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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 E: Conclusions about the attack


The IB is seen as ‘un-American’ A key theme of the paleo-conservative attack is the notion that the IB promotes ‘universal’ values, which undermine ‘American’ ones. DeWeese (2004) attacked the ‘code words’ of the IB e.g. critical-thinking, social justice, and human rights. Some commentators identify this as the ‘vocabulary’ of ‘global education’ (e.g. Walker, 2002). This vocabulary can certainly be identified within ‘IB World Schools’ after the 10-point Learner Profile was unveiled, stating the core univer- sal ‘outcomes’ that the programmes should offer. Quist (2006a) uses these ‘code words’ as evidence that the IB is un-Constitutional, and therefore fundamentally (and legally) ‘un-American’. This development was noticed by Tarc (2009a p.3) when stating that: With a more fringe Right in the US, there is even a polemic that the IB promotes so- cialism and is un-American. As can be seen throughout this book, the term ‘un-American’ is a common ob- jection (alongside ‘anti-American’) made about the IB and this issue in particu- lar requires further academic clarification and understanding. This writer does not profess to be an expert on the American Constitution and this is one area where such a person could contribute to the topic. One understanding of the is- sue is offered by Micklethwait and Wooldridge (2004 p.353) when they made the point that: The fundamental fact about American conservatism is not just that it is conservative but that it is American (italics in the original version). In other words, we should maybe expect that the conservative attack on...

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