What Everyone Should Know About International Baccalaureate (IB)...
...that your district won't tell you!
This article was first published 7/31/11; most recent update 5/15/13.
I taught K-12 for six years and have four children who would have been forced into International Baccalaureate by my school district. So I started researching IB in December, 2009, here is what I've discovered.
An International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma from any school is a great accomplishment, but at what cost?
Most districts use the International Baccalaureate's (IB's) excellent marketing materials and do a very good job presenting the positive aspects of IB.
This article focuses on the less than flattering aspects of IB most districts do not disclose.
Our petition to keep IB out of our schools,
1) IB will increase college costs for most graduates compared to their fellow AP students because AP is much more accepted for college credit than IB. Most colleges that do give credit for IB only give credit for the IB HL classes (2 year courses).
Washington Post reporter Jay Mathews is the nation’s number one IB proponent, co-author of Supertest: How IB Can Strengthen Our Schools, admits colleges give more credit for AP than IB,
As of 1/20/13 Mr. Mathews is still complaining about colleges giving more credit for AP than IB,
Colleges most likely give more credit for AP classes because by definition they are college level classes.
Since this article was first written the IB has changed, at least three times, their definition of what high school IB classes are. In 2011 per IB's website, IB classes were, "university prepatory." Most recently (1/23/13) IB's website says, "The Diploma Programme: preparing students for success in higher education and life in global society."
AP classes are college level; IB classes are college prep. + ideology. When it comes to academics, IB is a downgrade.
In this six minute video the vice principal from Reno High (WCSD) compares AP to IB.
AP vs. IB Reno High Spring 2011
The vice principal states: "Very very clearly AP offers more college credit than IB. Universities by in large will give far more credit for passed AP courses than they will for IB courses. We did a little research and we can tell you that over 200 universities actively prefer the AP program over IB vs. only four universities that prefer IB over AP." Then the 200 universities that prefer AP are displayed.
Note - Because of pressure from Wooster IB (Reno, NV) graduates after 8 months the video was removed from Reno High's website. Starting at 26 minutes I address the board and ask them why they are allowing a few Wooster IB graduates to hide critical information from all other families in WCSD? The board does not respond. This is typical of school boards around the country, all facts less than flattering to IB are hidden from families.
At many colleges the most credit you can obtain for IB is 9 semester units. On the other hand, top AP students who graduate with up to 10 AP classes can obtain up to 30 semester units and can enter most colleges as sophomores.
Jay Mathews provides the perfect example in this article,
Here is specific AP vs. IB college credit information for 23 top colleges:
For admission to University of Cambridge students are better served with A-levels than with IB,
In Europe many IB graduates are failing to get into university,
An IB valedictorian compares AP to IB and why most students are better off taking AP.
2) When attempting to "sell" IB most districts distort the educational benefits of the programme but; IB itself does NOT claim IB will improve student performance. The research (including one dissertation) shows IB will NOT improve student performance.
In Dundee (Greenwich) Connecticut, IB has lowered test scores.
SCHOOLS: The Primary Years Programme (PYP) problem, "PYP was also terminated at Fernan Elementary a few years ago, because students’ test scores dropped while that program was in use."
3) IB's pedagogical method is one of constructivism and inquiry based learning. Here are several studies that show how direct instruction is superior to the inquiry based IB learning uses.
The Harvard Study,
Another study: http://www.cogtech.usc.edu/publications/kirschner_Sweller_Clark.pdf
Another study: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326114415.htm
Another one: http://www.jefflindsay.com/EducData.shtml
4) As an educator I believe constructivism and inquiry based learning has merit in many settings. The problem with IB is they use these methods on our youngest children to teach "personal and social education" to "develop attitudes" and get the children to "take action."
This is non-academic manipulation of our children by IB/United Nations (11 below) under the guise of developing "critical thinkers" and "world citizens."
One of the biggest problems I have with IB is that parents are rarely (if ever) notified IB is a UN sponsorored programme, and that the goal of the programme is NOT to education but to develop attitudes and get the children to take action.
This mother had her daughter in IB in for nine years and didn't know IB is a UN sponsored programme. When she discovered this fact, everything she had been going through for nine years finally made sense. Here are her comments,
5) At the elementary level, Primary Years Programme (PYP), IB is required school wide (Article 5). http://ibo.org/become/guidance/documents/PYPRulesforIBWorldSchools_e_FINALFILE.pdf
Parents who do not agree with the PYP (UN) ideology are forced into the programme.
Here are examples of PYP lessons,
At the middle school level, Middle Years Programme (MYP), the IB suggests MYP be implemented school wide.
At the high school, Diploma Programme (DP), when IB and AP classes are combined, per the IB regulations the IB material must take priority.
Another huge problem - any parent who objects to the IB ideology being forced on their children are typically intimidated by district employees and IB supporters (18 below).
Here is a catchy PYP IB video that gets all the student to think the same, attempts to develop attitudes, and propmts the students to take action. How much time was taken away from teaching real subjects to make this video?
6) IB is extremely expensive,
In 2004 when the IB fees were lower and there were far fewer IB schools in the US than today the Washington Times reported, "US schools spend an estimated $85 to $100 million a year on IB. Fairfax County schools alone spend $1.8 million a year."
7) Districts and the IB itself make it sound like the application process is rigorous and selective. In reality it appears no school has ever been turned down for IB, as long as the payments are received by IB.
8) The reasons most schools state for dropping IB are: 1) Cost, 2) Lack of student improvement with IB, 3) Less flexible than AP, 4) Lack of participation in IB classes, 5) Lack of college credit for IB.
9) Some international teachers and administrators oppose IB,
"In my opinion MYP has no educational value."
One educator writes,
"When the IB slithered into our school I was forced to act as the PYP coordinator for one year. Being the principal of the elementary school I had to sit and watch the school that I built get destroyed."
Another IB teacher writes,
"I have worked in three IB schools in South America and the Middle East and in each one have experienced nothing but chaotic teaching and students lacking basic skills in math, English and science."
IB teacher, Richard Ries, states:
1) "Teachers, often fearful of losing their jobs, begin adopting the IB lingo and pretend to support it in a way that eerily resembles scenes from George Orwell’s 1984 when mid-level workers blindly accept whatever 'truths' the oligarchy in Oceania tells them."
2) "You are supposed to be as enthusiastic about it as someone who sells used cars, particularly when talking to parents or students. You are trained to be a believer. The whole business is all too redolent of a dogmatic ideology — if not a cult."
3) "It (IB) downplays American exceptionalism, and gainsays some of our most cherished values as a unique civilization producing original thinkers."
A teacher at Grand Canyon School says: One "benefit" of IB is the round about way the program has brought GCS together. "In the hallways and during private moments, dislike of IB has always been a topic of discussion."
10) With IB schools give up some local control. When a school buys any IB programme they acknowledge: a) the rules for IB are governed by Swiss Law. b) Arbitration of any dispute (usually when a student does not get the IB Diploma) shall be handled in Geneva, Switzerland.
Articles 13 and 14 DP
"Governing law - Swiss law governs these Rules for IB World Schools: Diploma Programme and all other documents relating to authorization to teach the Diploma Programme.
Arbitration of disputes -
Any dispute arising from or in connection with these Rules for IB World Schools: Diploma Programme or any other document relating to the authorization to teach the Diploma Programme shall be finally settled by one arbitrator in accordance with the Swiss Rules of International Arbitration of the Swiss Chambers of Commerce. The seat of the arbitration shall be Geneva, Switzerland."
Articles 12 and 13 MYP
Articles 12 and 13 PYP
11) IB is a non-governmental organization (NGO) of United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) the United Nations (UN).
IB and UNESCO work out of the same building in Switzerland (toward the bottom of the page): http://www.truthaboutib.com/breakingnewsopinions.html
IB history and articles from IB's and UNESCO's website showing the IB/UN connection.
Here is a link to more articles and a video on the IB/UNESCO/global governance connection,
IB does not go out of their way to say IB is an NGO of UNESCO; in fact, some IB proponents will attempt to deny this fact.
US News and World Report - May, 2011 - IB Undermines US Founding Principles
An article titled, Is the IB indoctrinating our children with globalist agenda 21 nonsense? With numerous links to IB's own website.
Here is an eight minute video of a PowerPoint presentation by Duncan Koler Esq., titled, IB Connecting the Dots (International Baccalaureate and UNESCO educational objectives)
Here is an article where Chair of UNESCO's executive board, Mr. Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yi, said: "UNESCO's role is to think global governance. That is why the Organization was founded."
On 10/31/11 Jay Mathews published a very abbreviated version of this article where he defends UNESCO, he states: "Eppolito thinks IB association with the UN is some kind of taint." For the record, the "taint" is the fact that IB attempts to hide the association with UNESCO.
On 10/31/11: "The U.S. government announced that it has halted making financial contributions to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) after the latter admitted the Palestinian national Authority (PNA) as a full member."
On 11/1/11 "Foreign Affairs Minister of Canada, John Baird said Tuesday the decision is not in the best interests of peace in the Middle East so Canada is freezing all future voluntary contributions to the UNESCO."
12) Some people object to IB on religious grounds.
Here is how one Christian school compares IB to a Christian education,
In this third grade IB class in Summit County Colorado class third graders were taught, "about condoms, IUD's and the intricacies of birth control."
The teacher correctly stated a third grade birth control lesson is, "within the confines of the IB program."
According to UNESCO's (IB's) International Guidelines on Sexuality Education:
a) In sixth grade (section 5.2) you teach, "both men and women can give and receive sexual pleasure with a partner of the same or opposite sex."
b) In third grade (section 6.1) you teach: "steps for proper use of condoms" and that; "condoms and other contraceptives (including emergency contraception) can be used to prevent unintended pregnancy."
c) In kindergarten (section 4.1) you teach, "girls and boys have private body parths that can feel pleasurable when touched by oneself."
IB can divide Catholic schools,
This article titled, Secular Humanism: Just one Goal of International Baccalaureate, uses an article posted at IBO's website to prove her point.
13) From IB's website The Diploma Programme Curriculum-Core Requirements, Theory of Knowledge, "TOK is composed almost entirely of questions."
Here is an article from IB's website titled Values Constructivism and the IB Continuum,
On page 6 of 8 in referring to the TOK class it says (emphasis added),
"In their essays and oral presentations they (the students) grapple with questions like
- What makes evidence good enough to justify belief?
- What justifies the name of art?
- Do we act ethically out of social duty, religious belief, universal principle or self interest?
- When can it be right to disobey the law?
- Can suicide bombers be right?"
If these are not the kind of questions you want your high school student spending classroom time answering you should avoid IB.
14) This link is from IB’s website, if you scroll down to Sustainability as international mindedness it becomes clear IB has little to do with real education, and more to do with ideology; specifically - Agenda 21, Earth Charter, and UNESCO.
a) Agenda 21,
b) Earth Charter,
Some people who don't disagree with these concepts, do not want elementary schools to substitute these ideologies for "real education in real subjects."
15) At least one state is trying to eliminate IB, some have cut funding others are attempting to cut funding for IB, and some party platforms oppose IB.
- New Hampshire is attempting to remove IB from all schools,
The fight is not over in NH,
- In 2008 Utah cut funding for IB,
After funding was cut, Senator Margaret Dayton wrote this,
- Minnesota Republican Party Platform opposes IB - Section 4 Educate Our Children "We believe that Minnesota’s educational system would be more effective and efficient if we
eliminated federal and reduced state bureaucracies’ control. However, there should be no state and federal support of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program and the adoption of IB by local school districts."
- The New Hampshire Republican Party Platform opposes IB. Federalism (last sentence of platform): "Oppose laws and programs contrary to our founding principles such as Sharia Law, the International Baccalaureate Program, UN Agenda 21..."
16) AP may be best for gifted students, especially if they hope to earn as much college credit for their high school classes. According to Pedro Martinez, Superintendent of Washoe County School District (Reno), and IB proponent, “in my old district, Chicago gifted students usually take the AP classes.”
According to Duke University, "AP for Gifted students is still a good choice."
17) Per IB rules when IB/AP classes are combined as they are at many small high schools teaching both, the IB course material must take priority. Students then take both the IB and AP exam.
It is common for districts to boast about how well IB schools do on Jay Mathew's Americas Best Highs Schools list. What most schools do not disclose is how the list is determined. The list ONLY considers the number of advanced exams students take NOT how many are passed.
18) For the IB Diploma over the course of two years, students must meet all requirements in the link below and take: 3 SL (standard level) classes, 3 HL (higher level) two year classes, the Theory of Knowledge class (a UN influenced philosophy course), write the extended essay, AND complete 150 hours of community service. Article 15 of this IB document states the minimum test scores and all the other requirements to obtain the IB Diploma.
19) What is most concerning about IB is the deceitful way IB is implemented over and over again throughout the United States, and the impact it has on communities. Frequently superintendents and school boards vote, behind closed doors, to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and totally change a school and implement IB with little or no input from teachers, parents, or the community.
Districts do not answer the serious IB questions or acknowledge the political and religious concerns with IB. Anyone who opposes IB or asks difficult questions becomes a target of the district and the IB supporters.
In these articles a school board member says those opposing IB, "have been intimidated by supporters of PYP" and, "they feel they have been bullied and fear retribution if they speak out."
In anonymous letter from an IB opponent states: "There is a large 'silent' group of parents that oppose IB that remains quiet for fear of retaliation from the community and school district...The school district has unermined and intimidated any opposition to IB...While John Eppolito has been the fearless spokesperson an researcher against IB, he is not alone. The rest of us are just too afraid to speak up publicly for fear of retaliation from the school district against our families."
Here is the quintessential example of what IB does to communities. Stow-Monroe Falls, Ohio has a battle raging over IB implementation. Three of the five board members were changed, mostly due to IB and a vote recount has been ordered. Here is a snapshot of their IB facebook page on 12/3/11.
Districts do not allow an open and honest IB discussion. Here is the IB document on how to squelch the opposition,
Sometimes teachers are threatened with transfers, and parents who oppose IB or have questions are afraid to speak up.
Towards bottom of page:
Echo Hills Staff Bulletin
Week of May 30, 2011-June 6, 2011
Paragraph 1 Reflection
MONEY SHOULD NOT BE SPENT ON AN EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM THAT USE THESE TACTICS.
IB is the most expensive and controversal educational program available, but it will not improve student performance.
IB targets low performing schools where there is typically less parent involvement, therefore less IB opposition and controversy. The current trend of the IB is to push IB at the elementary level, where the educational value of the programme is minimal, but in younger students it is easier to “develop attitudes” and get them to “take action,” (4 above).
If the community begins to learn the points above, people will oppose IB. Once that happens people take sides and the community becomes divided. It has happened at numerous communities around the country.
Here's rare example of a school board in Greenwich, CT that questioned the superintendent about IB.
A couple months after this video was shot, the superintendent resigned, a few months later the new superintendent said the IB programme would not be expanded,
The school board chairman, in Coeur d' Alene, Tom Hamilton, is starting to speak up against IB for parents who, "have been bullied and fear retribution if they speak out."
Another member of the school board emailed me. Unfortunately, Mr. Hamilton has had to:
"pull his daughter out of the PYP school because she was retaliated against. It has taken a toll on his family because of the viciousness of the educators and some of the parents."
IB is the only educational program available that when questioned elicits bullying and agressive behavior from some of the IB supporters. IB divides communities; in my community, Incline Village Nevada, IB ended friendships.
Once in place IB can be very difficult to remove,
IB is not a good fit for most schools, but obtaining the IB Diploma is a major accomplishment for students.
After thousands of hours of research on IB, I think the programme is best for average and above high school students who are willing to work very hard, who's parents support the ideology, and who know in advance the amount of college credit they can expect with IB.
Tax dollars are being wasted on an expensive programme that: focuses on an ideology many consider controversial, forces that ideology on ALL elementary children, utilizes a substandard method for providing instruction, and offers less opportunity for college credit. Once districts decide IB will be implemented they do everything possible not allow an open and honest IB discussion. What is most troubling about IB is the way it is implemented; anyone with difficult questions or objections to IB becomes a target of the superintendent, school board, and the IB supporters. Any educational programme that can't be openly and honestly discussed is not worth spending money on. It is ironic that when people question IB and exhibit most traits of the IB Learner Profile, http://www.ibo.org/programmes/profile/documents/Learnerprofileguide.pdf, they become targets of the IB supporters. Families should consider these facts before enrolling in any IB programme.
Former K-12 teacher
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