Friday, February 22, 2008

Plus, ridiculous paranoia about the UN infiltrating Bountiful and Provo

Next, hat tip to The Third Avenue where Oldenburg caught a Tribune article I had missed about state funding to support schools offering the International Baccalaureate degree. (Though, I disagree with his jab at public ed. quality in Utah.) Now, I am not a huge International Baccalaureate program devotee. It ensures a rigorous curriculum with critical thinking and international studies, including the requirement to learn a language. In my opinion, it's part fine program and part hoop to attain resume padding, as are most high school recognitions such as National Honor Society and the Sterling Scholar awards. I don't know if spending $300,000 to fund these programs is a good idea in light of other crucial funding needs.

But...that doesn't excuse parochial silliness:

Lawmakers decided against helping Utah schools pay for International Baccalaureate (IB) programs after one legislator called IB's philosophy "anti-American" today.
"I'm not opposed to understanding the world," Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, told members of the Senate Education Committee. "I'm opposed to the anti-American philosophy that's somehow woven into all the classes as they promote the U.N. [United Nations] agenda."

But ultimately, Dayton, Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, and Sen. Darin Peterson, R-Nephi, voted against it. Stephenson said only, "I'm not yet comfortable with this based on some of the input I've received."

Huh?! What "input" are you receiving from what sources? Anti-Americanism is "somehow woven" into classes at Provo, Skyline, and Bountiful High Schools? That would be news to the many parents who drive their kids miles to attend these programs. Have any of those three senators been to an IB school, let alone talked to an actual student in an IB program in a Utah school? I seriously would like to know who is putting these ideas in their heads to be promptly and blindly accepted as truth.

The concerns apparently come from articles such as this one from EdWatch. There's a more recent article that I can't individually link to. Go to EdWatch and click on the February 18 article about International Baccalaureate and notice all of the CD's and books being sold to conspiracists across the nation. To paraphrase for you: Every statement in every unrelated UN proposal or document (and I will grant that there are plenty of wacky/scary examples) is being propagated in IB classes because the mission statement talks about "understanding that other people can be right" and you are required to learn about international points of view. ... Wouldn't that be an incredibly useful and moral thing to learn rather than a scary assimilation agenda?

I challenge any interested party to attend an IB class at one of the schools participating in the program. Don't even give notice. Just be sure to actually listen to what is being taught and talk to the teachers and students. Ask them your bogey-UN-man questions, look at their curriculum, and see for yourself. As I said, these programs would probably not be my first spending priority either, but base your decisions on facts and observation rather than hearsay.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the information. I now Understand why Eagle Forum is so very opposed to the IB Program. The Universal Declaration of the United Nations proclaims:

"Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people".

Members of Utah Eagle Forum, especially, Cherilyn Eagar, have spoken out on the IB Program and now I see why. Eagar has spent most of her adult life working to prevent the ratification of the Equal Right Amendment and to prevent Gay and Lesbian Couples from having Equal Rights under the law. I can see why she does not want our students to be "indoctrinated in the virtues of Equal Rights",.

I actually agree with Cherilyn Eagar on certain points. The ratification of the ERA could have resulted in the draft of American women into the military, hence the ERA may not have been a good constitutional amendment for women.
I think we may be able to agree on that. But, dear Cherilyn and Margaret Dayton, we cannot "throw out the baby with the bath water". For example, nations such as Afghanistan refuse to allow girls to attend school. The illiteracy rate in Afghanistan for females is around 90%. Nations such as Afghanistan desperately need to incorporate the principles of "equal opportunity and equal rights". The poverty and illiteracy in Afghanistan seemed to breed terrorism, aimed directly at the United States. We can't just exclude ourselves from the rest of the world anymore.

Cherilyn Eagar, you are receiving many political endorsements from Utah Eagle Forum, a Forum which opposes the IB program. You cannot be objective in your talking points because you stand to lose these valuable political endorsements. Your opinion is not from an impartial, objective observer, but from a political candidate who runs for office with the full backing of Utah Eagle Forum and on a political platform of having fought against the ERA. You don't seem to be impartial.

Senator Margaret Dayton, sometimes you just seem to "parrot" the exact same talking points that I hear from Utah Eagle Forum. These talking points don't even originate in Utah, they came from
Eagle Forum President, Phyllis Schaffly. Margaret, please do your own research before you make judgments. As a mother, I want full-time kindergarten and better early childhood education and literacy programs. I want funding for that. I want to be heard. I also want programs such as IB, ELP and special education. If we have to cut spending, cut down on your "message bills" such as "Firearms Freedom Act".