Why I'm not a conservative, number ...

Monday, March 13, 2006
... ah, hell, I've lost count.

A US school district has banned the International Baccalaureate after officials condemned it as "un-American" and Marxist, sparking outrage among pupils who are studying the increasingly popular diploma. ....

The irony for Upper St Clair is that the Republican district board members who have banned the IB are going against the views of the president. Despite his disdain for the UN, the Kyoto protocol, the International Criminal Court and many other international institutions, Bush specifically called, in this year's state of the union address in January, for expansion of the IB programme.


CF said...

I love the IB. My son went to one and I served on its Board for 15 years. I helped start an IB school in Thailand and would love to start one in L.A. so my grand daughter can have that experience. I think it is simply the best possible education.

It is not, however, a traditional education in a national public school, and some people find that hard to accept.
If I had my druthers every parent would have a range of options. Since they don't, those of us who care about the intellectual devlopment of our children just have to consider non-public options.(BTW the school I was affiliated with was started by a very Anglo-centric person who really did have contempt for her native land. Nevertheless,in the way of all children, most of the kids knew shit from shinola. The non-Americans got green cards as fast as they could and the Americans considered the Internaional organizations pathetic.(One of my son's best freinds--born in Trinidad signed up for the US military right after 9/11.)

flenser said...

But during election debates, some of the five also hurled accusations at the IB's content, claiming that its teaching is anti-Christian, un-American and Marxist.

They object to the largely secular, multi-cultural bent of the curriculum and its emphasis on international institutions and pacts such as the United Nations, or the Kyoto protocol to reverse global warming, which opponents argue undermines American sovereignty and nationalism.

As for the charge of Marxism, this principally stemmed from the International Baccalaureate Organisation's support for the Earth charter, a global set of aims devised in France in 2000, which, Trombetta was most concerned, called for people worldwide to protect the environment, oppose militarism and promote equal distribution of wealth.

You might want to read the articles before going off half-cocked.

I think we all know you are not a conservative because you are not smart enough. Maybe when you grow up .... ?

gumshoe1 said...

flenser -

i see no need to
mimic seneca and hurl insults.

who said he had to be a conservative??

he's welcome to apply his own label.

i do get the feeling he's trying to convince others of his viewpoints.

he's entitled to that as well.

i'll predict
the insults won't
accomplish what he's after.


Seneca the Younger said...

You're right, Flenser, I'm sure everyone on here recognizes my relative lack of intellectual capacity.

You might want to read Clarice's comment that precedes yours, however.

Seneca the Younger said...

Gumshoe: insults? All I wrote was "... ah, hell, I've lost count."

Morgan said...

...the local Pittsburgh Post Gazette newspaper has been avalanched with letters supporting the programme, its rigorous standards, broad range of subjects and outlook, and its sound reputation with universities from the Ivy League down.

Pardon the cheap shot, but are they claiming there's a "down" from the Ivy League?

I had never heard of the International Baccalaureate, and I thought the IBO had something to do with boxing.

And, while I agree that banning the IB is over the top, after a quick glance at the web page for its "Primary Years Programme" (3-12 years), I'm already convinced that it's a multi-culti, touchy-feely, education-as-propaganda program. If I wanted that, I'd send my kids to any old public school.

Teachers assess students by selecting or designing methods of assessment appropriate to the learning outcomes they intend to capture.

Teachers also take into account the diverse, complicated and sophisticated ways that individual students use to develop and demonstrate their understanding.

My diverse, complicated and sophisticated reaction? Crap-tastic.

gumshoe1 said...

Gumshoe: insults? All I wrote was "... ah, hell, I've lost count."

and all i said was:

"who said he had to be a conservative??"

you're baiting people
and you know it.

quit acting fey.

Seneca the Younger said...

Y'know, Gumshoe, your previous attempts at inferring my state of mind haven't been just notably successful.

Point out the insult.

gumshoe1 said...

i'll let my comments stand.

Syl said...

I'd say to the conservatives--then start your own damn program if you abhor this one so much.

I keep hearing about authoritarian liberals, well, some conservatives should look in the mirror.

CF said...

Check out the high school curriculum..It was designed so children whose parents are stationed all over the world can be admitted to schools in their home countries. Many public schools offer only the last 2 years of the program.

Most colleges say that kids who've gone thru it are the best prepared of the entering students. In Fla if you do well on the IB exams (internationally graded), you get an automatic scholarship. Most schools offer one to 2 years college credit for students who do well on those exams.
Truly, it is the gold standard.

chuck said...

You might want to read the articles before going off half-cocked.

The Guardian piece also has this:

Despite the cost of the Iraq war and America's ballooning deficit, which is robbing social, health and educational programmes of funding, he announced an extra $380m to boost IB initiatives and a homegrown alternative called Advanced Placement.

The Guardian is mostly garbage. I wouldn't jump to any conclusions based on something I read there. The article didn't say much about the IB, nor do I think you can trust its reporting on anything in America. Junk, just junk. Keep that in mind.

I'm sure there is better information out there on which to base a stand one way or the other on this issue.

CF said...

Here's the High School Curriculum:

Students select six subjects for two years study: English, one or two other languages, and at least one course each in mathematics, experimental science, and social science. Three courses are taken at Higher Level and three at Standard Level, allowing students to pursue advanced work of particular interest. They take an arts elective and Theory of Knowledge--a critical thinking and philosophy seminar--and research and write an extended essay on a topic of their choosing. Students also complete a minimum of 60 hours or volunteer community service, choosing the activities and evaluating themselves.

At the end of Grade 12, IB Diploma candidates complete a three-week battery of oral and written examinations in all of their IB subjects. IB exams are prepared and externally graded under the supervision of the International Baccalaureate Organisation in Geneva.

CF said...

Upper School (Grades 9 through 12)

The Upper School program is unique among independent schools in Washington. Students in Grades 9 and 10 follow a prescribed curriculum emphasizing analytical and critical thinking. In all subject areas they develop an ability to apply what they know and support their ideas through speaking and writing.

All Grade 9 students take English; French, Spanish or their own native language; a third language or information technology; integrated mathematics including algebra, geometry, and trigonometry; three sciences concurrently—biology, chemistry, physics; world history; geography. They also make two aesthetic choices in music, art, drama, or journalism. Physical education is required.

In Grade 10, students design and develop a Personal Project, an independent study in an area of particular interest that links several academic subjects and areas of interaction. The Personal Project may be a research essay, artistic production, original experiment, invention, or some other means of expression. Tenth grade students have some flexibility in their curriculum to reflect their academic strengths and interests as they prepare for the International Baccalaureate Diploma program in Grades 11 and 12.

Students in Grades 11 and 12 follow the IB Diploma program,

terrye said...


That sounds like education to me. It seems that perhaps conservatives heard the word "international" and went over board. Happens all the time.

terrye said...


I have my doubts about the Gaurdian as well. I just loved the stuff about how the Iraq war is draining education spending.

Puhleaze, conservatives are always complaining about increased spending in education and social programs.

I think conservatives need to be careful, first it was the creationist stuff in the school in KS and now this.

Eric Blair said...

Well, look it was a 5-4 vote at the school board, and you can bet it will be an issue in the next election.

Like that school board that got turned out in Delaware or where ever after mandating that intelligent design was to be taught.

Morgan said...

I note that the IB has taken an anti-competive stance by adopting criterion-based measures and, more to the point, refusing to grade students in comparison to one another.

Does anyone with experience with the program know how stringent these criteria are and how many levels of differentiation exist?

BTW, some conservatives do have their own curricula - home-schoolers.

Seneca the Younger said...

Its not like kids in schools aren't getting a one-world, kyoto friendly, redistributionist slant anyway. At least these kids are actually getting an education too.

chuck said...


...refusing to grade students in comparison to one another.

I don't have a problem with absolute standards, students should be graded against the ideal, not against their cohorts. The 98'th percentile of a pile of shit is still shit.

I admit that both methods have their place and that lack of competitive evaluation is seldom replaced by gold standards. Sports offer examples of both methods: runners race to beat the competition but they also race against the clock, the standard that lives through the ages.

CF said...

morgan, I do not know what you are talking about. The exams at the IB level are sent around the world for grading along an agreed upon standard which is very tough.

So tough that every top university in the world accepts those results.

In the UK many schools are switching to the IB from the traditional curriculum because they think it's better, The IB curriculum was first set at the high school level and has worked its way down now to an entire 13 year program.The original curriculum was established by educators from Oxford and Harvard who thought it was possible to set a basic curriculum for college preparation that would be accepted everywhere in the world.

By chance, two of the best young people in my husband's firm turn out to have been IB students--one in South America, the other from Italy. IB students just are better critical thinkers than most.

Morgan said...


...students should be graded against the ideal, not against their cohorts. The 98'th percentile of a pile of shit is still shit.

Of course there should be criterion-based assessment (though I don't think it's possible to set the bar at the ideal). I just don't think that competition should be eliminated or that we should avoid comparing students to one another in addition to applying standard criteria.

The problem is that, without competition, exceeding the criterion becomes the goal - "But Dad, I'm finished learning!" I don't want my kids to exceed the criterion like everyone else, I want them to kick the snot out of everyone else.

And sure, the 98th percentile of a pile of shit still stinks, but the analogy isn't valid - the pile of shit is a distant odor for the 98th percentile of a group competing to get as far away from it as possible. The only way to ensure that everyone finishes up still in the pile of shit is to make sure they think they've accomplished everything they can reasonably accomplish when they get two thirds of the way up the pile.

That's why I asked whether anyone was familiar with the stringency of the standards themselves - call it the "do they care if anyone gets out of the pile of shit" question. CF says "yes, they do, you unthinking, uneducated lump". She's right about the unthinking and uneducated part, so I assume she's right about the standards being high as well.


The exams at the IB level are sent around the world for grading...

Sending exams around the world to be graded doesn't say anything about the quality of the education people receive, as far as I can see. Are you making an appeal to the inherently greater expertise of people outside of the US?

...In the UK many schools are switching to the IB from the traditional curriculum because they think it's better

Lots of schools have switched away from traditional curricula in the US because they thought something new was better, too. So far they're something like 0 for 1000 picking winners. Is this also an appeal to the inherently greater expertise of people outside of the US?

IB students just are better critical thinkers than most.

This is a classic case of correlation not implying causation. Clearly the causally important fact is that the IB students you have in mind are from outside of the US.

Seneca the Younger said...

Morgan, tht really doesn't make a whole helluva lot of sense.

If I'm trying to learn to read, it doesn't matter much if I'm the best reader in my senior class if that means I'm reading at a third grade level. Your competition only matters, at most, at the margin.

Clarice's point about the IB tests being sent overseas is that the tests are graded to uniform and rigorous standards, comparable to the standards expected of, for example, the allgemeine Hochschulreife (or Abitur) in Germany.

There's a reason why an IB or Abitur is considered equivalent to a couple years of college here --- and why a high school diploma from the US isn't considered sufficient for admission to University in Germany.