Texas Group Worries International Baccalaureate Program Is Turning Students into Leftists

by Dan Quinn

The folks over at Texas Eagle Forum, the state chapter of Phyllis Schlafly’s far-right organization, are worried that “leftist” ideology is infiltrating the state’s public schools through the widely respected International Baccalaureate (IB) program. Seriously.

Writing in the group’s May newsletter (which is now available online), Texas Eagle Forum Vice President MerryLynn Gerstenschlager wrings her hands over students at an IB charter school in New Mexico who voted this year for a “Prom-munism” theme  at their end-of-school dance. While students explained that the event theme was intended as something of a joke, right-wingers have latched on to it as an example communism on the rise among American youth.

And Gerstenschlager fears that the International Baccalaureate program is to blame and suggests Texas schools should dump it:

“Could the IB program in an American public school classroom be at the heart of America’s continuing move to the left?

What is wrong with an American education, where our kids learn about American exceptionalism and the things that have made America a shining city on a hill? What could have possibly happened in that IB classroom that skewed such bright minds so much that they lost their way?

Maybe Texas should reconsider this push for an international education through the International Baccalaureate program.”

Yeah, maybe students would be better off with the “superior” education offered by the heavily politicized curriculum standards in Texas — standards requiring students to learn that Moses influenced the writing of the Constitution, that the roots of western government today can be found in the Old Testament and the philosophies of medieval theologians, that slavery wasn’t the cause of the American Civil War and that infamous Red-baiter Joseph McCarthy was right. Brilliant.

This isn’t the first time right-wingers in Texas have targeted the IB program, a rigorous academic program used widely around the world. A few years back conservatives on the State Board of Education worried that Texas students in the IB program were being influenced by French ideas. (Again, seriously.) Other right-wing critics have claimed the program promotes Marxism and anti-Americanism.

Sounds like the right is gearing up for a new assault on IB classes in Texas schools.