IB: Cheerleading isn’t fact-finding

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I attended the "Community Chat" on Sept. 26, which became a pep rally staged by IB teachers and students. I listened to a host of IB students speak emotionally about how much IB means to them. There is no doubt that these students are bright, but IB didn't make them that way. In fact, when confronted with the very poor IB exam scores and resulting lack of college credits for IB courses taken, the best "critical thinking" response both IB teachers and students could muster was, "we're not in it for the grades or the college credits."

IB students and teachers resist any effort to objectively measure the academic success of IB. Instead, it's all about how they "feel" about the program. Grades don't matter. College credits don't matter. (Although that's how the program was originally sold to the community.) Poor performance that is below the average performance of IB students worldwide doesn't matter. Instead, they rest on the fact that a few of our elite IB students get into Ivy League schools. However, Coeur d'Alene's best and brightest were getting into the best schools long before IB.

IB cheerleader Ms. Kladar is fully aware of the factual objections to IB. My research with cited sources has been published in The Press over the past couple of years and can be reviewed in the archives at cdapress.com.

Ms. Kladar compares IB to the Boy Scouts and Red Cross. However, neither of those have been tasked by UNESCO with implementing the U.N.'s education for global governance. IB's radical environmentalism, social activism and "everyone can be right" relativism - which they call "critical thinking" - is well-documented. See http://myinclinevillage.com/2011/07/31/what-all-parents--students-should-know-before-enrolling-in-ib.aspx.

The data provided at the school board's Sept. 19 workshop shows AP's performance has been significantly better than IB's: (1) Average IB exam scores for 2010 and 2011 were likely INSUFFICIENT for college credit in 6 of 7 courses; (2) Average AP exam scores were likely to gain college credits in 5 of 9 courses in 2010, and 6 of 9 courses in 2011; (1) Average IB exam scores were BELOW world averages in 6 of 7 courses in 2010 and in 4 of 7 courses in 2011; (2) Average AP exam scores were AT or ABOVE world averages in 7 of 9 courses in 2010 and 2011. There is much to object to with IB, and little to support it, other than anecdotal information and the "feel good," emotional testimonials by IB insiders.

Last, in a to-be-expected effort to demonize, Ms. Kladar misquoted the plain-spoken man at the pep rally. What I and others heard was a blunt (albeit somewhat off-color) condemnation directed to the teachers and administrators (not IB students) who continue to waste precious resources on an elite few students, when the money is needed to make sure ALL of our students are college-ready. That person observed that his own kids did not receive a good education, while money is being thrown away on IB. Shelling out something like $77,000 per IB diploma is not peanuts, based on the objective under-performance of IB.

My objections to IB, including the content and stated goals of the program, are well-known and shared by many in our community. But cost and performance are equally valid considerations. Let's get all the information that the school district has promised, and then have an intelligent, reasoned discussion regarding costs, goals and performance. THAT's what strategic planning is all about.

DUNCAN KOLER

Hayden Lake

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