Thursday, November 10, 2005

You're going to have to give me a bigger clue 

Because I write sometimes about education in Minnesota the folks at EdWatch email me their press releases. Some of them I agree with, some I don't, and a few make me scratch my head. Enter this in the last category:

...many school districts are now quietly adopting IB because federal grant money is available to offset some of the costs. State legislatures are also passing funding measures to offset the additional IB costs. Taxpayers always pay the extra cost, however, regardless of which pot it is taken from. Please discuss these issues with other parents, your local school boards, and legislators.

Talking points include the fact that IB curriculum is set by an international body. Student tests are forwarded to Geneva, Switzerland for scoring, and a foreign data base collects and stores the personal, values-laden data on individual American students. IB is an outrageous violation of local control. It also teaches the value of global citizenship.

Here's the press release they attached from some other group that gives us the talking points. I'm supposed to be worried that we are sending exams to Geneva? Local control doesn't seem to me to preclude "contracting out" for some services like standardized testing. I am not seeing what the issue is.

I should also note that Minnesota has just passed a law that requires MnSCU to accept IB for college credit. This is a concern for us in that we don't yet know what those courses cover, and whether the credits will apply to particular courses. Can you use this, for example, to substitute for an American Government class that starts the Political Science major?