On Monday night [April 9], state legislatures, and dozens of angry citizens crammed into a small room in Bedford to discuss HB 1403, which the N.H. House passed after an eleventh-hour amendment. The bill, which was crafted by ultraconservatives, would "promote state and national sovereignty and is not subject to the governance of a foreign body or organization."
With the wording, though, the bill's writers took aim at a single program. HB 1403 would essentially cut the International Baccalaureate program - a demanding program comparable with advanced prep classes - from schools in New Hampshire.
The program is so rigorous and prestigious that students with IB diplomas who are accepted to Harvard are automatically eligible to become second year-students.
And yet, a group of legislators was 45 minutes away from campus Monday arguing against the program because they said the bill promotes views of the "UN's values as well as ¿ encouraging [students] to be activists."
They say they don't want their money supporting the program, which is taught in 141 countries, if it has influences out of the country.
But at this point, though, it's tough to understand what these select Republicans believe. These are the ones, after all, who consistently say that issues like this should be sorted out at the local level. They don't want government getting involved. But when Bedford, at the local level, decided on the program, they went to bigger government to seek their "solution."
But that ignores the most important issue of this - the IB program is doing its job. At a time when money is being slashed from budgets across the country, our legislators are debating cutting a proven program because other countries are using it. Do you know what else foreign countries are doing? Putting up better test scores than us. Teaching their students better. Producing well-rounded students who think for themselves.
Said Rep. Ralph Boehm, a Litchfield Republican: "Do we want our students indoctrinated to be world citizens or citizens of the United States?"
This type of rhetoric completely misses the point of the program - to challenge the best students we have to offer and help them become better students. It has nothing to do with determining the citizenship of our students, as Boehm puts it.
For a group of legislators quick to cut funding in our schools, they fail to see the damage this would do at Bedford High School and the New Hampton School - two of the Granite State schools that offer the program.
Passing HB 1403 would waste the funding already invested in the proven program, and cause the schools to spend more taxpayer money to find another program that challenges dedicated students.
Further, the IB teachers at Bedford have come out and said they don't feel pressured to promote a socialist or foreign agenda - their concern is offering a rigorous program to ambitious students.
The goal of the bill is to eliminate programs that do not promote "states and national sovereignty" and are "subject to the governance of a foreign body or organization."
The IB program doesn't threaten state and national sovereignty, but due to the language used in the bill, would be cut.
That would be a mistake. After numerous cuts to academic funding, this is one of the few programs still in New Hampshire schools that successfully offers a rigorous curriculum. The fact that they're even discussing cutting it because of its ties with other countries is ludicrous.
- The New Hampshire, UNH's student newspaper
Read the editorial here: http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120417/GJOPINION_01/704179973/-1/FOSOPINION