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Monday, June 12, 2006

MSM Goes After Edwatch Conspiracy Theorists

The Rake Blog, Read Menace.

If you want our state to be the international subject of ridicule, like the cretins in Kansas who wanted to teach creationism, look no further than the cretins at EdWatch. They are out there and want inform all education by the jingoist and radical Christian agenda they're pushing. Now didn't we just get all upset when the Saudis were doing the same thing?


Still, a handful of conservative groups nationally have attacked IB as too "globally focused" and somehow anti-American.

That's absurd. Since when has being a brilliant, well-prepared student been comparable to treason? And in our increasingly global economy, what's wrong with exposing students to other cultures?

The well-regarded program started in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1968 to provide a high-quality education for children of diplomats that would be recognized in schools around the world. High school students pursuing an IB diploma study subjects from six groups: language, individuals and societies, math and computer science, the arts, experimental sciences and a second language (for most non-American students, that second language is English). The learning approach emphasizes self-motivation and has a community service requirement.

Among critics who want to banish the program is Minnesota's EdWatch, a conservative advocacy group. A recent Star Tribune news story about the popularity of the program also reviewed concerns from its local detractors. According to EdWatch leaders and its website, IB is "un-American" because it teaches global citizenship as a priority over American citizenship. They say the courses and teaching approach are too much like the once controversial and now replaced Profile of Learning standards because of its emphasis on projects, critical thinking and discovery learning. And they object to the fact that tests are reviewed and scored by educators around the world.

Minnesota's Department of Education did its own research about those complaints, then soundly rejected them. Department officials examined programs in South St. Paul, Minnetonka and St. Louis Park and found no evidence that students are somehow indoctrinated with any agenda. And, they said, the Profile comparison is wrong because IB participation is voluntary while the Profile was mandatory.

Edwatch claims that the Republican party passed a resolution opposing IB at the State Convention.

This year, the Minnesota GOP platform for the first time includes opposition to federal and state funding and district implementation of International Baccalaureate.

This resolution passed at the 6th District convention - the same convention that endorsed Michele Bachmann. I did not see this resolution on the resolutions committee report to the state convention. So I'd like to see Edwatch back up their claims.