Phi Beta Cons

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CNN reports that a school board in Pennsylvania has decided to reinstate its International Baccalaureate program, after axing the program just two months ago under a cloud of controversy:

[Originally,] Board members said they cut the program primarily to save money but cited a number of reasons, including the International Baccalaureate Organization’s relationship with the Earth Charter, a collection of global principles created in France in 2000.
Critics have said that the program’s multicultural themes promote values that conflict with traditional Judeo-Christian values, and some have said it smacks of Marxism because of the link to the Earth Charter.

EdWatch points out that the International Baccalaureate Organization has indeed publicly endorsed the Earth Charter, which is . . . well, exactly what you would expect out of “a collection of global principles created in France in 2000.” It urges us to:

–”Take action to avoid the possibility of serious or irreversible environmental harm even when scientific knowledge is incomplete or inconclusive.” [6a]

–”Ensure universal access to health care that fosters reproductive health and responsible reproduction.” [7e]

–”Promote the equitable distribution of wealth within nations and among nations.” [10a]

–”Require multinational corporations and international financial organizations to act transparently in the public good, and hold them accountable for the consequences of their activities.” [10d]

–”Demilitarize national security systems to the level of a non-provocative defense posture, and convert military resources to peaceful purposes, including ecological restoration.” [16c]

IB programs, of course, are not limited to Pennsylvania school systems but are spread widely across the country. The actual nature of IB courses probably varies dramatically from classroom to classroom and teacher to teacher, but, to the extent that an endorsement of the Earth Charter principles really is reflected in the IB curricula, what we have here is a K-12 version of the pathology that critics usually identify in institutions of higher education: raw political indoctrination masquerading as progressive, sophisticated education.

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