Pa. School Board Votes to Cut 'Anti-American' Learning Program

An internationally recognized educational curriculum has been eliminated by the school board in an affluent suburb for being liberal despite an outcry from parents and students.

The Upper St. Clair school board voted 5-4 Monday to cut the International Baccalaureate Programme, whose curriculum some school board members have alleged is anti-American.

Others have questioned the need for the program, run by the Geneva-based International Baccalaureate Organization, saying it's too costly. The district has said it costs about $85,000 annually.

The program is offered at more than 1,700 schools in 122 countries, including 677 schools in the United States. Founded in 1968, IB says its mission is to "develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect."

President Bush cited the program in his State of the Union address, calling for Advanced Placement and IB programs to be expanded to low-income students by training 70,000 more teachers in math and science.

School Board President Dr. Bill Sulkowski did not immediately return a call for comment Monday night. He has said that he is not philosophically opposed to the program, but that it has no value when compared with the district's Advanced Placement and honors programs.

Earlier this month, school board member Dr. Mark Trombetta cited an exam that asked students to "discuss the link between a specific marriage form (e.g. monogamy, cross-cousin marriage or arranged marriage) and gender relations" as an example of what he finds troubling about the program.

"I want to know what that has to do with education," Trombetta said.

Upper St. Clair is about 10 miles southwest of Pittsburgh. About 700 of the district's 4,200 students participate in the IB program.