12 curriculums) operates in partnership with UNESCO, and therefore is consistent with United Nations dogma. The IB is U.N. dogma on steroids, and redistribution of wealth is an overriding, subliminal theme.” “Switzerland, France and most other nations are facing the same leftist ideology, political correctness and mental “health” exercises — all passed off as academics.”
- “The biggest difference between the American creed and IB is that our Declaration of Independence insists that government is beholden to the people; it does not exist to protect itself. This view puts teeth into the notion of inalienable, individual rights, which is one reason socialist-leaning schools here at home gloss over the Declaration — as if it were Thomas Jefferson’s unsolicited opinion.”
“The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) was formed in the 1960s to provide a western system of education for the children of U.S. diplomats. In 1996, however, IBO formed a partnership with UNESCO to create a pilot program for what the IBO and UNESCO websites describe as an international system of education.
Today IB is essentially an arm of UNESCO, and when American schools join IB, they agree that IBO-UNESCO will train the teachers, write the curriculum, compose the important tests (which are sent to Geneva for scoring), and dictate the values, attitudes and worldview that will be taught to the students.
In order for IBO students and faculty to become world citizens, they are required to memorize the ten learner profile values of world citizenship. The Ten Commandments have been replaced with the 10 values of IBO-UNESCO. On its website IBO says: The attributes of the learner profile express the values inherent to the IB continuum of international education.”
“The Values of IB
IBO says that it endorses the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Article 26 of UDHR says education shall further the activities of the United Nations. This means that IBO agrees to promote and teach all the activities of the UN including treaties and documents America has not signed such as the UDHR, the Treaty on the Rights of the Child, Kyoto, the UN Treaty on Biodiversity, the Earth Charter and the treaty establishing the new UN Criminal Court, to name just a few.
The UNs Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which IBO advocates, describes our fundamental human rights as follows:
"These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations." “
IB Continuum Documents – issued annually
“What is an IB Education” Credits include:
Brooks, JG and Brooks, MG. 1999. In search of understanding; The case for constructivist classrooms. Alexandria, Virginia, USA. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Delors, J, et al. 1999. Learning: the treasure within. Report to UNESCO of the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century. Paris, France. UNESCO.
Dewey, J. 1909. Moral principles in education. In LA Hickman and TA Alexander (eds). The Essential Dewey volume 2. 1998. Bloomington, Indiana, USA. Indiana University Press.
Grant, CA and Portera, A. 2011. Intercultural and multicultural education: Enhancing global connectedness. New York, USA. Routledge
Perkins, D. 1999. “The many faces of constructivism”. Educational Leadership. Vol 57.3. Pp 6-11.
Slideshows from an IB school – Green Bay Public Area School
IB & UNESCO or UN
The IB, along with approximately 400 other organizations is part of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC). This relationship with the United Nations and its agencies does not extend to curriculum development or assessments.
Myths: Over 800 universities in the United States alone recognize the IB Diploma as a mark of academic excellence—some of them include Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Carleton, Macalester, the University of Minnesota, John Hopkins, Howard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Bethel, Augsburg, St. Thomas, Gustavus Adolphus, and many others. (Note that the ones listed are almost all private colleges, and not public universities)
Myth: America’s foundational principles of national sovereignty, natural law and inalienable rights are at odds with the IB curriculum and are not taught.
Fact: The IB believes that relevant education begins with an understanding and appreciation of one’s own culture. From that perspective comes an understanding and appreciation of differing cultures and histories. IB believes in creating a better world through education. (what gobbledegook – didn’t even answer the issue)
2013 – Actual Cost of IB Programs - Watchdogwire
“The verbal source gave an off-the-top estimate of “at least $200,000” per year per school for the IB program alone. This is in a county with most, if not all, schools in some phase of the IB process, including elementary schools. The general rule of thumb is if the high school is in any phase of the process, so are the feeder schools to that high school.”
2004 Tom DeWeese article on IB