IB Program Terminated in Idaho School District: Accused of Spreading Anti-American Ideology

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) offers high quality programmes of international education to a worldwide community of schools. There are more than 900,000 IB students in over 140 countries.


The International Baccalaureate® (IB) program—which is growing rapidly across U.S. school districts but sparking occasional pushback— will no longer be offered at an Idaho high school after the school board voted 4-0 for its removal.

Coeur d’Alene High School

The action last week by the Coeur d’Alene district comes two years after protesters in the area began making their case, arguing that the program was spreading an anti-American ideology in public schools.

** (IB officials and supporters of the widely praised diploma program for juniors and seniors insist such criticisms are patently false.)

** IB Diploma Students are well prepared for the demands of higher education, according to OFQUAL’s latest report.

John Claughton, Chief Master, King Edward’s School, Birmingham, says: “At King Edward’s School we made the decision to move to a solely IB Diploma curriculum because we believed that it would provide a really challenging education and would be the best preparation for university study. Our pupils have not only maintained a greater breadth of study and exploration but also learnt vital skills of communication, analysis, enquiry and organisation. We believe strongly that this will give them a much greater chance of success at university and beyond.”

Download the full international comparability report from the OFQUAL website
IB Program Ousted in Idaho School District

Some of those concerns were reiterated by critics before the board voted last week, but that’s not the rationale offered by the board’s chairman. A story in the Coeur d’Alene Press newspaper said the official, Tom Hamilton, cited limited enrollment, overall test scores, and the cost of the program as among the reasons for phasing out the IB.

“I’m not a believer in choice at any cost. I fully support choice when it can be proven effective, and when the cost is reasonable when compared to the value gained,” he said, according to the newspaper. “After the number of years that we’ve had the IB program, I cannot say that IB is successful by these measurable standards.”

Since 2004, the district has spent $1.35 million on the IB program, the newspaper said.

As I noted in a recent EdWeek story, the IB program is fast becoming more widespread in U.S. public schools. In fact, its presence may well expand still more rapidly as the international organization just this fall is rolling out a new career-related certificate program for high schoolers. (IB also offers primary and middle-years programs.)

CPS students in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program were 40 percent more likely to attend a four-year college, and 50 percent more likely to attend a more selective college, according to a UChicago study.

A recent study out from researchers at the University of Chicago showed promising results for the IB diploma program in that city. It found that participating students were more likely both to attend and persist in college. Of the students studied, about three-quarters were African-American or Latino, and about the same percentage were from low-income families. Most were first-generation college students.

Idaho is not the only place where the program has come under fire. In New Hampshire earlier this year, the state House passed a bill that would have prevented schools from adopting the IB program.

Chief complaints were that the program indoctrinates students to be “world citizens” and infringes on local control.

The House bill was soundly rejected by the state Senate, however.

The IB diploma program does bring a decidedly global perspective to education, with a mission statement aspiring to “develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.”

In Coeur d’Alene, some teachers pleaded to the board to keep the program.

This program is an exceptional education system. It is the best I’ve encountered,” said Derek Kohles, a 20-year educator who has taught AP classes and now teaches IB courses, according to the Coeur d’Alene Press story.

The program will be completely phased out by 2014-15.

The IB primary program is still offered in a local elementary school, though the article suggests this may well be targeted by the board for elimination.

An editorial published by the Coeur d’Alene Press one week before the board’s action expressed mixed feelings about the situation.

It made clear that criticism of the program as anti-American was misguided and unhelpful.

“Since a group of citizens just this side of the John Birch Society took lethal aim at IB, worried that the globally acclaimed program for accelerated learners was actually scholastic subterfuge behind which commies and atheists and Cub fans lurked, its life in North Idaho was limited,” the editorial says.

At the same time, the newspaper’s editorial board raised concerns about the costs and disappointing enrollment figures for the program. “No matter how good a product is,” it said, “if consumers aren’t buying it, it’s doomed. And it should be.”

Erik Robelen

EdWeek.org – By Erik Robelen


Teaching Academic Writing

At most universities world-wide, future EFL teachers are required to write in an academic style. Essays, research papers, and theses are examples of the most important academic writing that the student-teacher (hereafter ST) does. Furthermore, when they become EFL teachers, it is quite possible that they will teach students wishing to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels. However, there are few published, experiential accounts of how future EFL teachers are taught to do academic writing. In this article, I will attempt to fill that gap by sharing an account of an integrated, genre-based/process-writing experience in the Chilean context.

Click on the link below to get Teaching Academic Writing:



The International Baccalaureate [Kindle Edition]

The International Baccalaureate [Paperback]

The global search for high-quality education, embedded in high-performing education systems, has taken on mythical proportions, almost resembling the alchemists’ quest to turn common metals into gold.

It is my hope that the present day search for global education, equitable and providing equality of opportunity for all, shall not cease until the “gold” we seek, has been found.

I therefore dedicate this book to all the educators, researchers, parents and students the world over, who strive to achieve this elusive goal,high-quality education for all the citizens of the world.

In this endeavour, it is my belief that the International Baccalaureate merits a closer look, based on their more than 40 year history of delivering consistently excellent results.

I add that all of the reflections and views in this book are mine alone, unless otherwise noted, and can not be attributed to my employer or any other organization I am affiliated with, past or present. For any errors or oversights, I bear the complete responsibility.


Amazon Author Page: Thomas Jerome Baker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He is the Head of the English Department at Colegio Internacional SEK in Santiago, Chile.

He is the Co-Founder and Co-Organiser of EdCamp Santiago, free, participant-driven, democratic, conversation based professional development for teachers, by teachers. EdCamp Santiago 2012 was held at Universidad Mayor in Santiago.

Thomas is also a member of the Advisory Board for the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL), where he also serves as a reviewer and as the HETL Ambassador for Chile.

Thomas enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. Thus far, he has written the following genres: romance, historical fiction, autobiographical, sports history/biography, and English Language Teaching. He has published a total of forty four (44) books overall.

The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family, his wife Gabriela, and his son, Thomas Jerome Baker, Jr.



About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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