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Republicans Should Recognize the Benefits of the IB Program

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

I am as partisan as the next Republican and when it comes to federal matters, I am not impressed with the legislative initiatives pushed by the Obama Administration and the previous Democrat—controlled Congress. Nationalized health care, stimulus funding, and endless job-killing regulations are all at the top of the list.

Their questionable policies have trickled down to the state level, as many Democrats have joined the President and Attorney General Eric Holder in opposing voter ID laws, which I believe to be an effective mechanism for curbing voter fraud. In the State of New Hampshire , however, Democrats have exercised reasonable, sound judgment, while my Republican brethren are being led astray. Recently, the New Hampshire state house outlawed the International Baccalaureate (IB) educational program, and it is currently under consideration in the state senate.

Some Republicans in the New Hampshire state legislature believe that the IB program is a pilot program of the United Nations and UNESCO that promotes a socialist agenda. I have my share of criticisms for the UN and UNESCO, but they are a non-issue in this instance and don’t control the IB program.

The IB program does promote intercultural understanding and respect, but not at the expense of our national identity and patriotism.

The fact is that in the United States, IB programs are offered in almost 1,500 elementary and secondary public, private, charter, magnet, urban, and suburban schools across the country. IB programs can be found in Yonkers, NY, Fullerton, CA, Birmingham, AL, and yes, New Hampshire – for now. The IB program prepares our children to function in a global society. The curriculum is challenging and encourages students to hone critical thinking skills, engage in community service, and learn a second language. Actually, it sounds very similar to several schools in my school district that include immersion schools, requirements for community service, and debate, science, and math competitions.

Just look at our world today. The world is changing and so have the demands of our high schools and universities. It is important, now more than ever, that our children understand the complexities of society and embrace the fact that we live in a globally competitive environment. We live in a world where English may be the language of business, but that business is being transacted on seven different continents in seven different languages. Chances are that your child will someday be directly affected by and confronted with a global economy, global political issues, and everyday situations that require a modicum of knowledge of international issues.

As someone who has been fortunate enough to live, work, and study in several countries, I appreciate the value of what an IB education can provide American students. I hope my own children will develop a curiosity to live and work internationally.

The IB program has been offering academic programs to schools for nearly 40 years and in nearly 3,400 schools in 141 countries. Over 1000 universities in the United States accept the IB diploma as a mark of academic achievement, including John Hopkins, MIT, the US Air Force Academy, and the US Naval Academy. If the IB curriculum is good enough for the Naval and Air Force Academies, shouldn't it be good enough for high school students in New Hampshire?

Our country is facing a myriad of problems: unemployment, escalating debt, and instability in the Middle East. As a mom to two young children, I worry about the future they will face and the debt they will inherit. The education and preparation of our children to function in a dynamic world is essential to equip them for that future. We should be proud of and encourage education through programs like the IB program.

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