I wish to add to The Press' reporting of the April 5, 2010, School Board meeting and the citizens' comments about IB. Those who spoke against the program did so passionately but respectfully, and included a number of well- and internationally-educated citizens who had done their own research.
The students who spoke for the program stated unequivocally that there was never, ever any left-wing bias in their classes. This stood in stark contrast to CHS Student Body President Tyler Smotherman, who gave a reasoned analysis and offered his observations shared by other CHS IB students he spoke with that the IB program carried a decidedly radical left-wing tilt.
Not once has any proponent of IB disputed the research we have done, and the things we found that UNESCO and the IB Organization ("IBO") say about their education programs. We have provided citations to these UNESCO and IBO writings to all concerned, including the school board. Instead, the pro-IB folks point to the flowery, lofty-sounding marketing pablum put out by IB to sell their program.
The only contentiousness shown at the meeting was by those pro-IB speakers who resorted to name-calling, labeling myself and others opposed to the program as "propagandists" and "extreme right-wingers." I am informed that Trustee Edie Brooks echoed these sentiments after the meeting. Interestingly, Ms. Brooks claimed to be "conservative." Please, let's base our arguments on research and reason, and not resort to name-calling, as some have recently, both at the school board meeting and in The Press.
The defenders of IB (i.e., the IB teachers, their students and the "conservatives" on the board) claim that U.N. globalist curriculum is not reaching our kids through IB, because the curriculum is written locally by our teachers. In other words, they claim the teachers are filtering out the globalist, anti-American, anti-Christian material from IB. Let's review the facts linking the U.N. to the IBO and to our local students:
The U.N. says: (1) we need to downplay nationality in teaching, lest the kids identify too strongly with their country (this was written about in the 1948 UNESCO handbook, "Is There a Way of Teaching for Peace?"); (2) we need to teach "peace" defined by the U.N. as social equity (redistribution of resources); (3) we need to teach "sustainable development" (meaning putting resources out of reach and redistributing others under the guise of environmentalism and social equity); (4) we need to teach local-to-global activism to our kids; and (5) the U.N.'s related Non-Governmental Organizations (called "NGO's) - including IBO, are legally bound to execute UNESCO's educational objectives and to report back to UNESCO on their activities and results.
The IBO says: (1) that IB's goal is to create true global citizens with the ability to persuade others to their way of thinking; (2) that it's "no coincidence" that IB's Diploma Program grew out of the ideas from the 1948 UNESCO handbook's ideas regarding teaching a "special kind of history," teaching community activism and teaching acceptance of others' ideas; (3) Teaching "values" is a fundamental part of the IB/PYP programs, including the "values" of compulsory community service, openness to change, social equity/peace and sustainable development.
Our children say: (Hayden Meadows PYP 4th graders wrote "Essays to the President" titled, "If I could change the World" over the past two years. These essays are on display in the Hayden Meadows lobby.) Here are some of their suggestions for changing the world: (1) no factories; (2) no cars; (3) no logging or cutting down trees; (4) no building; (5) remove buildings and set more land aside just for animals; (6) stop global warming; (7) free housing for everyone; (8) take away all guns and weapons; (9) make everyone feel equal; and (10) "take the bull by the horns" and start to change the community first, then the nation, then the world. Ironically, the board announced that Hayden Meadows fourth-graders and their teacher were receiving a community service award for their activism in the community at the school board meeting.
It strikes me that the kids are learning exactly what UNESCO and IB aim to teach, mainly "Can't Do" instead of "Can-Do" American exceptionalism. Not one of the PYP fourth-graders suggested anything like, "find a cure for cancer," or "discover a new clean energy source." Also, we keep hearing about the need for change, openness to change and to be community activists for change. This sounds eerily familiar. What change? Draw your own conclusions, but first do your own research.
Where is the school board on all this? On March 1, I presented a formal request to have the IB/PYP program made an agenda item for open discussion at the April 5 school board meeting (i.e., a dialogue between the board and the citizens, instead of 3-minute citizens' comments while the board sits silent). In response, I received a letter denying my request. Instead, the board announced it will hold a public workshop to discuss "Schools of Choice" on May 17 at 5 p.m. at LCHS. They say that workshop will include discussion of IB/PYP.
To summarize, U.N. education is in our schools, and our bright kids are learning their lessons well. In response to legitimate, researched concerns about the U.N.-based curriculum our school board brought to our schools, we have encountered from pro-IB'ers, including school board trustees, demonization and an attempt to hijack and re-frame the issue as one of "choice." Let's take responsibility for our children and demand accountability from our school board - please be there on May 17.
Duncan Koler is a Hayden Lake resident.