Most parents are overwhelmed by the prospect of tackling IB in their schools. TAIB has found that the #1 fear of parents is that there will be backlash against their children if they voice their objections. We're going to be perfectly honest with you, that possibility does exist. But if you remain silent, nothing will change. You are your child's best advocate
Let’s begin with districts which have not yet started the IB application process, a preemptive strike is the best approach:
1. Keep your ears open for chatter that emphasizes an international approach to education or emphasis on foreign language immersion 2. Listen for mention of any proposed “magnet” or “pilot” programs 3. Make sure your PTA leadership is aware that there are parents who object to bringing IB into your district and educate them with facts to support your objections 4. If your district is considering redistricting and is hosting any sort of “feasibility study”, be sure to attend the public meeting and bring as many people with you as you can. 5. Familiarize yourself with the cost of IB in advance of any public discussion - be ready to produce documentation for back up 6. Request minutes from meetings of any committee that may have met to discuss IB - request inclusion on committee 7. Put your Board of Education Trustees and Principals on notice in writing that you are opposed to IB and hope if they want your continued support, that they won’t go down that road 8. Use your local papers to write letters to the editor if talk gets serious - school districts hate negative press 9. Talk to the teachers - ask them what they think of IB and let those that oppose it know that you have their backs - most will want to remain anonymous and that’s ok, but some of the bolder ones with tenure may come forward 10. Spread the word - the more taxpayers who understand the potential impact of an IB program, the better. Direct parents and taxpayers to Truth About IB via fliers and e-mails.
For districts that have already begun the IB application process but are not yet authorized:
1. Know that a district is free to STOP the IB application process at any point - there is no contract 2. Demand open and honest reporting of all monies spent on the IB process to date and under what section of the budget those monies were approved 3. Utilize school e-mail lists to alert parents to any upcoming Board meetings when IB may be on the agenda - look for code phrases that specifically omit the word IB, such as “high school course scheduling” or “curriculum review” 4. Obtain your school’s mean SAT scores and number of AP and National Merit Scholars from pre-IB years (5-10 years worth if possible) - once a school becomes IB, any sort of data becomes very difficult to get your hands on. Keep this data for comparison. 5. Remain calm - don’t allow emotions to get the better of you - IB supporters will attack you personally, call you names and try to get you to react. Don’t play their game. 6. Let the Board know in no uncertain terms that if they insist on pursuing IB, you will vote NO on their budget next time around. 7. Write your Republican Congressperson, speak at the Chamber of Commerce and senior citizen centers. There is power in numbers. A Board’s #1 priority is getting its budget passed, if it fears a program is too controversial, it will drop it in favor of winning support for the budget. 8. Keep an eye out for ad hoc groups seeking to fundraise to donate money for IB. Identify their political allegiances and make them known. 9. Write letters to your local paper 10. Get parents out to meetings and encourage them to sign up for public comment.
For districts which have already purchased IB, hope isn’t completely lost:
1. Elect new Board Trustees who didn’t drink the Kool Aid 2. Keep track of the money spent on IB and the number of IB Diploma recipients 3. Double check any stats put out by the district to promote IB - the tendency to double count and exaggerate by using percentages instead of actual numbers is prevalent with IB 4. Inform taxpayers who don’t have school-age children how their money is being wasted on IB 5. Write letters to your local paper 6. Question with boldness, hold to the truth, speak without fear.
As Americans, we are blessed with the right to own property and in most cases, the right to have a voice when it comes to public education. The Progressives who support IB count on the trust and apathy of busy parents to rubber stamp their agenda without question. With billions of dollars at stake, we can no longer afford to sit by silently.
"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." - Thomas Jefferson
An International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma from Wooster (or any school) is a great accomplishment. The problem with WCSD and many other districts is that they only tell one side of IB. Most districts use the International Baccalaureate Organization's (IBO's) excellent marketing materials and do a very good job presenting the positive aspects of IB. This article will focus on, the other side of IB. HERE IS WHAT MANY DISTRICT DO NOT TELL PARENTS AND STUDENTS PRIOR TO THEIR ENROLLMENT IN IB:
2) For the IB Diploma over the course of two years, students must meet all requirements in the link below and take: 3 SL (standard level) classes, 3 HL (higher level) two year classes, the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) class, write the extended essay, and complete 150 hours of community service. Article 15 of this IBO document states the minimum test scores and all the other requirements to obtain the IB Diploma. http://www.ibo.org/become/guidance/documents/DP_regs_en.pdf
Most colleges do not give credit for IB SL classes, the TOK class, or the extended essay.
9) The current trend with districts is to use IBO's great marketing materials and a few buzz words including: "critical thinker," "world citizen," and "create a better and more peaceful world through education," to RUSH IB implementation. Throughout the country IB is implemented before parents and the community understand all aspects of the programme. Sometimes superintendents and school boards vote, behind closed doors, to totally change a school and implement IB with little or no input from teachers, parents, or the community. Once IB is in place it can be very difficult to remove. IB has divided many communities around the country. The site that best covers these issues and "the other side" of IB is:www.TruthAboutIB.com
10)AP may be best for gifted students, especially if they hope to earn as much college credit for their high school classes. According to Pedro Martinez, Deputy Superintendent of Clark County School District (Las Vegas), and IB proponent, “in my old district, Chicagogifted students usually take the AP classes.” According to Duke University, "AP for Gifted students is still a good choice." http://www.tip.duke.edu/node/895
11) At the high school level IB can be a good fit for some students and obtaining the IB Diploma is a great accomplishment.
After hundreds (probably thousands) of hours of research on IB, I think the programme is best for average and above high school students who are willing to work very hard, and who know in advance the amount of college credit they can expect with IB.
Any parent considering the PYP should read paragraph 7 and the associated links above before enrolling their student in the programme.
PARENTS AND STUDENTS DESERVE TO KNOW ALL THE FACTS ABOUT IB PRIOR TO ENROLLMENT!
John Eppolito john@Jtahoe.com Former K-12 teacher Father of four children grades 1-8