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Is International Baccalaureate anti-American?



Don Stephenson caused a minor uproar when he called International Baccalaureate "anti-American" as he announced his candidacy for Pasco County School Board.

Several readers took him to task in the comments section of another blog post here on the Gradebook.

"Your comments about IB are clearly uninformed, or at least the result of misinformation put out by an ultra-right-wing faction. This connection leads me to believe that you are anti-education," Land O'Lakes High teacher Pat Connolly wrote.

"As a proud parent of an IB student and the wife on an active duty Marine, I found your comments in this paper to be highly offensive," wrote a commenter who goes by Lifeisgreat. "I am not un-American for wanting my child to have a comprehensive, challenging education. I suggest you learn more about this valuable program before issuing ignorant statements."

Stephenson rose to the comments, reiterating and clarifying his position: "I think you'd have a pretty tough argument to make if you were to suggest that AP wasn't a challenging and comprehensive alternative. The only ignorant statements I'm seeing are from people blindly accepting curriculum that has a decidedly biased perspective that is contrary to the foundation of thier (sic) own nation."

The conversation (or should we call it an argument?) continued for several additional responses. One writer going by ThinkClearly suggested there might be a point in there: "I'm a firm believer in "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", but have you seen our County School's budget lately? IB is a very expensive program. If it can be replaced with a comparable (or even better) program at less cost, then why wouldn't we consider that?! If there is an anti-American sentiment to IB, then that's a reasonable side note as part of the broader solution."

Rather than let the debate stay buried within a post about nepotism policies, we decided to open it up. Is IB anti-American? Is it too expensive in a time of budget cuts? Is it a valuable, challenging curriculum for students up to the task? Let's hear it.

[Last modified: Friday, December 23, 2011 1:40pm]


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