Major congratulations and thanks to Deborah Jones for her community involvement and efforts to prevent IB from becoming a part of the Bastrop public school system. TAIB has just been informed that:
"Upon careful examination by both parents, administration, teachers and community this program does not suit the needs of our community, State or Country."
Patriots Say No to IBO in Bastrop, Texas
Can you get any more Main Street, U.S.A. than Bastrop, Texas? Seriously, who in their right mind thought introducing IB to Bastrop public schools was a "good" idea?
TAIB is pleased to feature what is now the 6th active IB protest to crop up in the U.S.A. in the early months of 2010. Let's take a look at what is happening in Bastrop.
Bastrop Independent School District was established in 1883 and is situated approximately 30 miles southeast of Austin and covers 433 square miles. The district currently includes one high school, two middle schools, two intermediate schools, six elementary schools and an alternative high school. It is run by a seven (7) member Board of Education. The Board meets at least twice a month, however its online Board minutes run approximately a month behind schedule.
TAIB has just reviewed Bastrop's Board minutes for the past few months and they tell an interesting tale. It is very important to look at the "politics" of running a public school district and to identify who is the "change agent" in power pushing IB. TAIB sees EXACTLY what is going on in Bastrop!
Towards the end of 2009, Bastrop was at the conclusion of a Superintendent search. On November 18th, 2009, the Board reviewed the finalists out of a group of 50 original applicants. On December 7th (D-Day again), the Board decided on Steve Murray as the lone finalist and on January 4th, 2010, Murray's contract was approved unanimously by the Board, effective February 1, 2010.
Now remember, TAIB is putting this together strictly from the chronological record of the district's Board of Ed minutes. On January 12, 2010, before Superintendent Murray assumed his position, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Betty Richardson, gave the following presentation on IB:
"Orientation on the International Baccalaureate Program / Public Forum
Betty Richardson opened the International Baccalaureate orientation meeting for the board by introducing Jeannette Lefebvre, IB World Schools Consultant and Karen Phillips, Exec. Director for Texas IB Schools. The presenters gave an overview of the Primary Years
Program, the Middle Years Program, and the IB Diploma Program. All three programs have a common mission statement. The focus all of the programs is the learner profile which supports IB learners being inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced and reflective.
To become an IB school is a long process (approximately three years) which requires teachers in the PYP and MYP programs being directly responsible for writing the curriculum for the courses of study in the school using a curriculum framework which supports the IB learner profile. All students participate in the curriculum that is developed by teachers for the PYP and MYP programs. The IB Diploma program is for students in grades 11-12 who wish to participate. The IB Diploma program provides a college level curriculum just as Advanced Placement courses. If successful on end of program exams resulting in a high school and IB diploma, a student earns a minimum of 24 college credits that are accepted at all Texas institutions of higher education. In all three programs, the state curriculum is still required to be taught by all teachers."
Oh. Very interesting. Except, Houston, we have a problem. At the January 19th, 2010, Board meeting:
"Cheryl Robinson, a community member and a member of the District Improvement Committee informed the board that the DEIC did not serve in any advisory role in putting together the district and campus improvement plans. In addition, Mrs. Robinson stated that DEIC members did not get an invitation to the IB Orientation meeting on January 12th."
Community displeasure with Richardson's sneak IB attack on the district became even more apparent at the February 17th BoE meeting when the story hit a local Bastrop Builder and Community Blog:
"The IB issue has seen no shortage of community interest since being proposed last spring. For those who have sat through the public comment portions of recent monthly school board meetings, the wide-ranging opinions are on full display. What some call a progressive step towards preparing students for a changing 21st century world, others call an un-American agenda aiming to promote a one-world philosophy.
The latter sentiment was evident in Tuesday’s meeting, for example, where one concerned parent, Deborah Jones, deemed IB “cultural genocide” whose hidden agenda involved the “mass murder of cultures around the world.” Partly because of such a wide perception gap, assistant superintendent of education Betty Richardson says the revised improvement plan calls for a new strategic planning process to begin. The plan involves forming a large group of community members over 100 strong who will work to build a consensus on IB or on one of the other curriculum models proposed."
Interestingly, Bastrop has a Parental Involvement Policy posted online. TAIB was able to locate the 2008/2009 Improvement Plan which made no reference to IB, however, we could not find an online link to the Campus and District 2009/2010 Improvement Plan mentioned in the above blog.
"Perception gap?" Who "revised" the plan without community input? Were any consultant fees paid to Jeannette Lefebvre, IB World Schools Consultant and Karen Phillips, Exec. Director for Texas IB Schools for their appearance at the January 12th presentation? If yes, when were they approved by the Board?
There appear to be a lot of unanswered questions regarding "procedural" issues taking place in Bastrop. Parents deserve input and answers.