Taxpayer-funded International Baccalaureate Program Undermines U.S. Founding Principles
By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. | September 1, 2016 National Center for Policy Analysis
American taxpayers are funding a public school curriculum commissioned by the United Nations that is at odds with our nation’s founding principles. According to the International Baccalaureate Organization Subject Guide (1996), “An international education must go well beyond the provision of information and is involved in the development of attitudes and values which transcend barriers of race, class, religion, gender or politics.”
The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) was founded in 1968 in Switzerland by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to provide an internationally standardized curricula for the children of diplomats. It was funded with donations from UNESCO, the Ford Foundation, the Twentieth Century Fund (now the Century Foundation), and many national governments, including the U.S. government. The IBO operates as a nongovernmental organization (NGO) and maintains its ties with UNESCO. Today its base goes beyond the children of diplomats into schools worldwide.
Throughout the three International Baccalaureate (IB) worldwide regions, there are 4,527 schools, of which 1,745 are in the United States. Of the 5,865 worldwide programs, U.S. schools have 57.3 percent — 511 in the Primary Years Program, 632 in the Middle Years Program, and 893 in the Diploma Program. The students study a standardized IB curriculum taught by IB-trained teachers and take IB standardized tests scored by IB examiners or IB-monitored teachers. The programs are pricey, with application/candidacy fees per school that can range around $15,000, in addition to annual fees, student fees, assessment fees from $10-$89 for each test, and teacher training fees, plus expenses. Annual fees for U.S. schools in 2016-2017 vary per program:
- Diploma Program — $11,370
- Middle Years Program — $9,800
- Primary Years Program — $8,310
- Career-related Program* — $1,440 (for schools that offer the DP in conjunction)
An increasing number of U.S. parents are expressing concern over the U.N.-commissioned curriculum. In 2002 the IB Organization published “A Continuum of International Education,” that indicates the goal of IB to be not merely to impart knowledge but to develop “citizens of the world” with “universal human values.” Critics contend that the IB curriculum promotes denigration of Western national sovereignty, environmental extremism and promotion of the feminist agenda. A UNESCO report, “Worldwide Action in Education,” refers to a seamless education system “aimed at two essential goals” — socialization and training for a global workforce. Workforce training is now the goal of American public education rather than academics. Another controversial flap has been the past IB endorsement of the Earth Charter, which advocates the redistribution of wealth among and within nations, population-control policies, and military disarmament. Due to an outburst of public disapproval, the IB withdrew its endorsement.
IB has aligned its United States curricula with Common Core. This is yet another reason why school choice is gaining momentum across the nation.