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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 D: The complex nature of the attack


The philosophy of the attack The notion of ‘culture war’ The attack on the IB in the US is essentially part of an on-going battle between ‘traditionalists’ (e.g. state-supporting suburban conservatives) and ‘globalists’ (e.g. federal-supporting urban liberals) which has intensified over the past dec- ade in its educational format. This (geographical, social, and philosophical) ‘di- vide’ is exemplified in the attack on the IB by Shenandoah (2004), writing in The American Partisan, with the confrontational title: ‘Traditionalists versus Globalists: The War is on’. Shenandoah seemingly draws the dividing line well when saying: While the conservative, right wing, traditionalists and the liberal, far left, socialist, globalists continue to battle it out in the media, the UN directives continue to un- dermine the sovereignty of the US in every area of our lives. (http://www.american- In other words, the attack on the IB in the US is as much an anti-globalist (i.e. anti-liberals) one as it is an anti-globalization (i.e. anti-UN) one. In this sense, it is partly an attack by Americans on fellow Americans. It is this aspect of the at- tack that probably comes as the biggest shock to many ‘non-Americans’. One commentator (Hughes, 1993) has even called for the ‘reknitting’ of a dangerous- ly fragmented America, attacking the tribalism of both the ‘traditionalists’ and the ‘globalists’. It is significant to note that Shenandoah was writing in 2004, just as the at- tack on the IB had intensified following the first batch of federal funding (in 2003), and the...

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