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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 F: The broader implications of the attack

Extract

The implications for the IB It is now time to consider the broader implications. One issue that springs im- mediately to mind is that the continued growth of the IB will not occur without a dichotomy of opposition. That is, internal opposition (by educators concerned by growth) and external opposition (by conservative agencies disturbed by growth). The attack on the IB in America has revealed a political and sociologi- cal ‘limit’ to growth i.e. at some point in time greater growth in a country will lead to greater scrutiny and investigation. As asserted by McKenzie (2011 p.167): Influence is related in many ways to access…but it needs also to consider realistic limits and bounds. The notion that growth of the IB (in the US and elsewhere) has ‘limits’ has been voiced by some concerned educators, including this writer (see Bunnell, 2011b). However, the topic has not fully been discussed. The growth of the IB in its original (largely hidden, and modest sized) ‘international school’ habitat dis- turbed few people. As noted by Tarc (2009a p.24): Within the field of multinational international schools of the 1960s, the term ‘inter- national understanding’ is not contentious. But, the growth of the programmes in public schooling has raised a greater level of awareness and investigation. Here it is contentious and so the IB has been placed under greater scrutiny and attracted a wider lens of inquiry. In one re- spect, this is healthy and positive; the mission of the IB arguably requires access...

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