Newsflash: My evil education

Checking through my Hotmail account for the first time in a long while, I found a load of old emails from a discussion group of people I went to 6th Form with (sorry guys, long time no see!), one of which pointed me towards this article from the Guardian:

A US school district has banned the International Baccalaureate after officials condemned it as “un-American” and Marxist, sparking outrage among pupils who are studying the increasingly popular diploma.

A brief note: I went to an international 6th Form college that offered the International Baccalaureate. This was pure luck – it was the closest local school to us, which just happened to be the only comprehensive which offered the IB. If we hadn’t moved to Cambridge, I probably wouldn’t have heard of the course, much less have taken it. As it happened, studying the IB was one of the best decisions I’ve made so far.

I took seven subjects (English, French, History, Spanish, Japanese, Maths and Environmental Systems), in addition to a theory of knowledge (philosophy) course and a paper on a topic of our own choosing. I studied with people from all over the world, making friends and learning about the differences and similarities between our cultures. In fact, I think that’s why I’ve enjoyed being at Kansai Gaidai so much – because it recreates the international atmosphere that I loved so much in my 6th Form, and I couldn’t find in my first year at Leeds. In addition to that, it taught me the basics of indepedant study, how to do your own research and present your findings. When I got to university I was astonished to find that there were people who still hadn’t been taught how to do this – for me it was second nature.

Anyway, now I’ve given you my side, you can see the opposing view It’s mostly a rant on how the IBO’s support for the UN and something called the “Earth Charter” (which I never heard of during my time doing the IB) undermines American sovereignty. It’s the editor’s comments at the end, however, that make that piece what it is:

This socialist-tyrannical indoctrination for the New World Order must be stopped, if we are to preserve the Good America that still remains … It can be done, dear Patriot!

The Guardian has more on the school board’s motives:

Most of the complaints emphasise the IB’s teaching of a theory of knowledge course on philosophy and ethics, and that it offers subjects such as environmental systems, technology and social change, peace and conflict studies and experimental science, with an international flavour, alongside the “drier” subjects such as English, maths, history, geography, physics, chemistry, biology and foreign languages, that stir less debate, but are actually a much larger part of the core curriculum.

Now this is interesting. What seems to be the problem here is the teaching of philosophy, ethics and other subjects that encourage students to think for themselves. This is a trend that’s been seen a lot in US education lately (the British education system deserves its own rant on this subject). The hypocrisy of this is astounding. Teaching creationism is pushed on the grounds of “giving students access to both side of the issue” but an internationalist outlook is treated as some kind of Red peril. As somebody who’s seen (and recieved) the benefits of such an education, I’m very angry that small-minded nationalistic sentiment is depriving others of the opportunity I had. I stand with President Bush on this issue.

Yeah, you heard me:

Despite his disdain for the UN, the Kyoto protocol, the International Criminal Court and many other international institutions, Bush specifically called, in this year’s state of the union address in January, for expansion of the IB programme.

In the meantime, be sure to check under your bed for me or any of my other former classmates. You never know where a evil socialist-tyrannical nutcase like me could be hiding.

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