Thursday, September 20, 2012

Discussing the IB Program

There is a meeting tonight at city hall, 6 PM, of the Youth Services Board.   On the agenda is a discussion of the International Baccalaureate proposed for Treasure Island Elementary.   There will be speakers on the subject and a further discussion in preparation for next week's Budget meeting.  

Although this has been discussed before, some concerns were raised at the last Budget meeting.  I quote from an email entered into the record here:

This is to address my concerns regarding the International Baccalaureate program (IB).

Both of my parents were elementary school teachers for thirty-five years and my father, having obtained his doctorate, was a professor at three teacher’s collages. My parents lovingly made educating elementary school students their life's work.

As you can imagine, the talk at our dinner table often morphed to teaching techniques. My parents lived to be ninety and I never heard them mention the IB program.

Recently I attended an IB meeting in NBV City Hall. This meeting reminded me of the brain washing techniques of a Shaklee recruiting session. The IB promoters even planted ringers in the audience to feed pre-selected questions to the speakers.

It seems that Miami Beach has bought into this IB program, but the taxpayers were not willing to pay for it. So they coerced their waste contractor to foot the bill. Now Miami Beach wants North Bay Village to contribute an additional half million dollars towards the program that they were not willing to fund.

What I didn't know at that IB meeting was that the NBV City Manager, the Mayor and the Commissioners had all been pre-indoctrinated by the Miami Beach promoters of this program. .

Since that time I have been trying to gain some knowledge about the pros and cons of the IB. It appears that this program was introduced to this country about forty years ago, but no teachers college or university has found it worth teaching in their curriculum. Also Miami-Dade County has not found it worth funding. That should be an enormous red flag. The IB program appears to be a money-making endeavor that has conflicting results. For example, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (the infamous underwear bomber) was an IB student.

A Google search revealed some IB promotional and one opposing websites that should be considered before making a decision: Of interest is the number of cities that have considered and rejected IB.

The reality is that the program at Treasure Island Elementary is already funded without North Bay Village's money. The school has hired and funded an IB Coordinator (Mr. Kevin J. Diaz). Mr. Diaz graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a degree in Elementary Education. Interestingly, that university, like all other universities in this country, does not train their teachers in the IB program. Mr. Diaz has been teaching at North Beach Elementary for the past eight years and his new IB Coordinator position is funded at $72,000. A nice salary for an eight year elementary school teacher.

North Bay Village is infamous for wasting taxpayer's money and I don't see the need to fund a program that is already funded. I believe that if the commission is determined to pursue this expensive endeavor, the voters should have a say. A half-million dollar commitment is substantial and should be decided by referendum.

 Tonight's a really good time to talk about some of these issues.  This is a public meeting, at 6 PM tonight. 

Kevin Vericker
September 20, 2012

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