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September 10, 2007


To:    U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor
        Comments on NCLB Discussion Draft
Submitted September 10, 2007
            The proposed changes to NCLB include major subsidies for the International Baccalaureate Programme [SEC. 108.  ADVANCED PLACEMENT AND INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE PROGRAMS] as well as incentivizing states to adopt national and international standards [SEC. 102, SEC. 1111A. POSTSECONDARY AND WORKPLACE READINESS].

        The Congress may think that the IB Programme and "national and international standards" refer primarily to student achievement. Such is not the case. IB standards and "national and international standards" refer primarily to curriculum, or "curriculum standards," not achievement standards.
            Let's start with the nature of "national standards." The sad fact of the matter is that the national standards are actually detrimental to student achievement. The national math standards, for example, are not about traditional math but actually focus on "integrated math," also known as "reform math" and accurately referred to as "fuzzy math."
            California was the first state to adopt the national math standards and did so 1992. California then saw its student achievement in math go into freefall until 1997 when the California Regents reversed itself and threw out reform math. The Regents discarded the national math standards because the standards, when actually applied in the classroom, were obviously having an overwhelmingly negative impact on student achievement.
            These are the same national math standards that Congress now wants to impose on all fifty states. (The national standards in the other academic areas are just as bad as the math standards. See my book, Fed Ed: The New National Curriculum and How Its Enforced, for documentation and detail.)
            International standards are even worse than the national standards. Once again, international education standards focus primarily on curriculum, not student achievement. The most completely developed international education standards are those articulated by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO).
            What are these international education standards? The IBO website states that its curriculum, including its standards, focus on the "beliefs and values" of IB. And what are the beliefs and value of IB?  Dr. Ian Hill, Deputy Director of International Baccalaureate Organization, said, "There seemed to be consensus that international education represents certain values such as those to be found in the various UN charters."
        Professor Jeff Thompson, University of Bath and IBO, at the UN conference titled, "The intellectual roots of the IBO and UNESCO," said that:  "UNESCO is a member of the United Nations family that has as its core texts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the many international conventions and declarations derived from it I suspect that those pioneers who created the IB would have subscribed to all that, and I imagine that those words still resonate with those of you who implement the IB and its associated programmes today."
            Hill and Thompson both described accurately the true nature of IB and international education standards--they center on curriculum standards which focus on the beliefs and values of the UN.
            Anyone familiar with basic American civics knows that the beliefs and values of the United States (the "American Creed") are very different from the beliefs and values of the UN. For example, the American creed includes limited government, God-given and inalienable rights to life, liberty and property, the right to keep and bear arms, protection from double jeopardy, separation of church and state and reserved powers for states and individuals.
            The UN creed, including the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, recognizes none of these basic rights and principles mentioned above. In addition, many aspects of the UN values system contained in its many treaties and accords, such as Kyoto, the Treaty on the Rights of the Child, the Law of the Sea treaty and the Earth Charter are directly antithetical to the American Creed.
        For these reason, international education standards and IB are decidedly un-American. Congress would be in grave error to subsidize them or force them on the 50 states and on the American public.  
Allen Quist for Edwatch

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952-361-4931 www.edwatch.org - edwatch@lakes.com

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