Widening Participation to an International Baccalaureate Education

Judy Hartnett's picture
Monday, March 26, 2012

The global economy demands globally educated workers and citizens. About 1,300 schools in the United States—and a total of about 3,200 in 141 countries worldwide—have turned to the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum as their ticket to educating students who are worldly-wise.

“Globalization is costing jobs and, really, the American dream,” says Stephen Spahn, chancellor of The Dwight School in Manhattan, which in 1979 became the first school in the United States to offer the IB. “How are you going to create people who remain competitive at all levels of society? It is equal opportunity that’s at stake here.”

[Minneapolis Public Schools' students study the brain in the Teach the Team Brain project, in which they work in groups in part to teach each other about the brain and create a 3D model of an aspect of the brain. ] Minneapolis Public Schools' students study the brain in the Teach the Team Brain project, in which they work in groups in part to teach each other about the brain and create a 3D model of an aspect of the brain. But only 25 or 30 percent of students in IB World Schools are taking the program. “The diploma program is not for all,” says Jeffrey Beard, director-general of the IB.

In September, however, IB will add a fourth curricular option aimed at those who don’t feel academically prepared to enter the diploma program and don’t necessarily plan to attend a four-year college. This International Baccalaureate Career-related Certificate (IBCC) program, which will pair some of the same academic rigor and international focus with technical skills training for juniors and seniors, has been in pilot phase for the past several years.

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