ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Debating IB and Global Citizenship

Post submitted by Whole Child Blogger Ashley Magnifico

Although there are countless methods of teaching global citizenship, the International Baccalaureate (IB) is the most well-known educational model, especially for secondary education. According to the IB website, over 2,000 schools worldwide offer the IB Diploma Program, which is designed to prepare students age 16–19 "for success at university and life beyond."

Providing tools for curriculum development, student assessment, and training and evaluation in schools, the IB is designed to instill skills in

  • critical thinking,
  • independent learning,
  • intercultural understanding,
  • evaluating and constructing arguments, and
  • solving problems creatively

All of these are essential to the democratic education model. (For a more comprehensive look at IB and examples of its programs in the United States, see "How IB Prepares Students" from the May 2008 issue of Educational Leadership magazine.)

The United States hosts about one-third of these schools—and some of the program's most outspoken critics. Leading the opposition is Lisa McLoughlin of Long Island, N.Y., founder of Truth About IB. Among the objections cited by this group are "values that conflict with traditional Judeo-Christian values," as well as "Marxist ideology," high costs to schools, and "the forfeiture of local control of school curriculum and culture."

McLoughlin is not alone in her criticism. In May, a group of Idaho parents took to the streets to protest a local elementary school's adoption of the IB Primary Years Program. Back in 2008, during an IB debate in nearby Utah, state Sen. Margaret Dayton blogged on that "the IB program teaches a skeptical unattached philosophy of world citizenship. It does not try to instill cultural identity ... I don't want to create 'world citizens' nearly as much as I want to help cultivate American citizens who function well in the world."

Many stakeholders in American education are unsure of how to deal with IB and the objections from its critics. One key issue is how IB compares to the College Board's Advanced Placement (AP) programs, which TAIB and other American IB critics greatly prefer. In a July 15 blog post, Jay Mathews of the Washington Post applauds both AP and IB for offering "the most challenging courses in U.S. high schools today." In fact, Mathews argues that "IB is slightly better" in assessing students, and laments that "college academic departments do not usually treat AP and IB equally" in assigning course credit. A New York Times article from July 2 makes a similar note but adds that IB is widely respected by colleges, several of which "give students with an IB diploma sophomore standing, and some offer special scholarships."

As for the charge from critics that IB is overly expensive, Mathews calculates that the cost to a Fairfax County, Va., high school is "about the amount that school paid for its baseball and softball programs." Funding for sports programs is an investment in healthy and well-rounded students; programs like IB should be evaluated on their merits as well. There are very few—if any—other programs that provide such a comprehensive support system and curriculum for teaching citizenship in today's "global village." Schools should judge IB on its benefits to students, not on the fears of outside interest groups.

For more on issues of educating for democracy and global citizenship, visit Democratic Education on, and join the discussion at the Democratic Education group on ASCD EDge.

Comments (92)

Teacher of 35 Years

August 7, 2010

This program should be kicked out of the US along with its creator, UNESCO.

Schools are paid for with local taxes and should not base curriculum on the goals and AGENDA of OUTSIDE INTEREST GROUPS, and when I say outside interest groups, I mean OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY, who do not support the right to be a sovereign REPUBLIC.

Teacher of 35 Years

August 7, 2010

Further it is rather shocking that you would state that parents and taxpayers who object to this program are ‘outside interest groups’!

This is really communism, everything is upside down, what’s wrong is right, what’s right is wrong.



August 7, 2010

What is the meaning of a global citizen?  Why are we not focused on what it means to be an American citizen? 
Why do the schools NEED to adopt IB ?  They say it’s to bring rigor to the course of study.  Really?  They are incapable of doint that without IB?  Even though plenty of private schools offer college prep without the political baggage of IB.
If the administration is incapable of offering a college prep course of study at the high school that is free of the UN political indoctrination and the expensive price tag…FIRE THE ADMINISTRATION.
Problem solved

Robin Long

August 10, 2010

I am a coordinator for the Primary Years Program. There are many misrepresented statements in ‘The Truth About IB’. The most glaring inaccuracy is the belief that IB is anti-American. A tenant of the organization’s Standards and Practices is that all students are required to have a firm foundation in their own cultural identity FIRST and use this as a basis of comparison as they learn that there are other places and people who may do things differently. That is the only way to promote intercultural understanding and respect. Without empathy for others, how can we be world citizens?

In Arizona

August 13, 2010

The real shame of this debate is the thought that people can’t learn about other cultures without there being some sort of talk about communism or terrorist.  It is unfortunate that there are so many xenophobic people in this country.  Trying to dictate to the entire country that they need to follow Judeo-Christian values in order to be American is about as un-American as you can get.  FREEDOM requires you to allow for differences.  The day you start limiting what is meant by that term is the day we start to travel down the same road as those countries you despise so much.  If you say it’s unAmerican to allow for a program like IB, I say you are the communist for wanting us all to follow your specific path.

Steve Bailey

August 13, 2010

During my career, I have served as a school district IB coordinator, a teacher in the largest AP program in Canada, and a faculty of education university instructor and faculty associate - this latter position taking me to schools which have a strong IB program. Both IB and AP continue to have significant positive influences on Canadian curriculum development and on the breadth and depth of course offerings to students. At both IB and AP conferences, I have met dedicated, passionate educators from all over North America who have established networks that strengthen the quality of public education generally. My experience with both of these academic enrichment programs (IB and AP) has been nothing but positive. I cannot accept the irrational comment of “Teacher of 35 years”. Experience simply does not support an contention that offering IB caters to the agenda of ‘outside interest groups’. Parents and school communities welcome IB as a strong academic and community building educational endeavor. Similarly, MOMwithABrain’s suggestion that IB promulgates “UN political indoctrination” and has “political baggage” is simply too ludicrous for words.

Mike Robinson

August 13, 2010

A little history of the IB may be of use at this point. When I first learned about the IB program and when it was first getting a following was around 25 years ago when I was the HS Principal in the Graded American School in Brazil. The HS had around 300 students virtually all of whom were college bound. Our school had a tough academic program that prepared students for competitive American universities. About 40% of our students were Americans and about 40% were Brazilians. Many of the students hoped to attend a top flight American University and we had a full slate of AP classes to help prepare them. We also had the Brazilian diploma which Brazilians had to have by national law in addition to the American diploma they sought. Unfortunately for the 20% or so of our studentes who were not Brazilian or American there was not a good option to prepare them to enter the Europeon universities. They needed the equivalent of A levels and we started an IB program to satisfy that need. As I say it is a program, not a series of courses that studets may chose from as is the AP ‘program.’ It was rigorous and comprehensive and included public service as well as an extended “Thory of Knowledge” paper to integrate the various parts of the program and provide a culminating expeirence in critical thinking. Many American and Brazilian parents saw the advantages it could give their children so American and Brazilian students began taking the program as well. Their parents looked at it as an opportunity for good education not a pitting of American or Brazilian education or culture against European. Now that I am back to working in the US, I see it as unfortunate that many Americans still cannot get by the idea that if it is not American it has less value. Seemingly we have forgotten that all of us came from somewhere and one of our biggest pluses has been the mixing of values and ideas from other cultures. If we were to be able to come back and view our world in 5,000 years, assuming it is still here, I expect it would be comprised of a homogeneous people and culture from that 5,000 years of mixing.

Leo West

August 13, 2010

As a retired teacher of World Cultres as well as AP Europan History. my biggest problem was xenophobic people who objected to some of my classes without any knowledge of the course content.  I was told to Teach “Amurican!”  When I first taught WORLD HISTORY in the 1950s, there were 5 pages in the text devoted to Africa, 8 pages for Asia, 2 pages for Latin America and no mention of Canada except on a map of North America. The book covered Ancient, Medieval and Modern History of Europe up to 1938 and had a chapter on the United States. Why are we ignorant about the world?  It ends at the county line.


August 13, 2010

I am a 27 yr old American who recieved the IB diploma from a public high school in VA.  I do not remember being taught “Marxist ideology” or “UN indoctrination”.  I do remember a very rigorous, challenging program that prepared me for college (which I found to be easier than IB). I do remember professional, excellent teachers that challenged me and pushed me to always learn more. 

IB is a great academic program that kicks your butt and trains your mind.  We had to not only take exams that covered two years worth of material, but also write a huge essay AND perform community service.  What’s not to love about that?

The fears expressed about “outsiders” are grounded in ignorance and ethnocentrism.


August 13, 2010

I am the principal of a MYP school.  In our 11 years we have been honored with two national awards. One for character and the Blue Ribbon Award from our federal dept. of education.  Does that sound like a school teaching marxism.  We have heard the same old tired argument in our district against IB but our data and record prove otherwise.

Pam J.

August 13, 2010

I am a proud recipient of the I.B. Diploma, which I earned about 20 years ago.  The I.B. Program provided me with the skills, knowledge, & frame of reference that made it possible for me to grow as a student, thinker, & person.  As a result of the I.B. experience, I was able to not only gain entry to the nation’s top colleges & universities, but excel.  The mere fact that the I.B. Program is under attack bafles me, truly.  As an educator, I can tell you that true high-quality programs are few-and-far between.  When one appears with the substance & quality of the International Baccalaureate, we should be applauding as opposed to complaining & denigrating such an opportunity.  The I.B. Program is not un-American or anti-American; rather, it helps our children develop & nurture a worldview that can only help them & our collective humanity in the longrun.  As a former I.B. Student, I NEVER thought of it as AP vs IB; rather, I considered myself blessed to have the opportunity to study in a program that also offered a high-quality educational experience.  It’s time to move past the xenophobia & narcissism & accept the reality that good ways of being & educating emanate from the world over!  Please people, let’s take steps forward, & not back.

IB Under Attack in the US « Markparkinson

August 14, 2010

[...] ASCD Whole Child Article [...]

Gordon Dryden

August 14, 2010

Wow: no wonder the US public school system has such big problems, while your top eight research universities set a standard for the world. I’m a New Zealand-based author who has spent the last 20 years researching, writing and producing television programs on the world’s best methods of learning, including many fine examples in the United States.  Among the finest globally those affiliated with the International Baccalaureate Organization.  So much so that I personally recommend countries and states to adopt the IB curriculum as an optional choice, especially its Primary Years Program from age three through elementary grades. In those elementary grades, the curriculum each year is based around six six-weekly or seven-weekly “inquiry-themes or topics”: planets of the universe, oceans and water systems of the world,the human body, the human brain, endangered species etc.  All “subjects”, at increasingly higher levels, are linked into those subjects.  Thus, for example, while studying the human body, all subjects, such as artwork, computer studies, science and a second language is related to that topic (globally, locally and nationally) so that the students relate their “academic” curriculum with real-world examples. Groups of students at each level can thus work together to “use the world as their classroom”, including of course their own country as related to the world. This is an ideal way of linking the world’s best educational research (such as America’s great research into the neurosciences and ‘multiple intelligences’) with the world’s best interactive technology.  Thus for example, students with different strengths, ,natural talents and learning styles can work together to produce high-quality multimedia projects, including their own professional-level video-movies,, so that in this way all students learn to link their own talents and skills in with those of others—just as I do as a television producer and anchor. All IB schools employ their own curriculum coordinator or (for larger schools) coordinators who work in advance of each “topic-theme” to research the best new developments in education and technology. Thus many of the latest advances in science from America’s National Geographic and History TV channels, Public Broadcasting and Britain’s BBC can be identified and stored in each schools’ web-server.  Many IB schools are international ones. Many are also linked in “collaborative classrooms” where by they can share some of the world’s best lesson plans. Unlike many American school districts and states, this does NOT mean that IB schools are mesmerized by “standardized testing”, but students are encouraged to act like professional multimedia journalists, using the world’s newest multimedia technology to explore the world’s knowledge in depth and to report test it against available alternatives.  That, of course, is what your great research universities do, and why the best of those, such as MIT, now put all their lesson plans and lectures online so that they can be shared globally, in the world we all live in.  By comparison, almost half of India’s villages have no primary school. And I only wish the United Nations has enough sense to make the IB Primary Years Program available to all of them, so be shared through the same brilliant technology that America’s non-standardized innovative technology is already being shared globally. My only criticism of the IBO is that its affiliate pricing system makes it too expensive for low-income countries.  Hence my view that the UN and Governments should fund it.  Incidentally, the original IBO (and its senior level high school program) emerged after the second world war as part of a desire to never again allow dictatorships to distort their countries’ histories, and world history, by presenting that history through completely biased textbooks. Again, a great lesson for today.  The IB PYP program (for elementary levels) grew out of the combined efforts of many senior European educators to find a better system that could be used in any country to link universal and global matters (especially science and history) in with national, continental land local knowledge.  They later asked the IBO to coordinate the program. Overall the IB Curriculum is as much a method of research, learning and teaching as it is a strict syllabus based on textbooks (which of course, like printed encyclopedias, are out of date almost as soon as printed. Each IB teacher is trained to act as “a guide on the side”, not a “sage on the stage”, and not to indoctrinate students with one-dimensional knowledge; instead to encourage students to become lifelong learners, competent and confident to treat any problem or issue as a positive challenge to be solved by researching all alternatives, synthesizing new solutions, and testing them against all emerging knowledge.  Come to think of it, isn’t that what your great research universities do? In fact, one of the reasons IB Diploma graduates are welcomed at top universities is simply because they are already well-versed in the open-minded research methods used in the best universities.  The word ‘university’ of course comes from “universal”.  And all the world now is GLOCAL: both global and local: global platforms (mostly deleveloped in the US), such as Google, YouTube, eBay, Facebook, Apple (with its educational hub), with local access (and nationally produced applications to run on those platforms) to share the world’s best methods, including those from each country.  Gordon Dryden, Auckland, New Zealand.

Teacher of 35 Years

August 14, 2010

Dear Robin,

You said “Without empathy for others, how can we be world citizens?”

The question is, why would we WANT to be ‘world citizens’? Do you even know what that means? I am lucky now to be a citizen of the US under the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. I am NOT a subject of the UN’s UDHR, which does NOT guarantee my rights but is a totalitarian communistic document. Where did you go to school to get such a mixed up view?

And the rest of you know darn well, or should, that this has NOTHING to do with mixing of cultures. (I am a perfect example of mixing cultures) It has to do with the fact that the UN created the program for the goal and mission of world gov’t. It is not morally right to expect people in a country with a certain form of gov’t to turn from that to this world gov’t system. It’s about political systems NOT PEOPLE. It’s attempt to overthrow our free republic by getting at our children is appalling and they make no bones about it. But yet, many of you are simply thinking it means mixing of cultures.

I am an immigrant myself so I know what mixing of cultures is. I came to the US to live in a Constitutional Republic, not a plutocratic regime under the illegal UN. Do some reading and then some CRITICAL THINKING about it.

Leo, this has little to do with ‘xenophobia’ as you call it.  Teach about other countries but please do not attempt to overthrow the Constitution which guarantees the rights of all, and the right to capitalism which is real freedom. There are no fears about ‘outsiders’ since I am considered one myself.

You continue to hijack the real issue here.

Ed today your awards mean nothing to me.Thinking of who got the last two or three Nobel prizes they are worthless. YES YOUR GOV’T WOULD GIVE AN AWARD TO MARXISTS—THEY ALWAYS DO!

I find it funny that you throw Canada and New Zealand at me, two of the most socialistic countries there are!

IB is not like it was 20 years ago… and even without IB our schools have been hijacked by the UN nonsense.

This also has nothing to do with technology, servers, or that. I certainly know about that as it is my field.

I simply do not think there should be political agendas set into educational policy by the worst organization IN THE WORLD.

Gordon Dryden

August 14, 2010

Response to “Teacher of 35 years”

The IB educational program is not to develop “world citizens”. It is to develop students (in all countries) who know how to research and analyze the best lessons from all countries, in all fields.

I note that “technology, servers and such” are your territory. Great. You obviously know the United States’ tremendous contribution to interactive digital technology, with such innovations as Google (established by one American-born and one Russian-born student), eBay (developed in Silicon Valley mainly by one French-Iranian, who then appointed as CEO a brilliant US women administrator who is now standing for the Governorship of California), Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, SUN Microsystems, and Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center.  And of course by research universities such as MIT, Stanford, Carnegie-Mellon, Harvard and Yale.

Isn’t it great that the IB curriculum encourages all its students outside the US to learn about those great, pace-setting and world-changing US institutions; and for US students to learn the cultures, histories and achievements of other countries?

Isn’t it equally worthwhile for all those US students to learn about similar technology contributions by Japan’s Do-Co-Mo, Finland’s Nokia, Sweden’s Eriksson, South Korea’s CyWorld?

That’s what it means to have an education system that encourages its students to “think globally” so they know that all the world’s best or only answers are not necessarily in their own country.

In my small country, New Zealand, one of our heroes is film producer Peter Jackson.  Just like Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, and their colleagues at Stanford reinvented part of California as “Silicon Valley’ Jackson’s innovation has turned Wellington into one of the world’s movie capitals.

And, following his example, 2000 of our 2600 schools have now been through a teacher-retraining program to use interactive digital technology as the catalyst to rethink a schooling system that was invented in mid-Europe by Comenius 360 years ago and made compulsory by the Prussian government almost 300 years ago.

In our country, then, today it is the norm for six-year-olds, on their first day in grade 1, to start school by learning to use a video camera to interview their classmates.  And, on the second day, to start editing those videos (using, of course, American-invented Apple iMovie and Microsoft Movie-Maker software), and then quickly go on to make their own computer animations and graphics and games (just as they have learned from America’s Will Wright, creator of Sim City and now Spore).

In this way, our youngsters are learning to use the best of the world’s history, different cultures (including America’s Hollywood, India’s Bollywood and now New Zealand’s Wellington movie industry) and technologies to rethink the best ways to become lifelong learners and create better schools.

And just as America’s Ford Foundation provided most of the funding for the original research that led to the IBO, so the Hewlett Foundation three years ago provided a $57 million grant for American researchers to provide a great report on how to best share globally the methods needed to bridge the world’s digital divide with global initiatives.

Finally, we in New Zealand think it is great that our children at school can not only learn about the best of America’s genius for innovation, but our soaring movie industry can learn so much from the Steven Spielbergs and George Lucases of this world.

And we think it’s just great that Jackson’s team was able to put all this knowledge together, with our own ingenuity, to win 11 Academy Awards in a night for Lord of the Rings; and another five for the Wellington team’s digital effects for Avatar.

I don’t know anyone in New Zealand who would call this Socialism. But then everyone I know in New Zealand has a passport and travels widely.

We also have impassioned public debates on educational alternatives.  But hopefully we discuss those specific alternatives, without getting sidetracked into whether or not the United Nations is working most effectively.

But, as you are suggesting that Robin does some reading, you might do likewise.  Perhaps you could start with the PISA (Program for International Student assessment) reports, and why some countries rate better than others.  For example, in literacy at age 15 (judged on their bbilty to apply literacy to real-world situations, not multiple-guess questions), Finland rates number one, Canada number two, New Zealand number three, and the United States number 15.  In science, Finland rates number 1, Canada No 2, Japan 3, New Zealand 4 and the Us 21. In mathematics: Finland 1, South Korea 2, Netherlands 3, Japan 4, Canada 5, New Zealand 9, and US 24 out of 29.

You can Google many articles to find out how and why Finland shines.  Then, of course, we can debate the real reasons for the difference between American averages and other countries. Gordon Dryden, The Learning Web, New Zealand.

Lisa McLoughlin

August 15, 2010

I’ll tell you what “the real shame” is. The real shame is a group like ASCD attempting to undermine our traditional American values and public schools by pushing the outrageously expensive UN affiliated IB programmes under the guise of “improving” our schools and “the whole child”.

Mr. Dryden, you would be wise to read IBO’s own literature on its claims regarding its goal of creating “global citizens” before claiming such is not the case. It’s all there in black and white at You point to PISA till you’re blue in the face. Who cares? Where is your proof that IB has anything to do with those results?

IB has ruined the lives of children around the globe. It is a tiny organization of 350 employees, 300 of whom are being laid off by IBO in Cardiff, Wales, as IBO attempts to expand its influence and its grab for U.S. taxdollars by relocating its headquarters to Bethesda, MD and Amsterdam. IBO’s “goal” is social justice and it plans on financing its goal with U.S. taxdollars through the 2009 Recovery Act by encouraging Title I school districts to implement IB under the heading of “innovative programs”.

Frankly, I am sick and tired of the name-calling by Progressives and globalists who think those of us who oppose IB are simply too stupid to see what this organization is all about.

Btw, exactly how many millions of illegal alien children is Finland forced to educate? wink

I have added a Red Alert to TAIB:

Lisa McLoughlin

August 15, 2010

Oops, need more coffee. I see I messed up my acronyms. Here is the corrected link:

Lisa McLoughlin

August 15, 2010

“There are very few—if any—other programs that provide such a comprehensive support system and curriculum for teaching citizenship in today’s “global village.” Schools should judge IB on its benefits to students, not on the fears of outside interest groups.”

Outside interest group? I think ASCD is a wee bit confused as to whom constitutes the “outside interest group” in this picture. WE THE PEOPLE, who oppose IB in American PUBLIC schools are not an “outside interest group”. WE THE PEOPLE are American parents, taxpayers and yes, teachers who have a vested SOVEREIGN interest in what is being taught in our public schools to our children. WE THE PEOPLE do not WANT our taxes spent on educational programs that seek to indoctrinate our children into global citizenship.

WE THE PEOPLE are the inside, homeland patriots who are standing up to OUTSIDE INTEREST GROUPS like IBO and ASCD which are trying to hijack our most valuable asset, the minds of the next generation, our children.

I am SO glad I learned of this group this week. I will gladly expose your dangerous, new world disorder agenda for what it is.

Lisa McLoughlin

August 15, 2010

“In my small country, New Zealand, one of our heroes is film producer Peter Jackson”

Was Peter Jackson an IB Diploma recipient? What the heck does Mr. jackson’s fabulous production of the Lord Of the Rings have to do with the duplicitous and outrageously expensive programme known as IB? In fact, for having been in existence for over 40 years, it seems to me IBO has a very sparse list of “celebrities” or “accomplished individuals” as alumni.

Of course, we can’t forget IB’s most recent celebrity, the Christmas Day Underwear Bomber:

Now there’s critical thinking for you ...

Gifted Teacher

August 15, 2010

Teachers who have been teaching for many years and haven’t kept up with the times may not see the need for global education.  That is understandable considering that in their early careers there weren’t even computers, the Internet, or 24/7 news.  All of these technological advances make it imperative that our students learn research skills, abillity to sift through all the vast amounts of information, and have ability to look at information from different POV’s…not just ours here in America, or ours in Mississippi, or ours in Podunk County, or me and my neighbors or church. We have been teaching American citizenship ever since I was a child in the 50’s.  It is more important than ever to become more sensitive to others views than to only focus on ours.  Global citizenship also means understanding where things came from that we buy, wear, use, eat, etc in addition to understanding other cultures.  I do not teach in an IB school but have been very impressed with the students at the IB school in our community.  They rank very well in critical and creative thinking, written expression, hands on research and over all achievement.  IB is a positive alternative for gifted students whose needs are not being met in their community schools.  I am sure that teachers like the one who commented negatively against global education/IB probably wouldn’t have the skills to teach those kinds of students anyway due to their narrow mindedness and probably would never even be hired to attempt it.

Overseas teacher

August 16, 2010

As one working in an American school outside the U.S. that is considering adoption of the I.B., I find the above debate fascinating (in fact, I think it could be used as source material for the Theory of Knowledge course)—and for me a good demonstration of why the I.B. is so beneficial. 

Comments to the nay-sayers—The great strength of the American educational system is that it allows communities to make choices. No one will impose the program on a school district or a school that does not want it.  The I.B. itself would not accept such an imposition.  Its approval process, which our school is currently undertaking, requires proof of widespread community involvement and acceptance.  So if a community does not want to offer it, no one will require that it does.  But by the same token, those of you who do not think the I.B. is a worthwhile program should not try to prevent others who do want it from receiving its benefits.  Imposing one’s beliefs on others like that is the antithesis of the ideals underlying American democracy, and leads down the path to totalitarianism (not socialism, not communism—totalitarianism).  We don’t all have to think or be alike.  And the I.B. not only encourages but actually delivers on the promise to allow students to think independently.

As for the example of one recently thwarted terrorist who earned the I.B., students of the I.B. (and any other program that teaches logical thinking) know that one example cannot be used to make generalizations.  One could cite Timothy McVeigh—an American citizen and former soldier—who then committed the Oklahoma bombing in 1995.  Does that mean all American-educated students who then serve in the Army are going to become terrorists?  Should we therefore stop people from being educated in American programs, and if they have been, prevent them from then enrolling in the Army?  Will this save our American model of democracy?  The ludicrousness of these questions is self-evident.

The threats to American democracy are not just from outside the country—and there are historical parallels that could be studied to provide further reflection.  The evolution of the Roman Republic through periods of dictatorship and eventually the creation of an Imperial regime had both internal as well as external causes—the internal ones being driven in large part by fear of change as the composition of the Republic’s citizenship changed and many people felt the traditional Republican virtues were being lost (not to mention the social tensions created by very unequal distributions of wealth and social privileges).  These factors then led to a longing for greater security, order, defense of the borders ...—which then led to the loss of the Republican form of government.  So for those above recommending that people read this or that, I recommend a little historical reading, followed by an I.B. Theory of Knowledge type of discussion about whether history repeats itself, etc., etc.

To those in favor of the I.B., I admire your tenacity and optimism in arguing against the people above, but I learned back in my days of studying rhetoric that there are some people whom you will never be able to persuade to change their views (the field of marketing has of course done many studies in this area as well).  Just as you will also have some already fully committed to your perspective.  So, direct arguing with person A or B above is a waste of time.  Your real audience will be those others who are still gathering facts, information, and opinions, evaluating the relative merits of each, plus the bias inherent in any opinions (and sometimes hidden in the choice of facts that are reported) to arrive at a conclusion that is best suited for their own circumstances in their own communities.

Gordon Dryden

August 16, 2010

Just for the record: I’m a particular fan of the IB Primary Years Program.  This was originally researched and proposed by some leading educators from several Western European countries. They analyzed various national education systems and theories and synthesized what they considered to considered to combine the best.  Then, around 13 years ago, they asked the IB Organization to take over its administration.

Since then, the entire world (including education) has been changed by the growth of global platforms: Google, Youtube, Facebook,Flickr, and, in Asia, Cyworld (South Korea), Do-Co-Mo )Japan); and educational technology such as Promethean Promethean (British) interactive whiteboards and SmartBoards (Canada) to replace the traditional blackboards.

These latter innovations have enabled subject teachers around the world to share their best lesson plans with other similar teachers in many countries.  This, too, is one of the ways in which the IB programs are “made for” 21st-century technology: if students, for example, are, for six weeks studying, say, the world’s finest innovations, they will obviously include their own innovations.

In this way, the world’s 59 million K-12 teachers can easily share, as well, great interactive learning plans.

Also, to put the record state about “socialist” New Zealand: for the past 20 years, each one of our 2,600 schools (public schools) has been a “charter” school — after our country had abolished our central national Department of Education (replacing it with a scaled-down advisory Ministry) and all regional Education Boards.

Thus much centralized Government funding was shared among 2,600 charter schools, each administered by a board elected by parents and teachers, and (in the case of high schools) students.

Each school then had a charter with the Ministry, in two parts: half to commit to “national curriculum guidelines” and, in the other half, setting out where each school would choose to excell. Because our main city, Auckland, is the world’s biggest center of Polynesian population, some schools opted to specialize in dual languages.  Others chose to become specialists in interactive digital technology.  Some chose to become IB schools.  Several high schools have charters under which their students have the option of studying business.

We’d call such choice democracy, not socialism.

Gordon Dryden, Auckland, New Zealand, co-author (with an American Doctor of Education) of “The Learning Revolution” series of books and executive-producer/anchor of six one-hour New Zealand TV documentaries on “education in the 21st century”.

Molly McCloskey

August 16, 2010

What a great exchange of ideas and opinions around one program’s approach to equipping students with the skills they need to be college, career, and citizenship ready.  Our Whole Child Blog is intended to be a forum for the exchange of diverse opinions and ideas on how best to educate our children and ensure they are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. Thanks for taking the time to get involved in the conversation. Thanks, too, for the effort to model the kind of productive debate that is a cornerstone of democratic freedoms and education.

At ASCD, we believe ( strongly that each community –- educators, families, and community members—must figure out how to ensure that its students have the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need for success in postsecondary education, the workforce, and a complex, interconnected world. We don’t create or develop any specific curriculum (despite our former name), and we believe that there are many answers to the question of how to ensure that each child, in each school, in each community is challenged. IB may be one answer. AP may be another. Comprehensive internships and service learning could be a third. 

It’s not up to us to decide or dictate, so thanks for the passionate, informed debate. I encourage you to keep reading and keep the spirited conversation moving!

Gordon Dryden

August 16, 2010

Neat, Molly. And thanks for the fine contribution of the ASCD.

So I’ll risk coming in with a few personal observations (as a multimedia journalist and author), at some of the best contributions I have photographed, videotaped, or researched around the world:

Best parenting program for parents of infants up to school age: Missouri Parents as Teachers Program and Israeli HIPPY program (Home interaction program for pre-school youngsters).

Great example for multi-lingual pre-school: Sweden’s kindergartens for refugee families, in the late 1980s and early 90s, when Sweden had refugees from 110 countries.  All Swedish children can attend brilliant pre-school centers, but my New Zealand-based television crew is still talking about the Swedish refugee center we attended, with children from 14 different nationalities. And each, by the age of four and five could speak three languages fluently: Swedish, English and the language of their parents.

Other great early childhood programs: Many excellent Montessori centers; New Zelaand’s PlayCenter Movement, run as a parents’ cooperative.  And the early childhood centers run by Mexico’s incredible Thomas Jefferson Institute (3,600 K-12 students on three campuses in three cities), where each child from age 2, has a personalized education and health program, worked out by the center’s educational psychologists in partnership with parents.

Best primary-elementary system: on the figures, Finland hard to match.

Best for using interactive digital technology: New Zealand’s best primary-elementary schools; probably England’s best high schools, because of the way they use interactive whiteboards and are also introducing a variety of personal learning plans. At least 2,000 of New Zealand’s 2,600 schools have so fare been through a two-year “ICT cluster” where one cluster leader in each area has produced outstanding teachers using interactive communications and technology as the catalyst to reinvent schooling; and has then played the lead part in retraining teachers at up to 10 other schools.

Model high school: San Diego’s High Tech High.

Favorite polytech: Singapore’s Nanyang Polytechic.  Why: because it really models “If you want to learn it, do it”.  To qualify for a pass in any discipline, students have to produce, under contract to one of Singapore’s 3,200 global companies, a finished products.  Thus, to qualify as a robotic specialist, a student has to produce, either by himself or herself or as a group, a finished robot or robotic system.

Best universities: The top ten: two in England (Oxford and Cambridge), and the wellknown top eight in the US.

Best “ecology for learning” and innovation: Silicon Valley — how to combine great universities (Stanford and UC Berkeley, great innovation, great venture capital, great open-mindedness.

The best neuroscience research (especially at UC Befrkeley):  America undoubtedly—proving for decades, that university rats brought up dull, boring cages with no stimulation and poor diet, turn out to be dull, unstimulated adult rates.  And that rats reared with a good diet, in areas rich in color, movement and stimulation, grow up to be intelligent, involved rats.  And who uses all this great research the best?: Not always America:-)  But you do have some excellent model multiple-intelligence schools, promoted by the ASCD.

The best educational magazine: the ASCD’s Educational Leadership.

The three most intriguing quandaries in education (to an outsider): (1) America remaining mesmerized by “standardized testing” (which I always associate with an older Stalinist system), while your great gift to the world has been non-standardized innovation. (2) India, decision, under the late Premier Nehru, to put its major effort for decades into graduating only the top 3,000 academic students to go to the seven best universities of technology (and then mostly, on qualifying, go off to Silicon Valley to work), while 47% of Indian villages still don’t have a school.  And (3) again America’s preoccupation with “everyone going to college”. For many occupations in life, it’s often best (in my experience) to “learn by doing”, but to keep on learning and learning throughout life. We find in New Zealand that 39% of first-year college (university) students drop out after the first year.  And it certainly is a shock for many students, highly stimulated by great new learning methods at elementary and high school, only to go on to boring college lectures.

So the final award — for getting rid of boring lectures: Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh.  Neat city too.

Gordon Dryden,Auckland, New Zealand.

Overseas teacher

August 17, 2010

For Gordon: as one who did my final degree at Carnegie Mellon, I can’t resist commenting on your conundrums above, at least the one related to the American fascination with standardized testing.

I have been re-reading my Tocqueville.  He comments on two characteristics of Americans: 1) the lack of interest in theory and the concomitant immediate interest in moving to practical applications, and 2) the interest in making money.  My theory as these observations relate to your problem, then, is that the lack of a theoretical bent in most Americans means they are ignorant of and/or indifferent to the various theories about learning and assessment. (Remember the old joke about “What is the difference between ignorant and indifferent?”  Answer: “I don’t know and I don’t care.”).  The interest in making money of course reduces everything to a numerical base line, the proverbial “bottom line”. The business model.  The complexity of the universe and human existence can be reduced to that single number.  Hence the interest in standardized testing, many of which can produce such a number, or a few such numbers.  This then, the number, becomes the be-all and end-all of the discussion.  It is a bit like assuming that an ill person’s thermometer reading about the body’s temperature were to tell the doctor all that needs to be known to treat the patient, but so be it.  The usual retort to such criticism is: “If it doesn’t get measured, it doesn’t get done.”  But then people forget that all that can be measured is not all that is worth doing.


August 18, 2010

dinaz asked me to post this comment, (she is unable to post at this time)

Regarding all comments citing “xenophobia”: framing the debate around xenophobia does not account for the numerous other reasons for opposing IB. For your consideration, see “International Baccalaureate
(IB) Unraveled”: Download pdf with active links to access references:
Select: “International Baccalaureate (IB) Unraveled (pdf)”

Text online 
(Click on the active link: for “International (IB) Unraveled.”)

Overseas Teacher wrote <>

My school district offers the IB Diploma Program at one high school; 
PYP in an elementary school; and MYP in a middle school. The community-
at-large was neither asked to review or approve IB adoption, nor to
use taxpayer money as a funding source.

IB is in the high school as the result of one principal’s bully pulpit
(with the complicity of district administration). Twenty-five teachers
left the school because of the school community fight over IB. 
Students were upset that AP courses and other offerings would be
affected. Since the IB DP was implemented three years ago, 
participation has been low and the dropout rate is high.

Around six years ago a different high school in the same district had
looked into IB. Again, the community-at-large was not notified, but
the school’s faculty reviewed the Diploma Program. The teachers
rejected IB—it would not serve their students as well as the
existing AP program.

The closet thing I know of where community members (in any U.S. school
district) can give meaningful input into adoption of IB, has been via
an “IB task force”. Of course, membership on a task force hinges on
district approval. A recent example for one school district in the
U.S. that is attempting to adopt IB against growing public objection: 
the IB task force will consist of nine district administrators and two
members of the public (one pro IB and one against IB). It’s not
difficult to predict the outcome of a task force report that comes
from a group stacked with people who get their paychecks from a
district that is bent on implementing IB.

Overseas Teacher wrote <>

In the U.S., IB started in the private sector. That is where it
belongs…where those who want and use IB can pay for it.

A very small minority in the U.S. is shoving IB into U.S. public
schools—supported by marketing and legislative lobbying (which
helps achieve IBO’s strategic plans for expansion). U.S. taxpayer
money is being funneled to IB to the detriment of the non-IB school

Overseas Teacher wrote <>

Yes. And this applies equally to advocates on both sides of the fence.

Teacher of 35 Years

August 18, 2010

As for this statement “The IB educational program is not to develop ‘world citizens’” you are very wrong as this is the sole mission of the IB program as stated on all their materials and website at In fact, teachers, sometimes in order to keep their contract, must pledge to teach the ‘mission of world government’. I refuse.

Once again, denial of the facts is typical but I never heard parents, teachers and taxpayers called ‘outside interests’! This just goes to show you how out of touch and elitist people who push this program have become in their zealous attempt to sell it. It’s merits are all self-generated praise.. and it is not worthy of that praise.

It is a dumbed-down constructivist-approach brainwashing program period. TOK? Who needs that? Anyone who wants to teach that “communism is not so bad after all” as one Ms Chen stated on

Teacher of 35 Years

August 18, 2010

Also this ‘whole child’ philosophy is a farce and an excuse for social engineering. Hands off my kids!

Gordon Dryden

August 18, 2010

To teacher of 35 years.

What you claim is the sole mission of the IB program (“stated on all their materials and website at In fact, teachers, sometimes in order to keep their contract, must pledge to teach the ‘mission of world government’. I refuse.”) is simply not true.

I invite all the participants in this discussion to go to that website and find out any or all of the IB materials which agree with the claims of “Teacher of 35 years.”

And all people should have, of course the right to choose.  Democracy, of course, is based on free choice of alternatives.  But hopefully a choice based on objective knowledge of all alternatives, and not on incorrect information.

The philosophy, teaching principles, and, more important, the suggested methods of developing students as open-minded inquirers, and creators of a better future, are covered in great deal, with easy-to-grasp models, on the IBO’s website.

Certainly, in my country and places like Singapore, parents and students have the choice between different school “models”, including their own state curriculum and methods, the IB, and other alternatives (at many international schools, of American programs (at the US international schools), the Cambridge examination (England) system at British international schools.

The same applies in New Zealand.

The new Conservative-led Government in Britain is also moving towards th “system of choice” practised in Sweden.

Great to have a debate, but it is always best to debate the facts as they actually exist.

You also in the US have some great alternative models already in operation. Fortunately, the world tries to copy and adapt your best, while not adopting some of yor worst: like the recent Texas state decision to decide which of America’s presidents shall be actually included in Texas’s history curriculum.  We all know that Hitler and Stalin did the same for years in Germany and the USSR.

We’d call that appalling distortion, not the encouragement of free and open sharing and testing of alternatives.

Gordon Dryden, New Zealand.


August 18, 2010

I’m going to try to post for dinaz again since the one above didn’t post exactly how it should have been posted:


Regarding all comments citing “xenophobia”: framing the debate around xenophobia does not account for the numerous other reasons for opposing IB. For your consideration, see “International Baccalaureate (IB) Unraveled”: Download pdf with active links to access references:

Select: “International Baccalaureate (IB) Unraveled (pdf)”
Text online:  (Click on the active link: for “International (IB) Unraveled.”)

Overseas Teacher wrote: “No one will impose the program on a school district or a school that does not want it. . . . . So if a community does not want to offer it, no one will require that it does. “

My school district offers the IB Diploma Program at one high school; PYP in an elementary school; and MYP in a middle school. The community-at-large was neither asked to review or approve IB adoption, nor to use taxpayer money as a funding source.

IB is in the high school as the result of one principal’s bully pulpit (with the complicity of district administration). Twenty-five teachers left the school because of the school community fight over IB. Students were upset that AP courses and other offerings would be affected. Since the IB DP was implemented three years ago, participation has been low and the dropout rate is high.

Around six years ago a different high school in the same district had looked into IB. Again, the community-at-large was not notified, but the school’s faculty reviewed the Diploma Program. The teachers rejected IB—it would not serve their students as well as the existing AP program.

The closet thing I know of where community members (in any U.S. school district) can give meaningful input into adoption of IB, has been via an “IB task force”. Of course, membership on a task force hinges on district approval. A recent example for one school district in the U.S. that is attempting to adopt IB against growing public objection: the IB task force will consist of nine district administrators and two members of the public (one pro IB and one against IB). It’s not difficult to predict the outcome of a task force report that comes from a group stacked with people who get their paychecks from a district that is bent on implementing IB.

Overseas Teacher wrote: “… those of you who do not think the I.B. is a worthwhile program should not try to prevent others who do want it …”

In the U.S., IB started in the private sector. That is where it belongs…where those who want and use IB can pay for it.

A very small minority in the U.S. is shoving IB into U.S. public schools—supported by marketing and legislative lobbying (which helps achieve IBO’s strategic plans for expansion). U.S. taxpayer money is being funneled to IB to the detriment of the non-IB school budgets.

Overseas Teacher wrote: “….  there are some people whom you will never be able to persuade to change their views …”

Yes. And this applies equally to advocates on both sides of the fence.

Lisa McLoughlin

August 19, 2010

Overseas teacher,

You claim:

“The great strength of the American educational system is that it allows communities to make choices. No one will impose the program on a school district or a school that does not want it.”

Unfortunately, that is far from the truth. When it comes to IB, the method of implementation is probably what I object to the most. In case after case that I have observed across the U.S., IB is brought in through the backdoor in a stealth manner. Parents are told that the Board or a committee is “exploring” the possibility of IB. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars have already been spent on the IB application process and teacher training without ANY disclosure to the public.

In areas like Incline Village, Nevada, there is out and out war over IB. Parents of this tiny village have gathered over 300 signatures on a petition against IB (there are only 33 kids in the entire HS) and yet the district is still pushing forward with a K-12 IB takeover:

Your statement that the IBO “requires proof” of community agreement is so laughable, well, I’m laughing. Loudly. The only thing IBO cares about is that the checks are good. There is absolutely NO evidence of a SINGLE American school being denied IBO authorization, as long as the checks are good. NONE. IBO is ALL about the money and control of young people’s minds. It is a dangerous, ugly scam that needs to be eliminated from ALL American public schools.

In districts like mine, once IB infiltrates the system, since it is a product in competition with AP and A-Levels, those courses disappear, leaving only IB and the most basic level of education. IB dumbs-down the school and teaches to the lowest common denominator.

I received this e-mail two days ago:

I taught IB and AP chemistry and biology at several international schools. IB and AP should not be seen as the same, especially the SL courses, which are very rudimentary in both chem and bio. The HL courses are only slightly more difficult and only touch on college level topics. These topics are not at the same depth as those in the corresponding AP courses. The IB is getting far too much credit (undeserved) for being at the cutting edge in education. However, my biggest problem with IB is their internal assessment portion of the course. The process is contrived, very subjective and is in my opinion an enormous waste of time for both students and teachers.

Sal Pietromonaco
Eugene, Oregon

Lisa McLoughlin

August 19, 2010

correction - that was supposed to be 330 kids in IVHS.

Lisa McLoughlin

August 19, 2010

Gordon Dryden,

“We’d call such choice democracy, not socialism.”

And that’s part of the problem, isn’t it? Now Australia is seeking to adopt the IB as a “national curriculum”. Well, bully for you. But here in the U.S., we are a Federal Republic. Our current President who will only serve one term, seems confused about this basic premise. Here in the U.S., we do not have a national curriculum. We sure as heck are not in the mood to adopt an international curriculum endorsed by the UN/UNESCO.

Everything about IB is empty rhetoric which comes with an outrageous pricetag. As a New Yorker, I am very discerning as to what constitutes a “real” Gucci bag. IB is NO original. IB is an inferior product being sold wholesale at a 500% markup and paid for with our hard-earned taxdollars. IB is like the $500 hammer paid for by the military. It is wasteful and unnecessary.

Gordon Dryden

August 19, 2010


Just for the record: the current Australian Government has been working towards an Australian Baccalaureate Diploma as an alternative to its current senior high school examination, and for the IB’s philosophy of more integrated studies be considered as important different ways to learn

But this move is being funded by the Australian Federal Government (I agree the IB affiliation fees are too expensive for most schools), to run alongside the educational examinations based on Australia’s states. Australia, like America, is also a federal country, but split into seven states.  It not have a president, but the Federal Prime Minister is the elected leader of the party getting the most federal votes.

(New Zealand, my home base, is about as far from the nearest part of Australia as Denver is from New York — f you imagine that gap being all sea. So I can’t talk for Australia.)

I, too, have been advocating that the New Zealand Government (our 4.2 million population is about the same size as an average US or Australian state)to buy into either the International Baccalaureate as an alternative option.  But I would prefer our government to first introduce the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program.

That is because most of our primary (elementary) schools have been based around integrated, thematic studies since the early 1940s, and not around only narrow academic subjects (important as such subjects are).  Like most world high schools, our secondary schools still revolve around textbooks and specialists to teach them.

I sincerely suggest that all interested in this debate should go to and actually read the structure of the IB PYP.  It is not based around a narrow “syllabus” of separate subjects, to standardized textbooks and exams.  Instead its “curriculum” (more correctly :“program”) is based around integrating all students’ different talents and abilities together to tackle real-life challenges and opportunities.

Twenty-first-century literacy is much broader than 19th-century 20th-century literacy. Nineteen-century literacy certainly revolved mainly around writing and the individual stage arts, so a narrow range of reading, writing, spelling and grammar skills might have been sufficient. And books and newspapers major ways to use those talents. Twenty-first-century is not merely Tolkien’s book Lord of the Rings, multimedia, digital movies of the trilogy.  And “Elements for iPad”(Google it under Google videos) is a great new example of how 3-dimensional applications are about to make standard school textbooks obsolete: and standardized exams based on narrow subjects.
Gordon Dryden, Auckland, New Zealand

Overseas teacher

August 21, 2010

Dear Lisa,

My comments about community agreement were based on the documentation I see from the IBO and on how the process is being implemented in the school where I work.  I cannot speak for other situations about which I am unaware.

We had a community task force, consisting of some administrators, some board members, some parents, and some teachers.  From this, a full presentation of the findings was presented—in separate meetings for each group—to the full faculty, to the full board, and to the full (at least those who came—a large number did) parent community.  One month later, giving people time to digest the information, the Annual General Meeting of the School was held (ours is an independent, or private, school).  The support was overwhelming, above 90% of the total parent population of the school, to continue with the process.

If in other schools or communities a similar pattern was not observed, I cannot speak to that.  But it seems to me that the problem then would be with those local administrators rather than with the IB program itself.  If the majority of people in a community or school is upset about decisions made by local authorities, or if these authorities did not follow proper procedures, your grievances should be directed at them in terms of the performance of their duties rather than at the program itself.  After all, any program is only as good as the people who deliver it. 

On a different topic, Mr. Pietromonaco’s comments have the validity of his experience, but they represent only one person’s point of view.  From my discussions with our teachers of these science subjects, I can report that they find the IB does place a lot of emphasis on students doing laboratory experiments, which the AP exam does not since it is a standardized test.  This emphasis on labs leads to internal assessment, and, yes, this can lead to problems, inconsistencies, and some cumbersome procedures. (In principle, this is not much different than the grading done by teachers that leads to a student’s GPA.)  But I think that can be said of any marking system that tries to be comprehensive, insofar as that is possible.  As Mr. Pietromonaco comments, the SL (Standard Level) courses are not at the same level as an AP course. Why not?  Well, for one, not all students would take AP Chemistry, Biology, or Physics.  The ones who do are the ones who are most motivated for these subjects.  In many American high schools, students may not even have to follow a science subject each year in order to graduate.  However, to earn the IB Diploma, all candidates must take a science subject.  So, an appropriate level needs to be established.  For the more motivated students, the Higher Level IB exams exist.  But again, there is a difference with the AP model.  The AP is supposed to award college credits (depending on each university’s policies of course)for scores of 3, 4, and 5.  The IB Diploma is meant to be a school-leaving diploma, meaning before university entrance.  So I see no inconsistency if its level is perceived (by some) to be lower than that of AP.  However, it might be of interest to check with various universities about their policies for awarding advanced credit to holders of AP exams and IB diplomas in order to have a larger overview of the relative merits of each.  There will of course be differences from one university to another, but that is simply another way of saying that each community/school should be determining its own policies in these matters.

Overseas teacher

August 21, 2010

People on this thread may be interested to read the article in this week’s The Economist at: .

There is at the end of the article a quick reference to the IB. 

All that this demonstrates, if further examples were needed, is that no program or examination system is perfect, able to answer everybody’s needs or expectations.


August 21, 2010

Overseas teacher wrote: “In many American high schools, students may not even have to follow a science subject each year in order to graduate. However, to earn the IB Diploma, all candidates must take a science subject.”

I don’t know where you get your information from, but as a general rule: students in U.S. public high schools are required to take a minimum of two years of science in order to receive a high school diploma. Some states require three years of science credit .

Standard High School Graduation Requirements (50-state): 

Here’s another reference—this one has graphics:

[U.S.] Science Graduation Requirements: Classes 2006 Through 2011

Gordon Dryden

August 22, 2010

Thanks, all, for the excellent contributions to this discussion.

As an aside, you may not know that, in Australia, voting is compulsory (don’t vote: risk a fine).  And this weekend, for the first time in 70 years, the vote is deadline exactly equal in the federal parliament.

Now what happens about their bacalaureate program?

Now refresh my memory: how many vote in the US presidential election?

I’m bowing out of this discussion, as I have to take off for California and Mexico.  Thanks for the stimulation.

Just a final comment to Overseas Teacher:  nice final comment but to reiterate: the IB Primary Years program is much broader than their senior high school program.


August 23, 2010

This Letter was posted in the Saginaw (Michigan) news.  If you want your child indoctrinated with U.N. propaganda, this is the program for your school.  If you want your child “educated”, look somewhere else.

School program disappoints with lack of balance
Published: Friday, August 13, 2010, 4:32 PM
The Saginaw News staff

Voice: Erik and Sandy Johnson, Bay City

We are disappointed to say our family will be taking our children out of Handley School. This is specifically because of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IBPYP).

To be clear, we liked Handley very much. The staff our family met is very professional, talented and caring.

However, the materials used in the IBPYP appeared biased toward the controversial theories of man-made climate change and socialism. Some examples of this include our children having fears of standing water, carbon dioxide, extreme weather and cutting down trees.

Last year, at least one activity involved the first-graders writing letters to a company the program deemed to have policies unfriendly to the rain forest.

To us, that is not an appropriate activity for a first-grader. Plus, we were told that critical thinking was being taught, yet saw no evidence our kindergartner or first-grader were given both sides of these debates. Without both sides, how can one critically arrive at a decision?

Also of great concern is the IBPYPs use of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is the U.N. document created to supplant not only the U.S. Constitution but the constitutions of all independent nations.

One solution we offer is to challenge the school to develop its own program that explains how and why this country was founded, then compare and contrast other cultures and how they organize.  Based on our research, the value of an independently created program would far exceed the value offered by the IB program as a whole.

We encourage other families to do their own research, pro and con, to make an informed decision. If you know us, you know we are a multi-cultural family, have lived and worked overseas, speak more than one language and are not averse to global-mindedness. 

If Handley were to drop the IB program, we’d love to look at coming back. Until then, we’ve found another school that offers a rigorous, balanced curriculum for academically high achievers.


August 23, 2010

“Overseas teacher” wrote on August 21st: “In many American high schools, students may not even have to follow a science subject each year in order to graduate. However, to earn the IB Diploma, all candidates must take a science subject.”

First of all, I’m not convinced that every high school student needs to take a science class every year for four years during high school unless s/he is science oriented—two or three years is adequate for most. This aside, when you say “American high schools” are you referring to those in the United States or are you also including Canada and Mexico? My question arises from the fact that IB places the U.S., Canada, and Mexico under the broad heading of “Americas” (e.g. “IB History of the Americas”).

I can’t speak for what takes place in Canada and Mexico, but within the United States, most states require high school students to take a minimum of two, sometimes three years of science to fulfill a state’s graduation requirements.*

An IB Diploma candidate must take a science subject each year during the two-year program to earn an IB Diploma—this does not make the IB DP noteworthy in the U.S. system. Given the desire exist, a student in a comprehensive U.S. high school can take more than any state’s minimum requirements.

In the U.S., it is possible to exceed what IB mandates for science. Students take four science courses as the norm in the U.S.-based public high school my son attended. And while less common, some took a fifth course (as an “elective” in their senior year). And yes, this hinges on a student’s personal interest, aptitude, and choice. Fortunately for students, the option exists.

* References for the United States:

Science Graduation Requirements: Classes 2006 Through 2011

Standard High School Graduation Requirements (50-state)

Lisa McLoughlin

August 23, 2010

Dear Overseas Teacher,

By your own admission, your information comes from IBO. This is akin to failing to check with the Better Business Bureau when hiring a contractor to remodel your home. You said:

“If in other schools or communities a similar pattern was not observed, I cannot speak to that. But it seems to me that the problem then would be with those local administrators rather than with the IB program itself.”

I DO speak for the parents and communities where IB is being shoved down their throats in public schools against their will. Are the tone-deaf local administrators and biased school boards responsible? Absolutely. HOWEVER, IB sends its “representatives” to these districts to wine and dine these administrators to secure their ideological backing. I can point to numerous private “foundations” throughout the U.S. where individuals are getting hefty kickbacks (or shall I be more PC and call them administrative fees?) to promote IB.

Why do qualified teachers need a foreign organization with UN ties to teach children 21st century technology, the most recent scientific discoveries, foreign languages or world literature? It is a waste of money and insulting to our teachers. I am sick and tired of hearing about how American education sucks. The REAL problem in our public schools today is the teacher’s union and tenure, not a lack of global input.

Lisa McLoughlin

August 23, 2010

Mom With a Brain,

The Johnsons contacted me today. Apparently MLive edited their letter, omitting an entire paragraph related to cost. I have published their original letter HERE:

Teacher of 35 Years

August 23, 2010

Thank goodness for citizens willing to expose this stuff and print the real opinions of parents and taxpayers. Thank you Lisa!

I don’t want my first grader being recruited for a ‘cause’.

Overseas teacher

August 23, 2010

Like Gordon, I will be leaving this conversation behind me now.  Our school reopens next week, and I have plenty of things to do to get ready for that.  Our circumstances are different than those of many of you, so our interest in the IB remains quite strong.  For what it is worth, the AP exams also have their detractors, and once the movement toward national standards gains more steam (the last news story I saw spoke of 23 states now having adopted the policy of implementing common, national standards), I´m sure there will be much resistance to that. 

Good luck to all the children that we have been talking about indirectly.  They are the ones who count—not any of us.  It’s going to be their world in 10, 15, or 20 years.

Teacher of 35 Years

August 23, 2010

As laid out in Julian Huxley’s document of 1946, IBO’s origin and mission are clear: to unite the world using one common cause, usually environmentalism, in order to form a world government that will superceded the sovereignty of nation states. PERIOD! That is why the curriculum is one-sided, the methods flawed (constructivism) and everything is done ‘collectively’ lately. Even without IB, you may have noticed that your child’s teachers are required to have them ‘collaborate’ with ‘cooperative’ learning? That is just the tip of the iceberg.

Please read the whole article with the attached file from Huxley.. it’s a real eye-opener.

They’ve been at this for almost 100 years.

Teacher of 35 Years

August 23, 2010

I guess the one big question I have for IB zealots would be, do you really need to hire and pay extra for a UN program to teach your children ABOUT other cultures, or LANGUAGES?

I know the answer, do you?

What is the reason for buying an expensive program from the UN?

In my district it was put in place very secretively and the zealots there won’t even admit that people are asking where this program comes from.

The word UN is unmentionable… UNESCO, they act like they never heard of it.

What a convenient way for a world-government wannabe to steal our tax dollars and our childrens’ minds at the same time.

When I was in grade 5 I had 3 languages and all the cultural stimulation I could handle. And we did not need the UN to oversee it, and we did not need to use these bogus collaborative, consensus building methods where the teacher was no more than a glorified lab assistant and the kids struggled to learn from each other.

Overseas teacher

August 24, 2010

As long as some people seem to be into conspiracy theories, you might read this article (I did read the two suggested immediately above): 

Also, if the UN is as effective in achieving the goals it laid out early in its existence in education as it has been in ending conflicts, also one of its early goals, I think you all can rest easy ...

Lisa McLoughlin

August 24, 2010

Teacher of 35 years,

One of the pages on my site that seems to upset IB supporters more than any other is the one which asks the question: Is IB a Cult?

I find it incredibly ironic that this program(me) which claims to develop “inquirers” and “critical thinkers” elicits the extraordinarily angry and hostile reactions I have read. Apparently, reflection on the “qualities” of IB itself isn’t part of the program(me).

Last night I received the following e-mail from an IB student:

Comments: After reading your website I am very enraged by it. I am currently a sophomore in high school in my second year of the IB program and I have had nothing but good things happen. I have found your entire website just a way to respond to being upset at IB. I feel this website was made to completely bash IB and to spread your false thought onto others.
In my first two years I have had numerous doors open to me that may never have been opened if I were to do AP instead of IB. I feel that you are just bitter and upset at the IB program. This whole website is ridiculous. You need to get your facts straight before you go bashing an amazing that actually changed my life. This website angers me like nothing has angered me before. Get your facts straight and create a new with the real facts encouraging a great program and not a negative one-sided view of a program you had a bad experience with.

Wow! “Enraged” and “angers me like nothing has angered me before”. Holy cow!

Realize that this student must be in the IB MYP, as the DP can only be offered to students age 16-19. He has already been brainwashed to hate anyone who dares to provide facts about IB that aren’t happy crappy IBO rhetoric.

Any educational program(me) that can generate that sort of intense anger and hatred in susceptible teenagers is beyond dangerous and needs to be eliminated.

Lisa McLoughlin

August 24, 2010

Overseas Teacher,

I prefer to read the words of people who are in leadership positions, rather than the media’s interpretation of those words. The following is a UNESCO speech from April, 2009. In it, Mr. Yai declares that UNESCO was founded for the purpose of GLOBAL GOVERNANCE.

No conspiracy theories here. I take Mr. Yai at his word.

Gordon Dryden

August 24, 2010

A note for “Teacher of 35 years” and her “evidence” re Julian Huxley on the IBO being founded in 1946 and its mission then:  The IBO was founded in 1968.  Its Primary Years Program was developed independently by several leading teachers in European countries, then handed over to the IBO to administer in 1997. So how on earth could Huxley describe the mission statement, founding document and policy of an organization 22 years before it existed?

Incidentally, when it was established, the US Ford Foundation contributed a large part of the initial funding.

In part, the program was developed because the European Community has, of course, linked (now) 27 countries in Europe along similar lines to “the United States”.

I have no professional or financial involvement with IB schools, except that I have visited several international ones around the world as a journalist, researcher, television producer and author.

Not one of them bears any resemblance to the horrific tales told by IB critics in this discussion.  You sure you haven’t been getting all your information from Fox News?

Last year I was fortunate enough to be a guest of Apple Inc at its annul International Learning Summit in Hong Kong (a different venue each year).  Most of the excellent schools represented there were IB international schools.  And I had the pleasure to also visit, while there: the new Discovery College — a simply incredible school.

Another that I have found great has 3,600 students from 70 nationalities.  And of course I have visited and written about other excellent schools (public and private) that are not IB ones.

And Lisa (re your post immediately above this one): Not all IB schools are K-12.  Some I are solely high schools or middle and high schools, without elementary classes or kindergarten classes.  So can’t you even reprint an IB student’s letter without claiming he or she is telling lies — and been brainwashed to hate?

Here is the eight-step inquiry process that is one of the main learning methods used at IB schools.  Perhaps all adults, too, should use it as a checklist:

At IB schools, the students quickly learn to use eight main questions to start their focused inquiry into whatever they are studying.  This research-discovery and creative process thus becomes second nature:
o Form: What is it like?  Everything has a form with recognizable features, which can be observed, identified, described and categorized.
o Function:  How does it work?  Everything has a purpose, a role or a way of behaving which can be investigated and categorized.
o Cause:  Why is it like it is?  Things do not just happen.  Everything has a cause, and actions have consequences, which need to be considered.
o Change:  How is it changing?  Everything is in a state of change. Change is universal, and one of the best tests of an educational system is how it develops students’ ability to manage change.
o Connection:  How is it connected to other things?  We live in a world of interacting systems, in which the actions of individuals, communities, nations and elements affect others.
o Perspective:  What are other points of view?  We all view issues and concepts through different perspectives, and often preconceptions.
o Responsibility: What is our responsibility? We are not passive observers of events.  We can and must make choices.  By doing so we can make a difference, on a personal, community and global scale.
o Reflection:  How do we know?  And how do we know when we are correct?  Reflection also encourages us to focus on our way of reasoning, and the quality and reliability of the evidence we have considered.

Overseas teacher

August 25, 2010

Lisa comments above:

“I prefer to read the words of people who are in leadership positions, rather than the media’s interpretation of those words.”  I may be wrong, but I gather you did not read the article.  Be that as it may,
one of the cornerstones of the American Constitution (I know you already know this) is that freedom of the press is a right of the people.  This suggests to me that our Founding Fathers and Mothers (as Abigail Adams said to John in one of her letters, “I desire you would remember the ladies ...”) valued the role of the media, and its interpretations, as a counterweight to information emanating solely from the powers that be.  I also understand that to mean all the media, including web-based media now.  If you dismiss the media so blithely (including the website devoted to the IB you mentioned above?), why should any of us be engaged in this discussion?  None of us holds any power, so none of us has an idea or opinion that is worth contributing?  Only the people “in power” should be listened to? Even if the listening is only to use their statements as grist for the mill, it seems a curiously narrow understanding of the role of public opinion in a public debate about public matters.

Because I do try to read across the political spectrum, you might want to see the column by David Brooks in the NY Times at .  He is, after all, generally recognized as being a conservative, albeit a rational one.  The comments that follow the article are also quite interesting.

Overseas teacher

August 25, 2010

To get back to the IB itself, the two websites below provide some interesting and useful perspective.  I think it would be hard to argue about their bona fides, being from two states with strong conservative bases:  Texas and Florida.  The University of Texas is of course a state (public) university, and the Department of Education is a state agency.  I have a hard time believing that these institutions, and particularly the conservative legislatures that oversee them (an aside, look at the power Texas has in setting the agenda for textbook publishers for the entire US, not just for Texas), could be so bewildered and benighted as to promote a program that is as nefarious as is implied at times above.

This does not mean that the IB is right for every community or school district, but it should also indicate that the IB does appeal across the range of the political spectrum, both inside the US and outside as well.

Lisa McLoughlin

August 26, 2010

Overseas Teacher,

I just re-read your nonsense about Tocqueville:

“I have been re-reading my Tocqueville. He comments on two characteristics of Americans: 1) the lack of interest in theory and the concomitant immediate interest in moving to practical applications, and 2) the interest in making money. My theory as these observations relate to your problem, then, is that the lack of a theoretical bent in most Americans means they are ignorant of and/or indifferent to the various theories about learning and assessment. (Remember the old joke about “What is the difference between ignorant and indifferent?” Answer: “I don’t know and I don’t care.”). The interest in making money of course reduces everything to a numerical base line, the proverbial “bottom line”. The business model.”

Applying your odd interpretation of Tocqueville to this discussion about IB in such a way as to denigrate Americans is well, insulting. Perhaps you should re-read Tocqueville’s insights into socialism:

“Democracy and socialism have but one thing in common—equality. But note well the difference. Democracy aims at equality in liberty. Socialism desires equality in constraint and in servitude.”

You act as though a business model is a “bad” thing, that getting right to the point and solving problems in a matter of fact manner is an inferior style of education, while pontificating over rhetoric and relativistic concepts makes you more worldly and intellectually superior.

I beg to differ, Overseas Teacher. It is exactly this sort of arrogance, misinterpretation of wisdom and subversion of the American dream which IB embraces, and which many of us, reject.

Our economy is in a tailspin precisely because of this attitude which has now infiltrated our government and universities. We must return to practicality, solid foundational education and leave the Nanny state and deep theories for university level exploration. Not every student should go to college. But every student should graduate from high school with the ability to read, write, compute and have a general foundation of knowledge that can at the minimum, lead them into a career in which they can earn a living, raise a family and be a productive member of society.

Lisa McLoughlin

August 26, 2010

I know Gordon said he was off to Mexico and California but I simply have to correct this statement he made to Teacher of 35 years:

:So how on earth could Huxley describe the mission statement, founding document and policy of an organization 22 years before it existed?”

The fact of the matter is, the “Mother of IB”, as referred to by former IBO Director General George Walker, is Marie Therese Maurette. In 1948, Maurette wrote a paper for UNESCO and it is the pedagogy she describes within which Walker called the “birth of IB”.

I’m off to D.C. myself for Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally. Our country is in crisis. We don’t need the UN controlling our children’s educations. We don’t want our hard-earned taxdollars going to support a bunch of Eurocrats living high on the hog spreading their UN indoctrination through our next generation.

As to those international private schools Gordon raves about, maybe he wouldn’t view them so highly if he heard some of the very sad tales I have heard from IB parents in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand and India. Parents who in some cases, had already spent over $80,000 USD and then fell upon hard times, only to have these schools kick their kids out in the middle of their IB educations for late tuition payments. You really should watch the following You Tube video:

I have communicated with the student who produced that video. He claims IB ruined his life.

Bottom line, IB is a “want” by some idealistic Progressive administrators in American schools, not a “need”. It is beyond my comprehension why any public school district would want to take on all of the headaches, cost and controversy that comes with IB.

Gordon Dryden

August 26, 2010

If anyone would like to check the accuracy of Lisa’s claims about the history of the IBO, I suggest Google:

History of IB education from IBO site (

or at Wikipedia with the same search line.  (it is by far the fuller site).

And then check Lisa’s own site through her article at

Lisa is the administrator of the “The Truth about IB” organization, and a check with these three sources will allow you to test which is the truth.

Lisa: Cambodia has one IB school, with a small number of students.  Sri Lanka has two.  India more.

All their names and contact details are listed on the IB website.  Please send me the names of the schools concerned,so I can check out your clams of parents who have spent over US$80,000 on one’s child’s IB education and then “fallen on hard times”. In any of those countries, from my experience (at least in Sri Lanka and India, one would have to be very, very rich to spend that money on education, and then go broke. Like much of the rest of your site, I believe you are deliberately passing on incorrect information.

So please pass o to me the specific details of this claim so I can check them, as I do with all my specific information about alternative school systems.  My email address: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or

Gordon Dryden, New Zealand,executive producer and anchor of 16 TV programs on new methods of learning, from around the world: six of them one-hour documentaries edited from 150 hours of video shot around the world by a professional crew.

Overseas teacher

August 28, 2010

But Lisa, isn’t the point that if the district (and I am assuming by “the district” the people in the district, not simply the administrators) wants to offer the IB that it is their choice—not yours?  If you live in that particular district, then your campaign makes sense, since it is your tax dollars, given the predominantly local funding of American schools from local property taxes. 

With respect to the decisions of some schools not to allow students to continue if they have not paid their fees, isn’t that the “business model” you value above?  If, as you imply, the schools should allow the students to continue, isn’t that the idea behind the socialism you decry—the community is responsible for the individual?

By the way, the last issue is a school issue, not an IB issue.  Other schools, IB or not, have policies and practices in place that would allow such students to continue—called financial aid.

On theory and practice, both are necessary.  Both need to be kept in balance.  Both need to be tested, one against the other.  Otherwise, it is a bit like trying to run a race on only one leg.

As long as we are both reading Tocqueville, and in the context of the American Dream you mention, you might reread what he says about the plight of Native Americans and slaves during his visit in the 1830s.  He offers powerful observations and cogent predictions about what would be the future course of events.  My point?  Any reading of American history, and of the current situation in America today, is much more complicated than what appears at first on the surface.  This is something the IB tries to teach students—not a particular ideology.

I think there are multiple reasons for the American and other economies being in their current situations (yes, the world is interconnected, and world economies are interdependent—another IB theme), but the IB, and whatever supposed way it encourages students to think, had nothing to do with any of this.


August 28, 2010

The problem with IB is that it’s a mouthpiece for the United Nations.  The issues IB addresses come straight from the UN agendas.  Global warming (junk science), overpopuluation (code for abortion).  These are leftist issues from a leftist organziation.  That’s not balance that’s a deliberate attempt to use these classrooms to push a political agenda.  Note that they don’t consider protecting the 2nd Amendment an important issue.

Look, if you can’t offer students a rigorous quality education MINUS the UN propaganda, then obviously you have a serious problem with your administration.

Private schools offer a college prep rigorous course load and do a fantastic job of preparing students for college without the political baggage.

It’s absurd that taxpayers have to pay the IBO for a course of study that could be done without signing on to a controversial org. like IBO


August 28, 2010

To that last post, I have to say this: I’ve been around the IB for a long while (though never working in it). They don’t push agendas. Global Warming? Only if the student wants to study it in an Internal Assessment or their Extended Essay. I haven’t heard a word about overpopulation in IB (But I have in the U.N.). Actually, to be truthful, there’s an IB student I know who is doing his Extended Essay on how we will reconcile the fact that population grows exponentially and our arable land does not. (But nowhere in there does anyone begin advocating abortion).

Lisa, I am familiar with your website and I’m going to say this: IB is not out to brainwash America’s children. Yes, people do get angry when they see your site if they don’t agree. I’m sure that you’re enraged on how Obama wants to push mandatory civil service. Getting angry at slander is not proof of cultism.

Teacher of 35 years, you may have been able to learn multiple languages and such without IB, but unfortunately not everyone is given those opportunities. IB is just one of many ways of getting those things into American schools.

And for some criticism on Huxley: “Administrators do not tell you that the current IB program for ages three through grade 12 promotes socialism, disarmament, radical environmentalism, and moral relativism, while attempting to undermine Christian religious values and national sovereignty.”

Has it occured to you that IB administrators try not to lie? Maybe that’s why they don’t say these things.
I’ve never heard of an educational program that undermines national sovereignty.
I work at highschool that doesn’t always reach state mandates. Many children are far behind on their education. There’s even a teacher who takes her children on walks on block days (yes we have those) “because learning is hard.” If anyone should be accused of moral relativity it is the population of children not in IB. Every day I hear something which just screams double standards or relativism to me. Fortunately it is not the IB students who do so. I find it neigh impossible that an education even teaches moral standards. For being an advocate of the parent’s role in education, you do an awful lot of shifting the blame around.

And in the end, that guy you hate so much? Barack Hussein Obama II? He wasn’t an IB student. In fact, he was a student of Harvard and University of Chicago. Wait a second…isn’t that where Mortimer J. Adler is from? And the rest of those “Great Books coots?” Before you go on gallivanting on how IB is ruining your children, attack the AMERICAN Institutions that are attacking American principles first.

Gordon Dryden

August 28, 2010

President Obama is also an ex-student (1971-79) of one of the finest independent K-12 schools in the world: Punanou School in Honolulu, with 3759 students.

I first had the pleasure of visiting it in 1969 when doing a world-wide survey to find great education models for a New Zealand public inquiry into the role television might play in education.  In recommending great alternative models for schooling, I’d still rate Punahou up alongside some of the best K-12 IB schools, and several other public and private schools in several countries.

In all of several years’ travel to research, video and write articles and books about these highly impressive schools, I have yet to find one of them (IB or otherwise) that is run by the United Nations for biased political propaganda.

Since this discussion started, I’ve now had the chance to read right through the contributions to Lisa McLoughlin’s website, “The Truth About IB.”  To a non-American, the site seems to me more about justifying one side of the US political debate over whether US public schools should teach fundamentalist Christian religion as part of their regular curriculum.

The importance of that debate is for Americans to decide.  For me, I’d love my grandkids to grow up with a good understanding of all major religions and the roles they play in different societies.  Just as I’d like them and their parents to have a good knowledge of alternative school systems, political systems and economic systems.

To consistently present one-dimensional view, as being the sole truth, is not education but dogma.

Gordon Dryden

August 29, 2010

Given part of the current political debate in America, I should clarify:  Punahou School (where President Obama spent most of his school years before college) is a non-sectarian school but, according to its website,“retains its Christian heritage”.  It was founded in 1841 by Congregational Church missionaries.

It is not an International Baccalaureate School.  But each year it runs a “Global Village” Initiative — an innovative teaching and learning opportunity that provides both teacher training and student learning about the great cradles of civilization: China, India, Africa, the Middle East, the Americas and the Greco-Roman empire.

In the past two month 28 rising high school seniors,from eight schools in China and the United States, have participated in the first Student Global Leadership Institute at Punahou.

This is very similar to the way in which the IB curricula involve students in understanding the inter-relationship between systems, cultures and societies around the world.

Perhaps I should add that Hawaii is the 50th state of the United States. And, with about one third of its students from parents of either Caucasian, Polynesian or Japanese hesitag, the University of Hawaii’s East West Center liaises with Hawaii’s top schools to create Asian-Pacific understanding.

Barack Obama, of course, is the first US President to have been born in Hawaii.

Overseas teacher

August 29, 2010

After commenting on my nonsense above, Lisa mentions going off to attend Glenn Beck’s rally.  From the same date, here is another take on that event: .

I will leave it to each to decide where the nonsense is coming from….

Gordon Dryden

August 30, 2010

For anyone still following this debate, Scott McNealy (former CEO and co-founder of SUN Microsystems,recently sold to Oracle for $7.4 billion) has, at the weekend, announced his proposals to tun his Curriki (“Curriulum Wiki”) Project into an open-source widely-available online curriculum.  This could be the long-awaited (by some of us) universal (Lisa: I hesitate to say global) alternative to the more expensive IB.  Co-created by the brightest teachers and students on earth — and free online: in the same way Wikipedia is now the world’s biggest encyclopedia.

What a neat positive outcome to wind up this debate.  Or even better, start an even more important one: of positive alternatives.  Incidentally, that proposal makes up the final chapter of a recent book called “UNLIMITED: The new learning revolution and the seven keys to unlock it.”  I happen to be one of the two co-authors,and woud be happy to send a free pdf file of tht chapter (“Taking the revolution global”) to anyone who emails a request to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Lisa McLoughlin

August 31, 2010

Gordon Dryden,

“To a non-American, the site seems to me more about justifying one side of the US political debate over whether US public schools should teach fundamentalist Christian religion as part of their regular curriculum.”

Gee, that’s extremely odd. Do you have a drinking or reading comprehension problem Gordon? Exactly what page of TAIB did you find ANY suggestion whatsoever that fundamentalist Christianity should be part of a public school’s curriculum? Hmmm?

And why didn’t you mention that “little Barry’s” primary school in Indonesia or that he attended Occidental College on a foreign student visa? Hmmmm?

Overseas Teacher,

Jon Stewart? The Daily Show is your favorite source for news is it? Absolutely pathetic. Please stay overseas and don’t inflict your warped thinking on American students.

The rally was truly amazing. Too bad the hypocrites of the Left are unable to see the beauty of half a million people of all faiths and colors standing peacefully side by side to restore honor in our country. I met the nicest people, people who came to the rally from Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Idaho and even Alaska. 240 members of the clergy (priests, ministers, rabbis and even an Imam or two) stood with arms linked on stage and prayed for our country. This was not a political rally, much as the Left wanted to make it one. Glenn asked everyone to leave their signs at home, and everyone did.

Washington D.C. does not allow military flyovers, but the crowd was presented with the most amazing sight at exactly 10:00 AM as the rally began:

If you listen carefully, I love how a child asks, “How did they make them do that?” and another child’s reply, “They don’t. They just did it.”

“That was amazing”.

Indeed it was.

Gordon Dryden

September 1, 2010


Here’s just the first item listed in the “Press” stories your site quotes approvingly:


“They’re doing it: U.N. makes its move into your school
Program already operating in hundreds of U.S. locations

“Posted: August 10, 2010
9:10 pm Eastern

By Michael Carl
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

The agenda of the United-Nations-funded and -run International Baccalaureate Curriculum is making massive inroads into America’s public schools, with operations already established in more than 1,000 locations.Worldview Weekend President and Founder Brannon Howse says the program is trying to train American students to embrace an anti-Christian worldview. This U.N. curriculum is extremely hostile to Christians. It’s hostile to American values and ideas and very big on humanism, redistribution of wealth, and very big on pluralism and that all religions are equal,” Howse told WND.”

Readers can read much more of the same throughout the site.  For the record, IB schools are not funded and run by the UN. They are overwhelmingly funded by parents paying fees - and I am still waiting for you to name the IB schools in four Asian countries that threw several students out of school after their parents had paid $80,000 each in such fees. Re fees: I’m strongly in favor of Scott McNealy’s alternative global open-source Curriki program.

Lisa McLoughlin

September 2, 2010


I said I will e-mail you the addresses of the foreign parents whose children were thrown out of the IB schools for lack of funds, I don’t think they would appreciate my publicizing their e-mail addresses on a message board with 170,000 readers.

WorldNet Daily is spot on. In fact, I just came across a document from IB that I would like to share:

Allow me to refer you to the bulleted question:

“Can suicide bombers be right?”

What kind of question is that to ask students? The answer is a resounding NO, they can’t be right. To even pose the question in the first place shows the utmost of naivete and ignorance. It is inappropriate, anti-American and just plain ridiculous.

So if you want to defend paying hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for a program that asks young impressionable students that sort of immoral, inane question, well go for it. Here in America you have that right. But American taxpayers whose skyrocketing property taxes pay the IB fees in most cases, are waking up around the country to say NO to IBO.

Gordon Dryden

September 2, 2010


You really should actually visit an IB school some time and actually see its methods in action.

In brief: each elementary school class together and individually (and generally involving their parents at home too) revolves around a multi-faceted “Unit of Inquiry” and research project into a specific topic - generally over six weeks. All traditional “subjects” are woven into that topic or research project.  And the entire process is NOT to lecture students on what to think, but to encourage them to find the objective thinking skills that will enable them to become self-directed, self-confident, self-motivated life-long learners, so they know (for example) how to distinguish factors from propaganda?  Or how to approach every problem, issue or challenge they face in life with the educational and thinking skills required to come up with intelligent, fresh solutions (in,I suggest, a world that sorely needs them).

Revolving elementary schooling around “inquiry topics” is not confined, of course, to IB schools.  New Zealand public schools have been using this method for years. See “A-plus for Inquiry” article:

But, in the IB PYP method, each inquiry generally starts with the students (a) comparing notes about what each one already knows about any aspect of that subject; and then (b) what questions they think are important to find out about the “topic” they are inquiring about.

For example, in one of their topics I know well from visits to IB schools (“Planets of the universe” for 3rd graders), I retrieved a list of the eight-year-olds’ questions.  They included: “What is a black hole?”  “How far is the moon from the earth?”  “What is the sun made of?”  And many more? (Incidentally, their elementary Curriculum Coordinator — a job described by you on your own site as part of the a cult-like manipulation process — has, in the six weeks prior to their current inquiry, checked through such sources as the past year’s Discovery, National Geographic,History and similar TV channels; the great variety of digital material from the British Broadcasting Corporation’s recent archives; recent books by age-groups; new digital resources, such as the new Apple iTunes App store (250,000-plus new applications there, and growing every day), iTunes U, YouTubeU, and many CD-roms and DVDs.  Every IB school that I know has its own network computer-observer, so that many of these more recent items can be stored on it, for immediate downloading. Rather than cult-like manipulation, this also means that these online files (of latest information, presented in new ways) can be stored on the network server, to be available for each child’s parents to know in advance what their child will be studying for the following six weeks, so that they can know the names of any new books, by age groups, on that subject (or plan a family journey to the city’s planetarium).

Now let’s apply that to the “Can suicide bombers be right?”  In the IB discussion paper you lift that from, here is how it is written in context:

“In their essays and oral presentations they (IB classes) 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?”

I would think that an entirely apt question for anyone to ask (probably with older children in an IB “unit, of inquiry”, such as “The history and causes of war”. Obviously, anyone in the US (or anywhere else) might raise this in relation to the 9/11 suicide aircraft attacks on the World Trade center.

But “could suicide bombers be justified under any circumstances”? Could a suicide bomb attack have been justified in Germany if it could have wiped out Hitler and his Cabinet and perhaps saved the holocaust with its loss of 6 million lives?

Is that “inappropriate, anti-American and just plain ridiculous?”

“What kind of question is that to ask students?” you ask.

One reply: “Fine by me.”  And just the kind of question that all students should learn to ask themselves to test their knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of why different governments, religions and sects believe and act the way they do (as the full list of bullet-points above (from the one you referred to).

As you choose to use the example from which 3,000 people in America were killed by in the 9/11 tragedy. Nearly all of the suicide hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, one from the Lebanon and two from the United Arab Emirates.  None was from Iraq. Yet the then President of the US launched an invasion of Iraq, in a war that has lasted more than seven years.  Many Iraqi suicide bombers then blew themselves up (and American troops and fellow Iranian civilians throughout that war) as part of their response.  What kind of religious beliefs could justify that?  What about the beliefs that led to the American decision to invade Iraq? Naive to ask?

Since 1948, Palestinian and Israeli citizens and troops have consistently been in a state of warfare, often with suicide attacks and the bombing of innocent civilians on both side.  Why?  Justified?  Is it anti-American or un-American to ask those questions?

Or should students hear only the one side of any issue?

Many American Christians believe strongly in “the one God”. So do most Jewish people.  So claim most Muslims.  Yet many (from all those faiths) claim (almost throughout the history of modern warfare) that their “God is my right”.  Can all those rival faiths be right?  How do we know?  And how does anyone (including students) find out the truth?  Is there in fact one truth in any issue involving faith and religion? (also indicated in the other bullet points above that you did not mention).

That is why several school systems (including those in my own country, New Zealand) also use the “unit of inquiry” multi-questioning approach to encourage students to develop as citizens who have the open-minded, questioning skills to find the truth (or variations of it) on any issue — and to seek to find what other alternatives exist.

Also: “So if you want to defend paying hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for a program that asks young impressionable students that sort of immoral, inane question, well go for it.”

IB students are encouraged to “test”, by logical questioning and open-minded research, whether statements like that are facts, assumptions, beliefs — or dogmatic distortion.  Pretty good skills to learn in life.

PS:  Have not received your evidence of the specific Asian schools so I can apply the same professional journalistic skills to checking your statements re them.

Lisa McLoughlin

September 2, 2010

I tried sending you an e-mail but it was undeliverable.

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Gordon Dryden

September 3, 2010


Correct email address is:

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Note: .co not .com

Really would appreciate those school names.

Keen to find out how “United Nations-funded” schools can charge parents $80,000, and for how much tuition.  Incidentally, while IB Senior Diploma international exam charges are published by IB, individual schools charge different individual rates for annual tuition.  Some of the highest individual tuition charges depend on the number of students per class: and obviously, for private schools, a different rate is set when a maximum class size is, say, 12 rather than 25.  The same applies, of course, to Harvard, Yale and MIT compared with low-priced US universities. (Harvard, for example, charges higher than nearly any other university for its MBA, using a global-style inquiry process — benchmarking the best case studies from businesses around the world — as the IB does for high school study.  And well-off parents and students choose such courses because of their perceived quality.)

However, I stress I am not arguing in favor of high charges for any education.

I merely pass on, as an international author (with, incidentally, a US co-author), and television-producer/anchor, what I have found in visiting IB schools around the world — and, at one stage, shooting 150 hours of video to reduce to six one-hour tv documentaries, comparing our TV research into the world’s best methods of teaching and learning. My personal rating of “the best”, incidentally, includes excellent faith-based schools, public schools, private schools international schools, IB schools (both public and private) and research universities: based on personal inspections — and some later consulting.  I have yet to find one country to combine together all the methods I have found to be most inspiring.

Lisa McLoughlin

September 3, 2010


I sent the e-mail. You will have to contact the individuals yourself to obtain the names of the schools. While I appreciate being a sounding board for parents from foreign countries who have had unsatisfactory experiences with IB, my primary objection is IBO’s social justice agenda in the U.S.

I have no objection to parents anywhere in the world sending their children to private, parochial or UN schools. If they choose to pay tuition for their children to receive a specific style of education, that’s great. I object to U.S. taxdollars being funneled to a company with a political and ideological agenda over the objections of many parents and taxpayers.

Gordon Dryden

September 13, 2010

Sept 14, 2010

Since September 3, Lisa McLoughlin, administrator of the “Truth about the IB” website in the US, and I have exchanged some lengthy emails.

In one of those early emails, Lisa was kind enough to say she is generally not used to dealing with critics who express “their position as reasonably and non-emotionally as you have.”

Lisa’s most recent email, received today, concludes:

“So this will be my final reply to you Gordon. I’m afraid I simply don’t trust anyone who subscribes to the Progressive philosophy in life. It is antithetical to all that I stand for.”

In a previous email, she did, however, say she had watched a 20-minute TV interview in which the interviewer questioned me on my philosophy of life.  Her conclusion: “That was a delightful TV interview. I enjoyed hearing your passion and enthusiasm. Besides our 25 yr. difference in age, I think the major difference in our positions as advocates is that you are advocating FOR something, while I am specifically focused on preventing the infiltration of American public schools by an organization whose product I believe is inferior and carrying political baggage.”

So I guess we’ll leave it there, unless anyone else would like to view that interview to see what some in America regard as a dangerous “Progressive philosophy in life” that is “antithetical to all that I stand for.”

It’s link is through my normal signature to emails:

Gordon Dryden
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Co-author and publisher: “UNLIMITED: The new learning revolution and the seven keys to unlock it”
This TV-interview . . .
will take you to our website where you can also:
1. Read the introduction of the book free, and
2. Listen to a series of radio interviews on subjects in the book

Lisa McLoughlin

September 15, 2010


Your above post demonstrates the malicious manipulative nature of those who align themselves with the Progressive movement.

A) You had no business transposing anything I wrote to you onto a public forum. You didn’t ask for permission to do so, nor did I ever suggest that you could. You, on the other hand, did state in your last e-mail to me that I was free to publish your e-mail. I have chosen not to at this time.

B) My reference to your Progressive philosophy being antithetical to all that I stand for was in response to your musings about Mao, Stalin and Hitler also being people who stood for things they believed in. I found comparing my principles to those of mass murdering tyrants to be highly offensive. You even went on to claim Mao and Hitler conducted their reigns of terror based on their respective country’s NATIONAL constitutions. Such gross historical distortion from an elder published author cannot go unchallenged. My comments were NOT meant to reflect back on your TV interview. These were two separate conversations. The old “taken out of context” complaint is certainly valid in this case.

It would appear that I offended you by refusing to provide you with my mailing address when you generously offered to mail me a copy of your book. While I appreciate your offer, I explained to you that I have received death threats from Progressives who support IB and as such, I do not give out my home address or phone number. I would hope you would respect that.

My website contains no ads. People can order an online copy of my manuscript “Redefining Rigorous” to receive via e-mail. The $5.00 donation is forwarded to the Wounded Warriors Foundation.

Gordon Dryden

September 17, 2010

Just for the record, Lisa has lifted the names of Hitler, Stalin and Mao from a paragraph that also included Jesus, Paul, Gandhi, John F Kennedy, George W Bush and Mohammed as leaders who could claim to be following their own beliefs.  But such claims, by any individual (including Lisa), do not prove the truth of those beliefs.

In an ealier post, I also mentioned that early movements for an unbiassed international history curriculum came from the victorious Allies at the end of
“World War II”, particularly the British, wanting to ensure that no future dictators could have their national school curricula written by their propaganda machines.

The former head of the British Broadcasting Corporation . . . noted for its impartial global news coverage to this day . . . was one of those who pressed strongly for such changes.

Lisa McLoughlin

September 17, 2010

And what, pray tell, makes you think that an international history curriculum is “unbiassed”, especially when it is written by globalists who support one world governance? Your very statement is anti-national sovereignty, not just anti-American, but anti any country’s sovereignty.

Your claim regarding BBC’s “impartiality” is laughable. Please read the following document:

Lisa McLoughlin

September 17, 2010

Let me make one other point perfectly clear. The United States does NOT have a national curricula. Educational standards are and should remain within the purview of each of our 50 States.  Why in God’s name would we want an international curricula imposed on our students?

Lisa McLoughlin

September 18, 2010

Root of Mr. Dryden’s cognitive dissonance:

“In an ealier post, I also mentioned that early movements for an unbiassed international history curriculum came from the victorious Allies at the end of
“World War II”, particularly the British, wanting to ensure that no future dictators could have their national school curricula written by their propaganda machines.” ~Gordon Dryden

If the above was the stated reason for the creation of an “international curriculum”, it is completely irrelevant as it pertains to the United States since we are blessed to be governed by our Constitution which, so long as it is defended, will never allow a dictator to take control. Barack Obama is the closest thing to a dictator that the U.S. has ever seen and there is NO DOUBT he will only be a one term President. Obama is constantly circumventing Congressional approval with his Executive Orders of dubious deigns. In less than 2 yrs., Obama’s approval rating has tanked. 53% of Americans believe Obamacare should be repealed. Our midterm elections in November will hopefully see the Republicans retake the House and the Senate. Never in my lifetime have I seen this level of political discontent as exists in our country right now.

We don’t want national dictators and we certainly don’t want UN global dictators telling us how to live, what to eat and what to teach our children.

Overseas teacher

September 19, 2010

Been out of this loop while school was opening.  Now taking a break from correcting work. 

Lisa’s comment above to me is disturbing: “Jon Stewart? The Daily Show is your favorite source for news is it? Absolutely pathetic. Please stay overseas and don’t inflict your warped thinking on American students.”  There is an unwarranted assumption and overgeneralization based on one comment about one show.  Actually, the New York Times is my favorite source of news, not that that will impress Lisa, but it still stands as one of the country’s “newspapers of record”.  And The Economist, but again that will carry no weight.  I also follow the Boston Globe (part of the NY Times) and The Oregonian, since I have lived in those regions also.  For TV, BBC World News, CNN International, and other channels in French and Spanish.  Jon Stewart et al. is for light relief.  I like humor.  I think we can all benefit from a little more laughter at times.  That is a notion I try to inject into my students’ brains.

But of more concern, if I disagree with Lisa, does that make me unworthy to return to the US and live there again even though I am a citizen?  I can’t believe Lisa can really think that.  It is beyond the pale in terms of American notions of personal freedoms—the very values being espoused.  If that statement IS an accurate one of her beliefs and those of others, then the US Constitution really is in danger(but not from the President) and no educational program, whether IB or any other, is going to save the country from a totalitarian dictatorship.  But I remain optimistic that such a dire outcome will not come to pass.


September 19, 2010

Overseas teacher,

Oh, you’re welcome to come back and live here. Just please don’t apply for a job in the public school system.

I don’t think Jon Stewart is particularly funny. Only Liberals think he is funny because their idea of humor is to make fun of Conservatives, but in a twisted way. I bet you like Bill Maher as well. Again, cruel and not funny. In fact, the stunt Stewart is pulling with Colbert scheduled for 10/30 is downright insulting and a mockery of the 500,000+ Americans who gathered on 8/28 at the Mall in D.C.

And the NYT? Greeaaaaaaat. As far as I’m concerned, the NYT isn’t worth wrapping fish in. Try the Wall St. Journal once in awhile.

Overseas teacher

September 20, 2010


I think the decision of where I should apply is mine, not yours.  Otherwise, sounds a bit too much like the McCarthy era.

Anyway, this thread has veered off from discussing the IB into politics, which it probably is not supposed to do.

Best to all.

Gordon Dryden

September 20, 2010

Hopefully I can sign off my part in this discussion with a personnal anecdote that occured last week. As I lined up at New Zealand´s Auckland International Airport, a happy group of 10 to 11-year-old students in neat, colorful school familiar uniforms were in adjoining rows. As I chatted with students and teachers, they confirmed their school were excited upcoming journey . . . Kristin Junior School, off for a study visit to Beijing China. Kristin is New Zealand´s only International Baccalaureate School that has students studying in all three IB programs . . . junior, middle and high.

I am fairly familiar with the schools´s progress, both before it became an IB school and since. After signing in for our different flights, some of us continued talking, and I asked if any had read the ASCD article that sparked this discussion.  None had, and I mentioned my own several ¨posts¨ covering the ways in which I had been most impressed with all the IB schools I had visited in many countries, and especially the PYP which I have investigated on personal author research visits since the PYP was introduced in 1997.

I asked if any of the students or teachers were familiar with Lisa McLoughlin´s organization and website, ¨Truth About the IB¨. None were. So I suggested the teachers should read it and the discussion underway here.

The young students were most interested in why anyone would criticize the IB programs - and asked me to summarize Ms McLoughlin´s objections.

¨Better to read them from her own writings,¨ I suggested, ¨But basically summarized under these broad headings.

1. ¨The IB0 is mainly sponsored by the United Nations and UNESCO to promote a global agenda for an international curriculum which is antagonistic to the United States, its Constitution and values. The main critic also claimed that much of the IB funding was coming from the UN, and some of it ourtof US taxpayers´ pockets.

2. Ïts academic programs are biassed and deliberately designed to indoctrinate students with a one-world curriculum that stops them thinking for themselves.¨

At that one of the 11-year-olds said ¨But that´s simply not true.  In fact, the opposite.¨ And the other students immediately expressed similar views. One even suggested that Lisa´s web must be a satirical joke. The general feeling ... incredulity that such wide-of-the mark, inaccurate criticisms could be made, and a big questionmark as to whether Ms McLoughlin had ever visited an IB school, or studied the IB Primary Years Program ’ under which all the strudents studied,and which lays down the program´s aim to develop students competgent and confident to excercise their own critical thinking, research and similar skills to analyze all alternatatives and make up their own minds on any issues they faced.

I mentioned that many people in US education confused a subject-based and terxtbook-led curriculum or syllabus with the type of topic-of-inquiry or curriculum guidelines under which all New Zealand schools had the right to select from all the bert educational ideas in the world nd add theirown best to it.

I mentioned Ms McLoughlin´s third broad criticism. ¨That the IB curriculum might be OK for international schools outside the United States, but it should be barred from the US on Constitutional grounds, in that, under the US
Constitution, the individul 59 US states had the responsibility to choose its own curriculum.¨

No one present claimed to be an expert on all aspects of the US Constitution, but some said they would be amazed if the US Constitution forbad freedom of school choice.

WE did not have time to discuss what I consider to be Lisa´s fourth criticism ... that the IB charges are too high for lower-income families to pay . . . a viewpoint I share

Anyone interested in the full IB programs can study them in full in its recently updated website @

By a strange coincidence, I had a few days previously suggested to Lisa that she should visit Kristin´s website . . . . . . and especially its full Junior School program for 2010, which outlines in detail each or the ¨topics of inquiry¨ program into which all other ¨subjects¨ are blended.

I invite any other critics to do likewise, and then to tell us where this yearly program contains even any one phrase or paragraph that justifies the level of criticism made of it in the ¨Truth about the IB¨ website.

Finally, the total philosophy of the IB´s Primary Years Program is not based on the traditional use of textbooks, paying down any subject-based syllabus, but is based onn students themselves delving openly into all knowledge and information to become fully informed and self acting citizens of both their own countries and an inter-connected world.

I am now enjoying myself as a consultant to one of the finest K-12 schools in the world, the Thomas Jefferson Institute in Mexico. It is not an IB school.  But it is also a model for the world.

Footnote ... I have read Lisa´s suggested answer to my journalistic belief in the BBC´s reputation for impartiality.  The link is to an article by an Arabic-speaking Israeli attorney on the coverage by the BBC of one of the wars beween Israeli soldiers and supporters of the Palestinians who for 50 years have, with their families, been confimed to refugees camps in southern Lebanon. As a journalist involved in many news’stories and interviews on that conflict, I can confirm the difficulty of getting impartial comments from both sides. But I agree with overseas teacher that this really veering away from the discussion on the IB.


September 20, 2010

Overseas teacher,

Hey, it was a request, not an “order”. Leave it to a misguided Liberal to inappropriately throw out “McCarthy” as the “great evil”.

IB is political. IB is endorsed by Progressives, not Conservatives. IB has a political agenda which involves indoctrinating our children. THAT’s evil.


September 23, 2010


Wow. Way to completely misrepresent just about everything on my website and what I have written.

” 1. ¨The IB0 is mainly sponsored by the United Nations and UNESCO to promote a global agenda for an international curriculum which is antagonistic to the United States, its Constitution and values. The main critic also claimed that much of the IB funding was coming from the UN, and some of it ourtof US taxpayers´ pockets.”

You’ve got that backwards, my NZ friend. 90% of the IB schools in the U.S. are public which are funded via school property taxes paid by hard working American homeowners. IB was founded with UNESCO money and based on ideology which was crafted by Marie Therese Maurette in her pamphlet to UNESCO in 1948. Post 1976, UNESCO has contributed to IB’s funding, but in no way constitutes the bulk of the funding.

#2 - Of course the little heads full of mush are going to cry, “That’s not true”! How in the world is a 7 year old supposed to be able to know when they are being presented with biased viewpoints or “nudged” into believing certain things? To dismiss the reams of information presented at Truth About IB as possibly “satirical” hardly demonstrates open-mindedness, inquiry or risk-taking, now does it? De Nile isn’t just a river in Egypt. Please see my most recent update on IB using little children to form a peace symbol for the UN’s International Day of Peace:

“3. I mentioned Ms McLoughlin´s third broad criticism. ¨That the IB curriculum might be OK for international schools outside the United States, but it should be barred from the US on Constitutional grounds, in that, under the US Constitution, the individul 59 US states had the responsibility to choose its own curriculum.¨

Typo Gordon? Last time I checked, we still had 50 states, although Congress pulled a fast one and it’s likely that Puerto Rico will be our 51st state before 2012. I have stated REPEATEDLY that IB should be free to sell it product to PRIVATE schools in the U.S. (I’m sure there are many more Islamic madrassas that would love to slap the IB label on their doors). I do not believe that public taxpayer dollars should be expended on a program that is not subject to U.S. law and requires any arbitration to take place in Geneva, Switzerland. I am in favor of abolishing the Federal Department of Education, an unnecessary bureaucracy, and yes, I believe in States rights and local control when it comes to public education. Your distortion of my argument implying to small children that I have claimed teaching IB is unConstitutional is beyond the pale. You might want to read our Constitution. There is NO MENTION of public education contained within the document.


March 6, 2013

Just one question, can anyone who has interest get a copy of the lesson plans?- AND I don’t just mean a general"summary”.


June 5, 2013

Excellent post, however people are missing the point with this debate, the teaching method may not be under fire, but the content of the IB program and insidious indoctrination of young minds with world political views is questioned by concerned educators and parents. See this link

The opposition is not because of ant-christian or anti-american teachings, because other nations are also opposing the IB program. The opposition is because IB creates a templated, void and hollow student who is detached from his own country and culture and family. The explicit guidelines to not teach these things or anything of local significance is what truly worries parents and educators. In addition all the teacher time taken up with checklists, charters, attitudes and profile checking, they don’t have time for core academics. Particularly worrisome during the primary years that politics, socialist and other world views are even part of the push when the 3 R’s should be prominent.

See this parents experience


May 12, 2014

The un and ib will be thrown out of the us after the civil unrest that is going to happen in america. The ib is euro commie crap and russia will probably end up whipping natos ass soon .long live the usa down with western europe come on ww3


August 9, 2014


It’s amazing how many people comment but have no idea what this IB curriculum is actually teaching to our children.  It’s not the unbiased, fair, and balanced approach to to study world governments from the class assignments my 14 year old daughter brings to me every day for homework.  It is the systematic brainwashing of children all over the world including the children within the United States of which we are a part of and currently attending in Hawaii, of how and why America has failed in so many cultural, political, and ideological ways.  The people on this blog that say it’s not anti-american or that say it’s balanced do not get to hear and read from the curriculum story after story on how the Marines burned Okinawan children in caves, mistreated the American Indians and Blacks through slavery and neglect, how the wars we have fought in have been unjust and illegal, and countless other misconstrued so called facts or myths about how America is the true evil on the world keeping the rest of the world from progressing.  My daughter continually has to write essays on how we mistreated the Japanese during WWII, performed “illegal” nuclear tests, illegal overthrow of many “innocent” governments, and committed countless atrocities against people in foreign countries across the world.  This program is anything but fair and balanced because it’s ideology focuses on everything bad about the US with a little on the atrocities of the South American governments which were “allowed” to happen by the US government since we were holding the “big stick.”  I can’t speak for all the IB school programs but if any of the others are a reflection of what we are experiencing than it’s a dark future for America as children across the world are taught that the US is the only country with flaws and mistakes from it’s past and present.  From what I have seen, there is no semblance of a balanced, impartial world view that was meant to have everyone across the globe holding hands and singing Kumbaya I’m sorry to say.


August 26, 2014

This debate is useless, the proponent arguing for IB’s merits obviously hasn’t experienced an IB curriculum for himself, or he would have seen his PYP children come home talking about group consensus, socialism, totalitarianism, refugee rights, gay marriage, environmental crisis, sharing the planet (wealth distribution) and animal rights, and very little about maths, science, english, spelling, history, liberty, law, independant thinking or democracy.

When raising his concerns with the school he would have been told not to worry about the actual content of school work because his children would be learning much more important skills such as critical thinking (dialectic consensus group think) and problem solving skills (make up your own answers).

When asking why his children don’t receive homework, assignments or practice drills, he would be told that those types of activities are from a bygone era of education and modern teachers use constructivist methods of education which don’t concern themselves with right or wrong answers, practice makes perfect, bottom up learning or direct instruction.

When he would question the school why the math times tables are not taught, he would be told that memorization of any sort goes against IB and constructivist teaching, which requires all knowledge to be personally discovered and constructed in the mind of the student. There is not way the IB school will allow any facts or techniques to be memorized, the student must research and create their own unverifiable knowledge.

When asking about the curriculum and syllabus he would told that the IB secret “framework” is not a curriculum and is copyright so he wouldn’t be allowed to see a copy, even though each teacher and principal can see it. He would start thinking there is something creepy about an open, global educational program that keeps its syllabus secretly hidden from parents.

Let us be straight about IB, criticism by parents within an IB school is strongly rejected by IB Principals with the use of psychological tactics, teachers are trained on how to divert questioning and the divide & conquer technique is used to maximum affect by IB coordinators.  Just like the personal attacks in this forum, critics will be labelled xenophobic, racist or nationalistic, this is the typical divide and conquer tactic taught to all IB administrators to defend their program, rather than using persuasive arguments.

Communism is alive and well in these schools, children in PYP programs learn nothing of real use, except to be UN social change agents and NWO dummies.

If you want your child to forego learning proper Science, Maths or English for a “worldy” (UN euro socialist) education, then send them to an IB school.


September 10, 2014

Agree with Matthew, if you think elementary schools should focus on maths, science, english, geography and history then think again, take a look at some major term projects at this PYP school and decide for yourselves if this is indoctrination!

Marriage Equality Issues
Fair Trade
Racism in Sport
Animal Cruelty
Issues with War Refugees
Womens Rights
Dangerous Diseases
Body Image
Racism and Refugees
Border Patrol
Extreme Poverty
Mental Health issues
Poverty and Homelessness
Discrimination in Sports
Human Rights

Shriya Patel

October 3, 2014

International Baccalaureate word is amazing . It increase the students ability and give them new vision to understand outside word . Sri Ram School provides International Baccalaureate diploma in India . My friend have done IB diploma from Sri Ram and he is improved so much .


February 2, 2015

IB is actually a political indoctrination programme for one world government, governed by the UN with the UNDHR as its charter, which is basically a communist manifesto that aims to remove national sovereignty from all nations.

Anyone who sends their children to an IB PYP school will know too well what kind of rubbish they are brainwashed with and it is not maths, science, physics or chem. It is about communism, totalitarianism, dictatorships, gay marriage, group consensus, greater good, refugee rights, open border policies (this is UN/UNESCO’s method of promoting a one world culture).

Many people who see through this rubbish are immigrants themselves and have experienced this type of communist propaganda first hand in their own country. The people who don’t see it are the elite academics and rich families who send their children to these school out of personal feelings of guilt based on their first world status.

The sad fact is that the IB curriculum is hidden from parents and the method of teaching is different enough from regular teaching to make it a good diversion from discussing the curriculum itself. When questioned, they rarely answer questions, they go on and on about deeper learning and global citizenship, when nothing of the sort is happening, the depth of learning is very, very shallow indeed.

Your children are way behind in maths and science and instead have to spend a whole semester on environmental projects and human rights research, ignoring times tables and long division. If this is what you want for your kids, by all means let them be co-opted by the IB organisation and used as NWO zombies.


February 20, 2015

As a parent ask your school IB coordinator for a copy of the syllabus and watch them make excuses not to give it to you, are they hiding something? Parents don’t have a right to see what their children are being taught, which is wierd, aside from the horrible presentations at the end of each semester with finger paintings and save the planet posters.


March 7, 2015

Worst mistake I ever made was sending my children to a PYP school, but I quickly moved them to an international schools when I saw where things were heading with this IB curriculum. Be a smart parent and do your own research before falling for IB’s hype.

Olivia S.

June 11, 2015

I’m an IB student in Poland. Born and raised American, been here and there though. Okay;
My IB program is in a Christian school. As in, run by nuns. In a country well known for it’s staunch Christianity. Seriously, nobody here complains it’s anti-Polish or anti-Christian. Nobody. It is hellish at times and leaves our class muttering curses and being dead tired, but we grow really close to each other through that and there are many, many great moments too. I like it very much and have grown considerably thanks to the well rounded curriculum. I like it much better than both the Polish and American ones anyway

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