HB 1403 (2012, failed) to outlaw the International Baccalaureate program in NH

Docket (passed House, failed in Senate)

Title: (New Title) relative to providing pupils with curriculum and instruction regarding state and national sovereignty and establishing a committee to study the implementation of the International Baccalaureate program in New Hampshire.

COMMITTEE: Education

ANALYSIS This bill requires that school curriculum and instruction shall only meet school approval standards if such curriculum and instruction promotes state and national sovereignty and is not subject to the governance of a foreign body or organization. The bill also establishes a committee to study issues relating to the International Baccalaureate program in New Hampshire.

DNHPE Comment: This bill is particularly relevant to Merrimack Valley Regional School District, which is considering offering the IB option and Bedford High School, which has offered the International Baccalaureate option since 2008.  Here is the IB opponents' rap on the international baccalaureate.  Here's another.  And here

We'll collect IB opponents' quotes here as we come across them.

This isn't so much anti-public education as an expression of a small minded suspicion and fear about things foreign to our "American" way.  It is also another way to chip away at compulsory attendance - seeing the "government-run" schools as a source of beliefs alien to those with certain political beliefs. 

Here is a brief snippet of Rep. Greg Hill, who represents Merrimack Valley and is a co-sponsor of the bill, testifying on another bill.  He says that he's met with the school board 16 times and believes in local control.

Concord Monitor, 1/27/12:Legislation would let parents pull kids from school district

Here is a collection of links about the Merrimack debate.

From Wikipedia
Political objections to the IBDP in the United States have resulted in an attempt to eliminate it from a public school in Pittsburgh.[36][37] Some schools in the United States have eliminated the IBDP due to budgetary reasons and low student participation.[38][39] In Utah, funding for the IBDP was reduced from $300,000 to $100,000 after State Senator Margaret Dayton objected to the program, stating, "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."[40][41]


UL Editorial: The IB scare: Fearing foreigners, 5/3/12

posted May 3, 2012, 4:36 AM by Bill Duncan   [ updated May 3, 2012, 5:29 AM ]



The International Baccalaureate (IB) program grew out of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. So it must be a Commie plot to take over America.

So goes the thinking of a small group of conspiracy theorists who demand that New Hampshire ban the IB program from its schools. A small but vocal minority, they managed to spook the House into passing House Bill 1403 to accomplish that goal. The Senate ought to toss this ridiculous bill unanimously.

The IB program is used by two New Hampshire high schools: Bedford and private New Hampton. Bedford uses it as an advanced placement curriculum through which ambitious students can do higher-level academic work and better position themselves for college.

The program’s mission is “to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.” Ah, that sneaky Politburo, always trying to undermine capitalism by promoting peace and understanding. Bedford does not have fluoridated town water, so obviously the town had to achieve its Commie indoctrination via the IB program.

To thwart this Cominternled brainwashing, HB 1403 would ban any public school curriculum that is “subject to the governance of a foreign body or organization.” The mere use of the term “world school,” which the IB program uses, would be proof under the law that a curriculum is subject to foreign governance, and thus outlawed. Also banned would be any program under which curriculum disputes are subject to “any source of legal authority other than state or federal law.” Hmmm.

After years of struggle against teachers’ unions and their political allies, New Hampshire finally managed to allow students to obtain school credit for work done outside the classroom. Just as this policy is beginning to grant New Hampshire students access to virtually unlimited educational opportunities (something conservatives have long desired), along comes the New Hampshire House to propose that we prohibit our students from gaining credit for coursework offered by any organization based outside the United States.

Were HB 1403 to become law, New Hampshire students could get class credit for taking an art class at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, but not one at the Louvre, which offers summer courses.

They could get credit for taking economics at UNH-Manchester, but not at the London School of Economics, which offers courses to international students.

New Hampshire requires students to study their own history and culture. HB 1403 says that they may not learn about others if the course was designed by a “foreign” organization, even one that happens to be run by an American citizen and U.S. Naval Academy graduate, as the IB program is.

It may be well-intentioned but the bill is myopic and should not become law.

Mr. John R. White testifying to the Senate Education Committee on HB 1403, May 1, 2012

posted May 2, 2012, 5:42 PM by Bill Duncan

Mr. John R. White testifying to the Senate Education Committee on HB 1403, May 1, 2012

Sen. Ray White (R-Bedford) testifying on HB 1403 to the Senate Education Committee, May 1, 2012

posted May 2, 2012, 5:40 PM by Bill Duncan

Sen. Ray White (R-Bedford) testifying on HB 1403 to the Senate Education Committee, May 1, 2012

Don Graff, Chair, Bedford School Board, testifying to the Senate Education Committee on HB 1403, May 1, 2012

posted May 2, 2012, 5:36 PM by Bill Duncan

Don Graff, Chair, Bedford School Board, testifying to the Senate Education Committee on HB 1403, May 1, 2012

Curriculum Comes Under Scrutiny, NHPR, 5/1/12

posted May 2, 2012, 1:35 PM by Bill Duncan


Students from Bedford High School packed a Senate hearing to show their support for the International Baccalaureate program.

Bedford was the first school in the State to adopt IB, which supporters compare to rigorous Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

In March, the New Hampshire House overwhelmingly backed a measure that would effectively prohibit schools from using the controversial curriculum.

Michael Courtney, 17, argued the legislature should yield to local school boards on the issue.

“The IB program was chosen by the people of Bedford, scrutinized by the people of Bedford, voted upon and implemented by the people of Bedford, and it continues to be evaluated by the people of Bedford,” says Courtney.

But critics of IB say the courses have an anti-American slant, and that there is nothing local about the program.

“The IB organization is in Switzerland, and is controlled from there,” says Representative Ralph Boehm, a Republican from Litchfield.

“We are trying to make sure that your local school district is not governed by a foreign organization in a foreign country.”

The Senate is considering amending the bill to put a moratorium on new IB programs while a committee studies the issue.

'Local Control' Front and Center at Senate IB Hearing, Bedford Patch, Ryan O'Connor, 5/1/12

posted May 2, 2012, 3:57 AM by Bill Duncan


Supporters and opponents of International Baccalaureate turn out in force.

By Ryan O'Connor
Email the author
May 1, 2012

More than 100 current and former Bedford and Merrimack Valley students, teachers and parents filled two rooms and the hallway outside to have their voice heard concerning House Bill 1403, which would effectively kill the International Baccalaureate (IB) program in New Hampshire.

Since Bedford and Merrimack Valley are the lone school districts to implement the program (Bedford offers IB courses in grades 11 and 12, and MV provides courses throughout its grades), the vast majority of those who spoke resided in those respective areas.

.....go to the Link for the full article and comments.

International Baccalaureate: Bedford students say issue is local control, UL, 5/2/12

posted May 2, 2012, 3:46 AM by Bill Duncan


House Bill would threaten schools’ use of program.


State House Bureau

CONCORD — Bearing signs and stickers reading “Defeat HB 1403,” more than 100 students from Bedford High School filled a State House hearing room to capacity Tuesday to express their opposition to a bill targeting the school’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program. House Bill 1403 would prevent school districts from adopting curricula that “are subject to the governance of a foreign body or organization,” and it would establish a commission to study the IB program.

The House passed the bill in March. It’s now being considered by the Senate Education Committee.

Backers of the bill say IB, which was founded in Geneva, Switzerland in 1968, promotes an international ideology and is linked to the United Nations through the organization UNESCO.

“Do you want your children to be indoctrinated to be world citizens or do you want them to be residents of this state and this country,” asked bill sponsor Rep. Ralph Boehm, R-Litchfield.

Boehm said there were also concerns that school districts contracting with IB could run afoul of a U.S. law that bars any government aid to UNESCO due to its recent recognition of a Palestinian state. He said he’s contacted members of the state’s Congressional delegation for clarification on the issue.

According to IB’s website, the program has been recognized as a nongovernmental organization of UNESCO since 1970 and currently has the status of “formal consultative relations as a network” with UNESCO.

Supporters of the International Baccalaureate program, which is offered in two school districts in New Hampshire, Bedford and Merrimack Valley, dismissed some of the claims against IB as narrow-minded. But their primary concern was that HB 1403 violated the principle of local school board control.

“If you would want to strip and usurp the authority of a local school board ... then we need to come up with a new motto for our license plates than ‘Live Free or Die,’” said Bedford High junior Michael Courtney, one of the main organizers of a campaign against the bill that includes a YouTube video called “Save IB in NH.”

The local control issue is also a priority for Sen. Ray White, the Bedford Republican and self-described “libertarian conservative.”

“However you feel about IB personally — I’ve been adamant, curriculum decisions should be made at the local level,” he said.

Around 300 students participate in the IB program at Bedford High, which is offered as college preparatory track for juniors and seniors. Merrimack Valley started to use the curriculum this year in its five elementary schools.

At the high-school level, students can receive college credit for IB coursework.

The IB organization offers curricula for grades K-12 in more then 3,300 schools in 141 countries, with the goal of creating “a better world through intercultural understanding,” according to its website.

While opponents of the bill far outnumbered supporters at Tuesday’s hearing, Bedford resident David Murray said there were many parents who had concerns about the program.

“Any time you mention that this is a UN-supported organization, it tends to elicit sneers and snickers. I know that intimidates a lot of people from speaking out,” said Murray, who is the parent of a Bedford High student whom he said participated in the IB program and was “not impressed.”

School officials in Bedford testified that they had carefully reviewed all the claims made by IB critics and found them unfounded.

Superintendent Tim Mayes said IB teachers have considerable autonomy in assigning material and that the instruction does not “preempt study of U.S. history or civics,” which are required subjects.

Lorrie Carey, a member of the Merrimack Valley school board, said it decided to adopt the curriculum for its grade schools after three years of review and consideration.

The international focus was secondary to an educational approach that emphasizes dialogue and understanding, said Carey, who attended with her daughter. “I see a different language coming out of my child. She is thoughtful and caring. This is about problem-solving. It’s a different way of teaching students.”

The committee is expected to vote on the bill Friday.

An IB education: A choice worth having, Another view, UL, 5/1/12

posted May 1, 2012, 3:11 AM by Bill Duncan

Another View

Jeffrey Beard

An IB education: A choice worth having TODAY’S EDUCATORS and schools shoulder heavy responsibility to ensure that all students are taught the relevant, necessary skills that will serve them well as they negotiate success in a challenging and constantlychanging world. Addressing education concerns in New Hampshire, legislators have introduced House Bill 1403, which would require school curriculum and instruction to meet school approval standards only when the “curriculum and instruction promote state and national sovereignty ... not subject to the governance of a foreign body or organization.”

The bill aims to outlaw study related to the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, a rigorous education program founded in 1968 to develop students who are knowledgeable, critical thinkers, life-long learners, active leaders, and who understand and respect other cultures. If passed, the bill would eliminate IB as a school choice option in New Hampshire.

In the United States, IB programs are offered in 1,331 primary and secondary schools that span a thick slice of American life: public, private, magnet, charter, urban, suburban and rural schools.

To clarify: the IB is an independent, apolitical, nonprofit organization. The IB is not controlled by any ministry, government, or the United Nations. Nor does the IB own or operate any schools.

What the IB does is prepare students for life beyond high school graduation far more successfully than many competing education programs.

More than 1,000 U.S. universities actively recruit students who graduate from the IB Diploma Program (DP); many so value IB graduates that they waive freshman year completely to attract them. A recent study by the University of Chicago linked participation in the IB Diploma Program to college success, citing a higher likelihood of attendance at a university, better preparation for university studies once there, and a high likelihood of completing college studies in four years compared to non-IB Diploma students.

My own alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy, actively recruits IB graduates because they have proven themselves to be exemplary midshipmen; more prepared to assume the responsibilities of a naval officer as a result of their strong character, international-mindedness, critical thinking skills, and ability to make reasoned, ethical decisions.

Students in New Hampshire deserve a top-notch education. Those who are enrolled in the IB Diploma Program in Bedford and New Hampton are resolute about preserving their choice. Every day IB teachers in these schools help their students, New Hampshire’s future leaders, develop rigorous skills. The IB curriculum emphasizes understanding and respecting one’s own culture and values first, and then becoming cognizant of the values and cultures of the larger world in which we live. As Americans, we enjoy freedom of expression and tolerance for all as core ideals. An IB education promotes diversity of thought, opinion, background and viewpoint — not at the expense of an American identity, but in addition to it.


Jeffrey Beard is the director general of the International Baccalaureate Organization.

You don't have to be an MV parent to care: IB fight affects everyone in state, Concord Monitor "My Turn" by Paul Brock, 4/20/12

posted Apr 21, 2012, 4:19 AM by Bill Duncan


You don't have to be an MV parent to care

Published on Concord Monitor (http://www.concordmonitor.com
You don't have to be an MV parent to care
IB fight affects everyone in state
By Paul G. Brock / For the Monitor
April 20, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, the New Hampshire House passed HB 1403. Most of New Hampshire did not notice or care since the legislation was specifically targeted at an academic program that has only been implemented in two public school districts: Bedford and Merrimack Valley. But trust me, you should all care because this legislation threatens what has long been held sacrosanct in New Hampshire: the local control of education and curricula.

In passing HB1403, the House is setting the precedent that regardless of how much study a school district might have done, regardless of what might have been invested, the good folks in Concord reserve the right to override and remove the program.

This year it is the International Baccalaureate program. Next year maybe it is the Advanced Placement programs. Then it may be whatever program your local community volunteers, school board, administration and voters have studied and chosen to adopt. Apparently our elected representatives, most of whom have no background in education or school administration, believe they know best.

HB 1403 seeks to limit or eliminate the International Baccalaureate program. It does so on the premise that the program minimizes the sovereignty of both the state of New Hampshire and the United States of America. Specifically, from HB1403:

"A public school or public academy shall be deemed to meet school approval standards only if the curriculum and instruction of the school or academy promotes state and national sovereignty and is not subject to the governance of a foreign body or organization. Proof of governance of a foreign body or organization may be demonstrated in several ways, including, but not limited to:

(a) Use of a specific name to promote the school, such as "world school"; or

(b) Required inspections or visits to ensure compliance with programs, rules, or polices of the foreign body or organization."

On the surface, this is not all that threatening, but it is chasing a bogeyman that does not exist.

The fear by the proponents of this bill is that nefarious people will direct our curriculum in such a way as to promote a "foreign" social agenda. I have met with multiple IB teachers and coordinators. I can find no one who feels pressured to comply with any rules or standards that do what the legislation seeks to preclude. The IB staff at Bedford and elsewhere with whom I have spoken are concerned with the rigor of the program and the quality of the education, not with a social agenda.

If implemented, this legislation could:

1. Cause Bedford, Merrimack Valley or any high school to remove the IB program, thereby disrupting the program plans of the enrolled IB students.

2. Waste the funding already invested in the development of an excellent program supported by outstanding staff.

3. Cause a district to further invest in new programming to fill the void left by IB.

The Military Council for the Education of Children (with many generals on its board) promotes the International Baccalaureate program to the families of our service people around the world. It provides a consistent but rigorous standard assuring high quality education. It does not threaten either national or state sovereignty. I would expect our military to have done the appropriate vetting.

Do the research. Talk to some IB students. Talk to some IB teachers. Talk to school and district administrators. I have, and I am comfortable with the International Baccalaureate program. Our Legislature might have the right to remove it, but it is certainly not the right thing to do. And it is most certainly not consistent with the professed belief by the legislators who claim to support local control.

I guess it's only local control on those issues with which they happen to agree. Seems somewhat hypocritical.

Today this is a Bedford and Merrimack Valley issue. Tomorrow it will be your issue.

(Paul G. Brock is a former member and chairman of the Bedford School Board.)

Source URL: http://www.concordmonitor.com/article/324738/you-dont-have-to-be-mv-parent-to-care

Quotes from IB Opponents

posted Apr 14, 2012, 8:47 AM by Bill Duncan   [ updated Apr 24, 2012, 5:12 AM ]

  • HB 1403 will bring back local control. There is no excuse for a foreign political group to be directing education in New Hampshire’s schools. NH Tea Party Coalition
  • Said Rep. Ralph Boehm, a Litchfield Republican: “Do we want our students indoctrinated to be world citizens or citizens of the United States?” Link
  • From the Concord Monitor, 1/27/12:
  • "At yesterday's hearing, Pettengill asserted that the program encourages students to think like world citizens whose rights are granted by the United Nations, not as American citizens, whose rights are derived from God.

    "The committee's chairman, Rep. Michael Balboni, a Republican from Nashua, wondered whether the program would put teachers in violation of a 1949 state law forbidding them to advocate for communism or the overthrow of the United States.

    "Rep. Charles Brosseau, a Republican from Campton, asked Pettengill, "Does this look like an attempt to influence our students toward the one-world government and against the sovereignty of the United States?"

    "Absolutely," she answered." 

  • "NHTPC [the New Hampshire Tea Party Coalition] notes that ‘those with certain political beliefs’ that find IB to alien do so because the IB program promotes world government under a single authority promoted by a non-governmental organization from abroad who views the UN as supplanting and undermining our legal form of government — the Constitution of the United States."...NH Tea Party Coalition
  • "This IBO program is nothing more than an expensive vehicle for inculcating UN propaganda into the minds of our best and brightest children."...the NH Tea Party Coalition
  • From Rep. Cohn, one of the co-sponsors on Facebook, here.  Rep. introduces his remarks saying he has nothing against IB, really, but:
    • "You want to teach that Marx was right, or that Nancy Reagan was the greatest first lady ever... or that Global Warming means that we should all ride bikes and destroy our cars, since the rest of the world, ie the 3rd world should get the benefits of the oil reserves, we've had plenty, feel free to teach it... just don't ask other people to pay public taxes to do so. Teach facts, NOT values.  Values are the problem here..."
    • He sets us straight about local control: "Local control means local. Not "local unless you wish to give up your decision making to some foreign source."   And if the school board commits the town(s) to a foreign contract, obligating the school expenditures and what the staff can do (or not do), what then?   Where the terms of the contract _require_ using foreign laws/courts, where the student personal info is sent out of the country, including personal identification, including essays about their beliefs?"

  • From a post on the Bedford Patch (here):
    • "Well rounded Marxists. That's what IB produces."
    • [The mission of IB] " is to infuse internationalism into our kids' brains, internationalism of course means obeyance to the UN 'government' they dream of having."
    •  "It's a political view which should NOT be being taught to kids in schools where they are there to learn skills and things for their own survival, not to accept world socialism."
    • "The IB program is merely another way to reduce the power of the local citizens and enrich foreign experts."
    • "Any support for Islam is support for a religion whose god calls for the violent suppression of all non-Islamic groups."
    • "Sanctioning Marxism, making it seem acceptable, not teaching how it has killed or starved millions of people, more than even Hitler killed, is a travesty. It is never mentioned. IB also sanctions Islam in some cases as well."

1-10 of 19