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Global Education Under Attack

International Baccalaureate in America

Tristan Bunnell

The three main programmes of the Geneva-registered International Baccalaureate (IB) have grown enormously since the 1990s and have seemingly found their ‘home’ in the United States. However, the IB has provoked opposition, initially from concerned parents, and lately by conservative agencies. This book charts the growth of the IB in America and offers a set of frameworks for conceptualizing the history and nature of this attack. It explores the distinctly paleo-conservative philosophy behind this attack, and reveals the influence of the American historian Russell Kirk, alongside Edmund Burke. The book examines the notion that the IB is un-American, and concludes that for some people in America global education is fundamentally unnatural and must be resisted.


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Part C: The historical context of the attack


The history of the IB explored The ‘birth’ of the IB The history of the IB has been explored much recently (especially by Ian Hill, 2010, within a compendium of 14 articles that had appeared in the International Schools Journal) but it is still worth recalling as it sets the scene for understand- ing the attack on the IB in the US as a ‘UN-inspired’ and ‘European-devised’ set of programmes. In particular, the idealistic and UNESCO origins of the IBDP ‘project’ probably need re-stating as this aspect appears to have become the most ‘problematic’ with regard to its growth in the US. It is also worth stating that the IB from ‘birth’, like any ‘child’, was focused primarily on its own sur- vival. There was no guarantee that the IBDP ‘project’ would take-off within schools, and thus no guarantee of financial stability beyond the initial funding. The period until 1976, and beyond, was therefore one beset by financial con- cerns and seeking university recognition (a task still in progress in parts of the US). The point being made here is that the IBDP in its earliest years posed little ‘threat’ and presented a very small face to the outside world. It is only relatively recently that the IB ‘brand’ has emerged on the global stage within the context of having a more confident and assertive presence. In fact, the IB did not attempt to create a truly global brand presence until 2001, followed by a re-branding ex- ercise in 2007;...

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