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It appears that Coeur d'Alene School Board Chairman Tom Hamilton and Trustee Terri Seymour signed an online petition against the International Baccalaureate program on Aug. 8 of this year, only days before voting to phase the program out of Coeur d'Alene schools. The anti-IB petition has been circulating for years. The petition and its wording, with addendum, can be found here. Hamilton and Seymour were part of a unanimous 4-0 vote Aug. 13 to phase out the IB program at Lake City High. The two could vote tonight to end the elementary school equivalent of the IB program, Primary Years Programme, at Hayden Meadows. The addendum of the online petition states, ”
We, the undersigned, request Federal legislation to prohibit the expenditure of U.S. taxdollars (income and/or property taxes)on UNESCO and any of its affiliates, in particular, the International Baccalaureate Organization (IB) and IB's programs as they pertain to U.S. public schools. We believe that IB programs are unduly expensive, foster anti-American sentiment and seek to indoctrinate American youth in order to devalue their American citizenship and undermine our sovereignty as a nation in favor of global citizenry. Public schools should be apolitical.
- On signature page 2, #68 & 69 is signed by Aileen and Duncan Koler on May 24, 2010
- On Page 20: #992 Brent Regan, and #994 Tom Hamilton signed on Aug. 8, 2012
- On Page 21: #1007 Terri Seymour signed on Aug. 8, 2012
- Local Anti-tax activist Sharon Culbreth signed at #1019. Her post included the following comment: “This is America, we do not need socialism and $ sent to other countries. We need to educate our children, improvement yes, not socialism.
On the Citizens for a Positive Coeur d'Alene Facebook wall, someone has posted a comment made by Hayden Meadows teacher Courtney Greene:
I want to make clear, as an IB teacher, a patron of this district, and a citizen of the community that there are things I will not tolerate. There is an absolute truth in my eyes. I teach my kids, both in my classroom and at my dinner table, that if they see injustice in the world they should act. They do every day. They do not tolerate bullying of their classmates. They do not tolerate mediocrity. They diligently work for causes; from helping the hungry with food drives to volunteering to read to younger children, because they will not tolerate hunger or illiteracy.
Time may be running out for the controversial Primary Years Programme at Hayden Meadows Elementary School, despite support shown at recent school board meetings by parents and educators who laud the program. “My children have blossomed and thrived … We just came here in January and the difference that I have seen in each one of my children is remarkable,” said parent Ashlie Unruh, speaking to district trustees at the Sept. 10 school board meeting. Unruh was among several parents who testified at the meeting, expressing concern about the future of the district's “schools of choice,” especially PYP at Hayden Meadows. Dozens of other parents observed the meeting, many showing their support by wearing pro-PYP T-shirts/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Shawn Gust Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Josh Helwich, a fifth grade student at Hayden Meadows Elementary School, listens to a high school mentor Tuesday during his core math class)
Question: Is School Board Chairman Tom Hamilton saying that the board has decided to rush this through rather than take a measured approach to the Primary Years Programme because unnamed families feel intimidated by the popular support for the program? Really?
I am writing in protest of the school board’s decision to end the International Baccalaureate program at Lake City High School. As a sophomore currently enrolled there, this affects me personally. When I transferred from Charter last year I was eager to cultivate my education and take new challenging classes such as Debate, Orchestra, Spanish, and IB courses. With block schedule I now had those opportunities. The end of the IB program reduces my choices in education and increases the chances to lose block schedule, since IB was the main obstacle for opponents of it. In district budget cuts I notice the first things to go are the advanced programs, yet, programs for the mediocre, falling behind, KTEC students, and athletes continue to thrive. In 2009 the budget for athletics alone was $1.47 million. That is more than we have spent on IB overall/Willow Smith, Coeur d'Alene Press letter to the editor. More here.
Question: Doesn't Willow know that the School Board has saved her from being indoctrinated by United Nations propaganda?
On the new Citizens for a Positive Coeur d'Alene, Eden Irgens sounds the warning call re: the Coeur d'Alene School Board: “Our school board of trustees voted out IB last night. What other items may be on their target list? Trustee Ann Seddon was adamant that the new Sorensen principal not be officially hired without board approval. Could Sorensen be next on the list? Sorensen has proven results and amazing test scores, so if it IS on the list — why? It's very important that parents with kids in school, or who will be attending school in the future, become knowledgeable and involved in this ultra important element of our community. The best public school system is something we must all demand - and there have been rumors and discussions about what the true goals are for this school board.
- Originally posted at 8:26 p.m. Monday
- Press story: Coeur d'Alene School Board ends IB program/Maureen Dolan
A controversial advanced learning program for high school students will be pulled from the Coeur d’Alene School District. The school board voted 4-0 Monday night to end the district’s affiliation with International Baccalaureate, an optional course of rigorous study intended to give students a deeper understanding of world affairs and help them prepare for college. IB classes ranging from chemistry to Chinese language to art and music will be eliminated at Lake City High School after juniors and seniors currently enrolled complete their studies. Board members said the IB program falls short in its enrollment, test scores, available college credit and costs. The Advance Placement program at Coeur d’Alene High School is a better value, several said/Scott Maben, SR. More here.
- Also, the Coeur d'Alene School Board received only one application for the Zone 5 vacancy — a person from Zone 2 who is not eligible for the position by virtue of residency.
Question: So did the Coeur d'Alene School Board stop the all-out assault by the United Nations to indoctrinate Coeur d'Alene school children?
A Web site called Truth About IB (International Baccalaureate) is already celebrating the demise of the controversial program and applauding the role of school activist Duncan Koler and his wife in bringing about its expected demise: “Bit by bit (the Kolers) : “Bit by bit, they chiseled away at the denial by CDA that there was any sort of problem with IB … Or that taxpayer money might be better spent elsewhere (like a gym membership). They withdrew their children in order to homeschool. They wrote LTE's. They protested and attended Board meetings. And ultimately, they helped get a Board majority elected that it appears will write IB's epitaph in CDA.” Truth About IP is recommending that the School Board halt any further spending on IB teacher training or IB materials when it meets tonight. Full Truth About IB post here.
Question: What will be the School Board's new target, if/when it does away with IB?
Fans of the Coeur d'Alene School District's International Baccalaureate program, that sure does sound like taps in the background. Since a group of citizens just this side of the John Birch Society took lethal aim at IB, worried that the globally acclaimed program for accelerated learners was actually scholastic subterfuge behind which commies and atheists and Cubs fans lurked, its life in North Idaho was limited. First IB was cut from two high schools to one. Now it is up before the district's Board of Trustees for execution. Our defense of the program is strong but not boundless. The curriculum itself is outstanding. Top educators across the nation agree that teaching our children to think critically is as vital a mission as any, and IB excels at that. Its Theory of Knowledge class is without peer in North Idaho. But the IB curriculum is challenging enough to scare away many students, and in the final analysis it is only going to be as valuable as its teachers and students make it/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here. (Coeur d'Alene School District photo: James Purtee, an appointed trustee who opposes IB)
Question: Are you going to miss International Baccalaureate?
Missoula County Public Schools district trustee Larry Foust, not a year into his term, abruptly quit the school board Tuesday evening, leaving board members with their jaws hanging open. Foust, a recently retired 37-year MCPS teacher, resigned after reading a short letter he had written for the special board meeting, called to approve the ballot language for the upcoming May school trustee elections and to discuss the budget. Foust, reached at home, said he has been increasingly frustrated at being asked to approve school direction and policies enacted before he began to serve last May – particularly the International Baccalaureate Program, an academically elite program that will open next year at Hellgate High School. “We should be concentrating on educating the ‘unwashed masses,’ the kids who don’t have all the nurturing,” he said. “All the kids who need a good, basic education”/Jamie Kelly, Missoulian. More here.
Question: Sounds like this guy is attacking the International Baccaulaureate program from the opposite side that Coeur d'Alene School District patron Duncan Koler is. What say you?
When Hellgate High School opens its doors next fall, nearly 100 students will begin a course of study that will test their minds in a way they’ve never been tested before. Similarly, the debut of the International Baccalaureate Programme – commonly known as IB – will test the Missoula County Public Schools district’s commitment to leading education in a different direction. Hellgate will be only the second high school in the state to have adopted IB and its rigorous, two-year education, testing and assessment model. Flathead High School was the first in 2004 and began handing out IB diplomas in 2006. (The private Missoula International School is also an IB school in the Primary Years Programme)/Jamie Kelley, Missoulian. More here.
Question: Are you an IB supporter?
Duncan Koler (pictured), an outspoken opponent of the Coeur d'Alene School District's International Baccalaureate program, reacted strongly to recent Press stories criticizing his positions, including opposition to school social programs. Fumes Koler: “Unfortunately, this is not the first time our Press has abandoned journalistic ethics (an oxymoron?) to feature false, defamatory attacks dressed up as 'news.'” Then this: “Mike Patrick’s editorial ran online on 1/14, and in print as his lead editorial on 1/15. First the title: 'Empty stomachs, vacant hearts.' Are you kidding me? (I considered titling this My Turn “Bleeding hearts, empty heads,” but decided that would only be half-true.)” Later, Koler says: “I accurately used the term 'social services bureaucracy' to describe the vast scope of undertaking by our school district. I also impliedly questioned whether combining education and social services responsibilities was the best way to deliver both education and the necessary social services, stating, 'I’m not sure that’s how I would do it, but that’s a fact about what our education system is today.' I did not state that needy children should go hungry or otherwise be deprived of necessary support.” More here.
Question: Doth Koler protesteth too much?
I attended the “Community Chat” on Sept. 26, which became a pep rally staged by IB teachers and students. I listened to a host of IB students speak emotionally about how much IB means to them. There is no doubt that these students are bright, but IB didn't make them that way. In fact, when confronted with the very poor IB exam scores and resulting lack of college credits for IB courses taken, the best “critical thinking” response both IB teachers and students could muster was, “we're not in it for the grades or the college credits.” IB students and teachers resist any effort to objectively measure the academic success of IB. Instead, it's all about how they “feel” about the program. Grades don't matter. College credits don't matter/Duncan Koler, letter to Coeur d'Alene Press editor. More here.
Question: Do you agree with Duncan Koler re: International Baccalaureate program?
Mike Patrick, writing for the Coeur d'Alene Press editorial board, nailed it Sunday when he wrote that the controversial International Baccalaureate program deserves scrutiny but not dismantling: “We believe IB has been an important option for ambitious students, but we agree with critics that the program should be scrutinized to ensure its delivery and results are meeting expectations. If those expectations are not being met, that doesn't necessarily merit flushing the program down the educational toilet. Enough students and parents have raved about IB classes that the district should be compelled to figure out how the program could be improved before it seriously considers dropping it.” Also, he's right when he sez that critics who are attacking the program for political or religious reasons should be ignored. Full editorial here.
Question: Do you agree with Coeur d'Alene Press position that the International Baccalaureate program should be jettisoned only if its proven that the program isn't passing muster?
Christa Hazel followed a report re: the IB (International Baccalaureate) meeting last night: “I am disappointed that there are so many community members not ashamed to be openly rude and it seemed to fall on one side. Some people barked at the speakers when they couldn't hear or the speakers were too loud. One older man interrupted a lady who was speaking about IB teachers like Mr. Ruskovich and asked why Mr. Ruskovich sends his kids to Charter Academy. Mr. Ruskovich, from the audience, re-directed the attention by stating, “Why don't you ask me that question, Sir.” As an audience member, it was difficult to hear all of the speakers because of the side conversations in the audience. One man kept muttering “this is bull****” and kept raising his hand as though he wanted to question each speaker.” Full meeting report here. (Christa Hazel photo: Debbie Morris addressing Wanda Quinn. Matt Handelmann, assistant Superintendent is seated next to Wanda.)
Question: I noticed this same phenomenon during the final meeting on proposed McEuen Field changes — older adult people in the audience acting like 2-year-olds when they didn't agree with something being said. Why are people in this town so disrespectful in public settings when they disagree with something?
Christie Wood: Mr. Hamilton I was on the Board when the decision was made to offer IB. I also worked along side your Board Chair Wanda Quinn for many years to become a school district that did offer as many different opportunities for learning as possible. With that in mind there are often grant opportunities that our district has utilized in the past to fund various programs. Have you or the administration researched the possibility of continuing the programs with grant funding? If funds were made available would you support the continuation of both programs?
DFO: Since the comment ended with a question pointed at Coeur d'Alene Trustee Tom Hamilton, I'll leave this for him to answer rather than post a question of my own.
A Coeur d'Alene Press story Wednesday reported that the school district had concerns about the performance of students in the International Baccalaureate and advanced placement programs at the Coeur d'Alene high schools. Trustee Tom Hamilton discussed this with a handful of us hung around after the 2011 Hucks Fallfest with Addy & Geoff ended. I noticed he's discussing the topic with Press commenters in a lengthy thread from the article above. He comments: “While there are differences in the approach taken, both programs are designed to challenge advanced learners. Students who will succeed in an IB program will also be successful in an AP program. However, the IB v. AP issue has been argued from ideology and emotion by BOTH sides of the debate and not from a true evaluation of the performance and cost of the program. For this reason, I have asked that the district make available to the public a complete picture of the program which should include academic performance, the true costs of both programs, enrollment numbers, trends, historical and on-going fees / costs, etc.” Tom's full comment at 8:06 Wednesday here.
Question: Do you consider the International Baccalaureate program in local high schools to be valuable?
COEUR d’ALENE - The findings of a task force formed in the wake of public controversy regarding the Coeur d’Alene School District’s International Baccalaureate programs were presented Monday to trustees.
“The board distilled all of the input from various constituents within the last few months,” said Superintendent Hazel Bauman. What board members came up with was a series of questions that needed to be answered, Bauman said. Maureen Donlan, Cda Press Full Story.
Will these findings quiet the controversy over the IB program?
Item: Washington Foundation donates $50K to Missoula International Baccalaureate Program/Michael Moore, Missoulian
More Info: The foundation gave the money to the school district to support development of an international baccalaureate program, which will be housed at Hellgate High School. The Washingtons have long had a soft spot for education, particularly the University of Montana. In fact, Halligan said Missoula’s school system is a top selling point when trying to lure people to Missoula. “It’s something that’s a very natural thing for us to support,” he said.
Question: Will controversy surround the International Baccalaureate program in Missoula as it has in the Coeur d’Alene School District?
- Monday Poll: 102 of 216 respondents (47.2%) said that the Coeur d’Alene School District shouldn’t be involved in the International Baccalaureate program. 98 of 216 respondents (45.4%) said the district should be involved in the program. 16 of 216 (7.4%) were undecided.
- Supreme Court Ruling: 89 of 114 respondents (78%) agreed with the U.S. Supreme Court decision Monday that “sexually dangerous” individuals can be kept locked up indefinitely. 22 of 114 respondents disagreed with the decision.
- Today’s Poll (in lefthand rail): Should Coroner Bob West have endorsed Deb Wilkey to succeed him?
Not for the first time we have protesters — this time in Idaho — trying to get the International Baccalaureate program tossed out of schools because, they say, it is, anti-American. Usually the most serious threat to the IB is its sort-of rival, the Advanced Placement program. But allegations that the international education program is not only anti-American but also Marxist and anti-Christian have led to controversies in recent years in several states, including Utah, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The program isn’t any of the things the protesters say it is. IB is a rigorous program for students ages 3 to 19, now in about 3,000 schools, in 139 countries, that teaches students to understand issues from an international perspective/Valerie Strauss, The Answer Sheet, Washington Post. More here.
H/T: Nick Adams
Question: Are you surprised that the local protest has caught the attention of the Washington Post?
Truth About IB: According to Channel 4 News, the district has spent $1.3 MILLION on IB. So Coeur d’Alene has a group of private IB lovers raising money to supplement its pet program? Are they an official 501(c)(3)? Any public accounting of the funds raised? Inquiring minds want to know. ;-) And: Btw, I love how the IB lovers here refer to Wikipedia as their source for information. Wikipedia is controlled by a group of left-wing control freaks who have no life outside of Wikipedia. It’s pathetic. And yes, I have been banned from editing there. ;-)
Question: At a time when school districts throughout Idaho are squeezing their budgets, does Truth About IB have a good point that $1.3M for the International Baccalaurate program is too expensive?
Item: Hayden Meadows students staying: No parents plan on moving kids after letter from school/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d’Alene Press
More Info: Pica said she has not received any complaints about PYP, and just one student has been withdrawn from the school because of the all-school, K-5 program. Hayden attorney Duncan Koler, one of the program’s most vocal local critics, removed his child from Hayden Meadows earlier this year because of PYP. Koler believes many of the parents sending their kids back to Hayden Meadows are doing it because they can’t afford not to.
Question: Am I the only one who thinks the anti-IB parents protests too much?
Christa Hazel said she was shocked to see a free full newspaper publication called “The Local Capitalist” which targets the District’s International Baccalaureate program. The paper was available at a local coffee shop. Quotes the Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy’s founding member, Dr. Bill Proser, the IB program is “left-wing baloney’ and “anti-capitalist”. According to this, Dr. Proser also states of the IB Program, “I think they believe in re-deistribution of wealth.” I’m curious if he, a learned man, has been misquoted. More from Christa.
Question: What do you make of this new development?
Item: Stakes rising in International Baccalaureate fight: Deputies called to keep an eye on program protest/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d’Alene Press
More Info: Public controversy regarding the International Baccalaureate Organization’s Primary Years Programme at Hayden Meadows Elementary School spilled into the street this week. Kootenai County Sheriff’s Lt. Stu Miller said his department responded Friday and Monday to a request from people at the Hayden Avenue school asking officers to do some extra patrolling in the area because there were people protesting the school’s IB program.
Question: What do you think the children at Hayden Meadows think of all this?
MamaJD (re: Patrons oppose International Baccalaureat program): I agree with Don: I think the USA is a pretty great country, too. BUT — I’m not angered to the point of action & protest over the fact that the United Nations is operating somewhere in the world. I don’t believe that Hayden Meadows is ground zero of indoctrination for a New World order. So I’m not frothing at the mouth over the UN but that shouldn’t equate to a one way ticket to live somewhere else, should it? And PS — the Pledge of Allegiance is still stated on a daily basis, the constitution is still studied, and kids at Hayden Meadows love their country.
Question: Do you think our schools do enough to teach American history and/or patriotism?
Nick Adams: The Maureen Dolan story in the Press about the opposition to the International Baccalaureate program in the CDA schools is pretty interesting reading. I’ll admit that I’m not familiar with the program and had no idea that some folks view it as an “indoctrination” program (evil UN ties). Is it not an elective/voluntary program? If so, I just don’t see the problem if some students want to take part in more globally-based curriculum—especially at the high school level. It also sounded like several of the folks there don’t actually have kids in the schools currently.
Question: Patrons voiced concern that the International Baccalaureate program is associated w/the United Nations and UNESCO and “indoctrination that promote anti-American principles and socialist theories, including global warming and redistribution of wealth and resources through community activism.” What do you make of those concerns?