105 Peavey Rd, Suite 116, Chaska, MN 55318
952-361-4931 www.edwatch.org - edwatch@lakes.com

April 19, 2006


South St. Paul cuts programs/personnel
to fund International Baccalaureate

The South St. Paul (SSP) school district introduced its new International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum to K-6 students this year, bragging last month that theirs is the first district in the state to offer IB for all students. Adding the Primary Years Program (grades K-6) and the Middle Years Program (grades 7-10) implements a K-12 IB curriculum for all students in SSP.

International Baccalaureate is expensive. Conservative estimates in MInnetonka, for example, indicated an additional $1,300 per student to offer IB, costing over six times the amount to implement Advanced Placement classes. Still, the SSP District stated on March 3rd that their "International Baccalaureate program is fiscally sound."

Less than five weeks later, however, the School board announced financial woes and the need to cut other programs and positions.  (" SSP District 6 to consider program, personnel cuts") It is "still unknown as to how much would need to be cut," according to the Sun Newspaper. Superintendent Babbitt blamed two years of no state funding increases, though voters approved a 2004 referendum, and state aid for this year and the next was increased by 4%. "Babbitt said the district has still yet to recover from the freeze."

SSP taxpayers should ask district officials why they are expanding an excessively expensive and controversial international education program while they're "recovering" from a freeze, increasing local taxes through a referendum, and cutting programs and positions. Local taxpayers should recommend cutting IB, an anti-American curriculum, instead of other programs.

IB is run by a non-governmental organization called the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1996 IBO formed a partnership with the UN to create what they both call an international education system. 

IB is education for global citizenship. Dr. Ian Hill, Deputy Director of IBO, has said, for example, that the goal of IBO is the promotion of world citizenship. EdWatch has pointed out that either United States citizenship or world citizenship must have priority in our education program. Which will it be?  IB gives priority to world citizenship.

In SSP, for example, instead of focusing their time on America's Civil War, fifth-graders will study internal conflicts "around the world" and find "common cause" between all of these civil conflicts. Now there's a hefty dissertation for 9-year-olds. Exactly how independent will this investigation for fifth-graders be? Kate McCarthy, who coordinates the program, wants kids to "find connections." How much Civil War history will be sacrificed to draw "connections" between our American and worldwide civil wars?

Minnesota's elementary history standards, passed by the 2004 legislature, include the Civil War. During the state standards' development process, those pushing for content-rich expectations were ridiculed by the education status quo for unrealistic expectations, saying the lists of subjects to be covered were too "broad and expansive." "There's no time in the school day to include all of that material," was the refrain. At the same time, the chairman of the Moorhead school board didn't see "enough teaching on the problems capitalism has caused in the world." 

When it comes to teaching global citizenship that undermines American citizenship, as IB does, time and money appear to be no obstacle.

105 Peavey Rd, Suite 116, Chaska, MN 55318
952-361-4931 www.edwatch.org - edwatch@lakes.com

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