On February 20, 2006, the Board of Education of the Upper St. Clair public schools ignited a firestorm in this normally tranquil community near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by voting to eliminate the UNESCO-backed International Baccalaureate Organization program in their elementary, middle, and high schools.
The board acted partly for fiscal reasons. Too much money was being spent on an elitist program that benefited too few students, they reasoned, especially since equivalent Advanced Placement courses would still be available to interested students.
However, the issue has also become the fault line for the cultural war dividing our country today. Some board members were troubled by the secular, one world government ideology that underlies the International Baccalaureate program. The program has faced similar challenges around the country, claiming that its curriculum is contrary to American values.
The public meeting held before the climactic vote was tumultuous. Angry Upper St. Clair parents, who wanted the program to continue, harassed the board members. Police and security officers had to be summoned to keep order. Since the vote at that meeting, the community has been embroiled in recriminations back and forth, even leading reportedly to death threats against one or more board members by some parents who were outraged that their children could no longer have access to this special program. The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania is organizing a legal team to consider possible options including a lawsuit, according to Witold Walczak, its legal director, who happens to have a child in the program.
Despite the protestations of the International Baccalaureate supporters – who attack any challenges to the program as examples of religious fundamentalism run amok – it turns out that the program’s opponents have every right to be concerned about this particular brand of global education. It was designed with a particular globalist philosophy in mind that comports with the United Nations’ ambitions to expand its reach at the expense of our national sovereignty. Where there is smoke, sometimes there is indeed fire.
First, let us consider a bit of history. UNESCO, the United Nations’ primary agency dealing with universal education, helped set up and fund the International Baccalaureate Organization (“IBO”) in Geneva, Switzerland in 1968. Originally designed as an international education training ground for future diplomats, the IBO morphed into a reflection of the one world government philosophy of UNESCO’s first Director General, Julian Huxley:
A central conflict of our times is that between nationalism and internationalism, between the concept of many national sovereignties and one world sovereignty...The moral of UNESCO is clear. The task laid upon it of promoting peace and security can never be wholly realized through the means assigned to it – education, science and culture. It must envisage some form of world political unity, whether through a single world government or otherwise...Specifically, in its educational programme it can stress the ultimate need for world political unity and familiarize all peoples with the implications of the transfer of full sovereignty from separate nations to a world organization.
The United States had quit UNESCO during Ronald Reagan’s presidency because of disagreements with its policies and disenchantment with its anti-American bias. Years later, President George W. Bush decided to give UNESCO another try, hoping it had reformed itself. Unfortunately, not much has changed. Koïchiro Matsuura, the Director-General of UNESCO, still speaks of using education to create “responsible global citizenship.” And, presumably to illustrate UNESCO’s idea of the ideal global citizen, UNESCO bestowed its 2005 International José Martí Prize on Venezuelan dictator and Iranian ally Hugo Chavez in a ceremony that took place in Cuba on February 3, 2006. Chavez took a typical swipe at the United States in accepting his prize from fellow dictator Fidel Castro: “They will forever try to preserve the U.S. empire by all means, while we will do everything possible to shred it.”
Oblivious to its own hypocrisy, UNESCO presses on with its goal of inculcating its utopian notion of “planetary unity.” To this end, it is counting on its partnership with the International Baccalaureate Organization and the Earth Charter Initiative, which also have strong ties with each other.
The International Baccalaureate Organization grew enormously over the years into a global educational network, with common themes to be taught to all children enrolled in its programs. About 1,700 schools world-wide offer IBO programs. Approximately 600 of these schools are in the United States, including – up to now – the Upper St. Clair public schools.
The program consists of several core themes: Theory of Knowledge, Environmental Systems, Environmental Science, Technology and Social Change, Peace and Conflict Studies, Experimental Science, Philosophy, Geography, History, Math, and the Arts. The core curriculum and requirements are uniform across the globe; you will find the same descriptive material for the Upper St. Clair program as you will for the participating Tehran International School of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The idea, according to IBO’s mission statement, is to build “intercultural understanding and respect” among “compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.” That would be fine enough if countries like Iran were dedicated to the same principle of intercultural understanding. But in the eyes of UNESCO and the International Baccalaureate Organization, we are the ones who must do more of the multicultural outreach than our mortal enemies determined to destroy us.
The International Baccalaureate Organization has teamed up with the Earth Charter Initiative and has used the Earth Charter principles as the glue that holds their whole program together. Ian Hill has served both as the IBO Deputy Director General and as a member of the Earth Charter Initiative Education Advisory Committee.
The Earth Charter was written under the co-leadership of former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and Canadian business man-cum-environmentalist Maurice Strong, one of Kofi Annan’s most trusted advisors who most recently has been in the news due to some alleged entanglements in the Oil-for-Food scandal. It was intended to serve as homage to the Sacred Earth and all of its living inhabitants and as a set of “basic principles to secure a viable future for the whole community of life.” The Earth Charter’s governing principle is that population and economic growth – driven by capital investment, entrepreneurship, efficient production and free trade – will inevitably denude the earth of its vital natural resources; instead, as global citizens, we must radically transform our current modes of production and consumption. Under the mantles of “sustainable development” and “social justice,” the Earth Charter’s authors want it to become part of binding international law to control population growth, force a slowdown of economic activity in the industrialized nations, and divert a massive amount of wealth from successful economies to failed ones by UN fiat.
This is old-fashioned global socialism by a different name.
Former Communist leader Mikhail Gorbachev was not modest about his ambitions for the Earth Charter, saying that “my hope is that this charter will be a kind of Ten Commandments, a ‘Sermon on the Mount,’ that provides a guide for human behavior toward the environment in the next century.” Maurice Strong was no less, well, strong in his religious exhortations about the Earth Charter: “The real goal of the Earth Charter is that it will in fact become like the Ten Commandments.”
UNESCO agrees. On its webpage devoted to the Earth Charter, UNESCO claims that it is “undoubtedly one of the most powerful instruments for promoting the changes in our ways of life which must take place irrespective of any differences that may exist between us and which are driven principally by the imperative need to conserve life on earth.”
When it came time to celebrate the completion of this second version of the Ten Commandments, just two days before 9/11, a handcrafted ark chest, called the Ark of Hope, was created for the occasion. After all, the celebrants reasoned, there was a Holy Ark for the first Decalogue; why not for its man-made improvement? This Ark was especially designed to house a papyrus copy of the Earth Charter, adorned with spiritual symbols that featured – I kid you not - the horns of a unicorn to ward off all evil!
Unbowed by their failure to ward off the horrors of 9/11 with a shake of unicorn horns, the Earth Charter celebrants and their Sacred Earth worshiping friends decided that the solution to the world’s problems was to begin a 60-day peace procession, bearing the 200 pound Ark all the way to New York City where they presented it to the United Nations. Naturally, UN officials embraced the Ark and its precious contents as their own and proudly put it on display, unicorn horns and all.
Through the efforts of various activist organizations, including the Youth and Pedagogy Community Working Groups to bring the pseudo-religious Earth Charter to young people, the Earth Charter is being utilized today as a teaching tool – or more correctly, an indoctrination tool – at all levels in public schools, including in the United States.
Here is an example of how one high school teacher by the name of Dennis Perrin used the Earth Charter (which he refers to as “EC”) in his International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge (“TOK”) Class at Hutchinson High School, Kansas. The teacher’s account is quoted in the 2005 Report on Earth Charter Activities in the USA by Kim Charmatz (e-mail):
I have been using the EC since 2000 during the school year. Now a few hundred students have been exposed to it…Students use the TOK aims and objectives and the EC in critical thinking/writing and discussion exercises throughout the two semester course. I also use it as part of the Ethics unit within that course. Additionally, I use the Earth Charter as the core concepts in my citizenship and ethics units in my other classes. Students, after becoming familiar with the EC, pick and choose principles that they are particularly interested in assimilating within projects and writings. Success and failure are directly related to student ability and interest. The IB students are particularly adept at making connections from the EC to issues challenging their future across the board from social justice, environmental, democracy and nonviolence issues.
A lengthy Guidebook for Teachers prepared by the Earth Charter Initiative Secretariat lays out themes for lesson plans that synch up rather tightly with the core IBO curriculum themes mentioned above, all the while pushing an extreme environmentalist and wealth redistribution agenda. For example, the Guidebook says, a science lesson might focus on how students can “appreciate Earth as a complex system and discuss whether it is alive.” In economics, students can be taught to “recognize the importance of the environmental and social costs of goods and services.” In creative arts, they can “create a poster (or other artistic response) inspired by Earth Charter document or specific principles.” Building on the “perspectives derived from the Earth Charter,” students can ponder why “a small percentage of the population (the powerful) control a large % [sic.] of the world’s wealth.”
It is never too soon for the Earth Charter teachers to begin indoctrinating young students. Indeed, the Guidebook for Teachers urges third grade teachers to focus their pupils on the Earth Charter principle that fundamental changes in our patterns of production, consumption, and reproduction are needed in order to “safeguard Earth’s regenerative capacities, human rights, and community well-being” (i.e., to replace capitalism with socialism and stop population growth). The Guidebook says “a third grade teacher can adopt the principle as the inspiration of a year-long theme on Global Citizenship.”
Taxpayers’ money is being used to teach this tripe in our public schools all over the country, whether as part of the International Baccalaureate program or in separate courses. There is no intellectual balance to enable students to truly think for themselves.
Politically correct, multiculturalist school districts also conveniently ignore the fact that teaching the Earth Charter in our public schools is tantamount to endorsing a form of religion: the Earth Charter’s own authors described their nature worshipping screed in religious terms as the new Ten Commandments, for which a mockery of the Ark of the Covenant was constructed. Where is the ACLU when we need them? Where we would expect to find them: supporting the Earth Charter in our schools and considering a lawsuit in Pennsylvania to bring it back into the Upper St. Clair schools by re-imposing the International Baccalaureate program. The Earth Charter is fine, just not the real Ten Commandments. We would expect no less.
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