By Margaret Dayton
Utah State Senator, District 15
IB Commenters - thanks to those of you who posted thoughtful insight on my last
blog. I appreciate you taking the time. I would like to respond with a few clarifying comments.
First, I have never espoused eliminating IB. This is a program that has been in some of our schools for years, which was a local decision into which the legislature did not insert itself. When the legislature was asked to put taxpayer money into IB, however, I did oppose it. Notwithstanding my opposition, IB has some taxpayer $$ allocated for student testing fees. Once state taxpayers foot the bill, the legislature has some oversight responsibility. Thus, my questions re: governance
2. I have been accused of not wanting our students to be world citizens. That is correct. At least, it is correct in the following sense: I don't want to create 'world citizens' nearly as much as I want to help cultivate American citizens
who function well in the world.
The IB program teaches a skeptical unattached philosophy of world citizenship. It does not try to instill cultural identity. It was built for a fairly transient group of students whose parents are employed abroad and who have no particular religious, national, or cultural loyalties. It is not governed by Americans.
From Dr. Nicholas Tate, Director of the International School of Geneva:
"In international schools there is no core body of historical and geographical knowledge, no literary canon, no obligatory cultural content whose transmission is a key purpose of the educational project as it has to be in a nation state. . . .In contrast
" … What distinguishes state schools, … whatever their student population, is that they must start from the basis that they are educating their students for life and future citizenship within the national community. They need to give priority to the national language … and to the history, literature and culture of the nation state of which they are an embodiment. This gives them a different mission from international schools."
Source: Dr. Nicholas Tate, “What Is Education For? The Purposes of Education and Their Implications for the School Curriculum,” International Baccalaureate Organization, The Alec Peterson Lecture, April 24, 2004, Geneva: 10. http://www.ibo.org/council/peterson/tate/
, local school districts teach local language, laws, and cultural content. They help students recognize a literary canon, a shared history & identity for citizenship in a real community. The districts are governed by local people, parents and elected leaders. To me, that is very important.
America is special. I believe our nation is unique and we have a concept to teach and offer the world. There is something very inspiring about political and economic freedom - about a republic of, by, and for the People.
And I think those characteristics should be taught. Highlighted. Celebrated.
Again, I don't want to create 'world citizens' nearly as much as I want to help cultivate American citizens who function well in the world.