Parents: Lack of Communication Built Skepticism Towards IB

District residents believe school officials failed to adequately reach out and inform parents on IB from the beginning.

Hauppauge  parents blamed school district officials lack of transparent communication about the International Baccalaureate program for skepticism, almost outlash against the academic change. 

Parents attending the district's IB program information session Monday night said school officials "dropped the ball" by failing to education district residents about the academic program before moving forward with application process. The school is now completing the second part of a two-year application with hopes of beginning the transition as early as September 2011. 

"I would like to state my profound dismay of not being fully informed before this evening that the IB program was fully moving forward," said Siobhan Atkinson. 

Atkinson was one of many who stepped up to a mic during a question-and-answer period  that said  an anonymous flyer against the transition to an IB program delivered to household's mailboxes in early February was their first notification of the pending academic changes.  The flyer accused school officials of having a "hidden agenda." 

"This struck a chord with me as I had to find out about this through an anonymous letter. That doesn't settle well with me or the common person," said resident Luis Velazco. 

Superintendent Patricia Sullivan-Kriss defended the district's actions stating a transition from Advanced Placement classes to the IB program has been part of the district's goals for several years, and has been discussed publicly several times. 

"I think its grossly unfair to say anyone kept this from anyone. We are responding to the community, " Sullivan-Kriss said. "We were following a prescribed timeline that would have had us reporting to the Board this month, as recommended by IB. Then, we would hold community and student education workshops in the fall." 

However, residents expressed the belief that as taxpayers they should have been informed of program's structure, pros and cons, long before more than $44,000 has been spent in a two-year application process. 

"You are investing in [teacher] training and we are not yet approved. As a business person, I don't know if I would do that," said resident Ralph Plotke, citing the economic recession and state education funding cuts. 

The district has presented the information many times either on its website or at Board of Education meetings. Hauppauge School District's public statement of yearly goals have included mention of the IB program since at least 2008-2009 under "Improving Academic Performance," and again in the 2009-2010 school year's goals.

A presentation titled "The International Baccalauareate Diploma Program at Hauppauge High School" was given at the Feb. 20, 2010 Board of Education meeting, before the district began its application. It was mentioned again at the Oct. 20, 2010 board meeting when a presentation was given on the status of the district's educational initiatives. 

Residents asked why more fliers weren't sent home to school parents or more information disseminated through local media sources including Newsday, Smithtown Messenger and Patch. 

 Requests were made for AP classes could be kept within the curriculum longer, to allow students more time to readjust schedules and provide an easier transition. 

At the conclusion of Monday night's meeting, school officials said they would consider all comments made but would be moving ahead with the IB application process as a candidate school. 

Siobhan Atkinson March 09, 2011 at 12:03 PM
Siobhan Atkinson I would like to correct the quote attributed to me in the above article it should read,"I would like to state my profound dismay as not having been fully informed that the District was moving forward with this IB initiative without major input from parents and the community at large." I was aware that IB was under consideration for the past few years, but the District failed to notify the community about the major presentation that was presented to the BOE in February 2010. Yes that information was available if you always read the BOE Agenda and minutes. The majority of people in the community do not read them on a weekly basis, myself included, unless I am given a heads up that something really important is going to be discussed. In the past the District has done just that. I also feel that parents should have been asked to sit on the original IB research committee when we were in the "exploration phase". I believe we would have been better able to present the information to the community knowing what the benefits of this program really are. The presentation on Monday night was informative but there are still many questions that need to be answered. I have not fully made up my mind about this program.
Lisa McLoughlin March 09, 2011 at 01:20 PM
Kirsten, I am from the Locust Valley district. We were authorized by IBO in 2004. I have witnessed firsthand how supporters of IB seek to obfuscate the true amount a district spends on IB within the budget. I have watched well over a million dollars of our taxes spent on a secretive, proprietary program which has resulted in our district going from an average of 35-36 AP Scholars a year to Zero and a whoop-de-do 14-20 IB Diploma recipients with a mean score of '29'. One out of three Locust Valley students who commit to spending their final two years of HS , fails to earn the IB Diploma. One out of three. I am the administrator of the Truth About IB website. My concern is not so myopic as to be limited to my own community. My Board of Ed, which has most of the same Board Trustees who voted IB in, will not listen. My children went through 8 HS Principals in 10 years. We are on our 3rd Superintendent since IB/2004. We are on our 4th Asst. Superintendent since 2004. IB creates instability and divisiveness within American public schools. You don't "have" to train teachers in AP in order to offer AP courses. However, AP training for teachers is available for a relatively inexpensive fee online. You don't have to hire substitutes to cover and pay almost $2,000 per teacher to fly them out of state and put them up in a hotel for IB. AP is globally recognized (like the A-Levels) and PREFERRED over IB at most U.S. universities.
Kelly Mann March 09, 2011 at 04:02 PM
As a mom of a students in a PYP candidate school- I find the material and curriculum to be a joke and slap in the face- As Americans we should not accept this brainwashing of our kids to become world citizens, have global tolerance and all the other mumbo jumbo marxist agenda being taught- PYP feels parents are not capitable of teaching their kids how to be caring, knowledgable, empathetic etc.. thus the whole elementary curriculum revloves around learner profiles- not science, american history, math- sure there is alittle bit of that in there- but forcing kids to assess themselves every 6 weeks is such a waste of time- Lets teach Cinderalla a fairy tale as told in other cultures for the next 3 weeks- How about teaching kids multiplication? something that will benefit them later in life-
Cocerned Resident March 10, 2011 at 04:27 AM
Lisa, I agree completely with you. Now I do have a real problem with Kirsten. I think what Lisa is doing is sharing what knowledge she has on this issue. What difference does it make if she is from Hauppauge or not? Why do you think she has an agenda? I am a Hauppauge resident and I am concerned about this program as are many other Hauppauge residents. Kirsten what is your agenda? Is it to tell the parents in your school as a member of PTA that you approve every budget that comes your way and then call all the parents to let them know that? Does that mean because you are for it we have to be? So who has the real agenda here? Do you think that the families in this community don't talk to one another about what agendas are out there? Well wake up we do! Concerned Resident!
Kirsten Reisfield March 10, 2011 at 12:29 PM
Dear Concerned Resident, First off, I am not speaking on behalf of the PTA, I am speaking up about how I feel as a parent after doing quite a bit of research and attending the meeting on Monday. I am not saying that the program is perfect, but after weighing all the arguments I think the benefits outweigh the detriments. There are quite a few parents who feel this way but unfortunately their voice is not as loud as the others. I think a dialog about the cost and educational value of the program within our community is a good thing and should continue. However, I have a problem with outsiders jumping into our debate. I encourage you to educate yourself about the true costs to OUR district and weigh those against the benefits of the program. The link below provides some helpful information on the benefits and proposed costs can be found on the district website if you were unable to attend the meeting. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/03/education/03baccalaureate.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1 As to your comment about “calling all parents”, I assume you are referring to the calls to ask parents to come out and vote each May. Every year all our PTA’s vote to support the budget and then call parents asking them to vote; we never tell them how to vote. I would not consider that a personal agenda. continued....
Kirsten Reisfield March 10, 2011 at 12:30 PM
continued from previous post..... Lisa is providing information that may not apply to our situation. Her district is considerably larger for one. If you were at the meeting on Monday you know the numbers she is talking about are nowhere near what this is going to cost Hauppauge. Unfortunately not everyone was at that meeting and it concerns me that they will take what she says at face value. As to why I think Lisa has an agenda: Have you been out on her website? It is clear that she is part of a national movement to remove IB from all schools on political grounds. They know that parents care most about the cost of these programs so use that to scare us. Posted on Lisa’s website, truthaboutib.com is a photo of our President and a quote “has anyone checked this guy for those 666’s?” Does that tell you something about her political agenda? I think that even those who did not vote for him would agree the office deserves more respect than that.
concerned citizen too March 10, 2011 at 12:51 PM
Lisa, I do too share your concerns about this IB program. I can see the anticipated EXPENSIVE training for EACH teacher for EACH class. (I know first hand) One of my older children has been through AP classes and had been accepted to MANY schools with out ever having to step one pinky toe into an IB classroom. With the cuts being made to the assistant coaches of the teams and the elimination of coaches for 7th and 8th grade teams at about $4,500 per coach... I feel the money should be put toward that rather than "robbing Peter to pay Paul" . Adding the coaches will have MORE of a positive effect on MORE students than that which will be impacted by IB lcasses. AGREED - a note goes home to the parents about every other 'educational concern' from heroin forums, to bullying, etc. Not saying that these are not important, but such a note SHOULD have gone home about the anticipation of POSSIBLY entertaining IB classes as well. And yes! Saying that 'it was on the agenda' without proper notification, is just a "CYA" approach! BUT PLEASE DON'T advise parents to vote down our budget just because of the board's failure to properly notify us, the community properly ..... Voting down the budget would have a MUCH more detrimental effect than the IB problems.....
concerned citizen too March 10, 2011 at 12:52 PM
HOWEVER - HAUPPAUGE BOARD of ED ~ I KNOW you're reading these.... You MUST reconsider the position you are so strongly taking on this IB situation... it is THIS community opposition to this ONE thing, that truly will force the budget to FAIL!!!!! THINK OF THE MAJORITY of the kids that you stand up for that will be hurt! Sometimes, you just can NOT be the sole decision makers for OUR children... yes, we appointed you to GUIDE us, the community, but we did NOT give you the full custody over our children and their future!!!
Lisa McLoughlin March 10, 2011 at 04:13 PM
Kirsten, I make no secret of my political principles and position. I am quoted in Jay Mathews' book; Supertest - How The International Baccalaureate Can Strengthen Our Schools (chapter 45 - Rousseau in Locust Valley) as a "registered Republican with Libertarian leanings". IF IB did not consist of ideology and philosophy which is completely antithetical to my deeply held personal beliefs regarding individual liberties and Constitutional principles, I wouldn't find anything to object to, now would I? IB supporters always want to insist that IB has nothing to do with politics when it has EVERYTHING to do with politics, philosophy and ideology. Trying to deny that IB''s affiliation with UNESCO and left-wing groups like MoveOn.org and the TIDES Foundation - doesn't cut it anymore. Not in 2011. We've got the FACTS, we've got the PROOF and de Nile is not just a river in Egypt. Public education should be secular and apolitical. IB seeks to undermine family values and religion and its politics are VERY left of center. Oh and btw, you are incorrect about the size of my district - Hauppauge HS is nearly twice the size of LVHS. https://www.nystart.gov/publicweb-rc/2010/be/AOR-2010-580506030007.pdf https://www.nystart.gov/publicweb-rc/2010/8e/AOR-2010-280503060003.pdf In either case, schools with under 2,000 students are simply too small to run both AP and IB. For years, administrators have tried to argue that IB was simply "another choice". It's not
Lisa McLoughlin March 10, 2011 at 04:28 PM
Concerned citizen too, I can appreciate you not wanting your budget to fail because of how it will affect everything else. These are the fearmongering tactics IB supporting Boards and Superintendents use - Vote YES - "It's for the children!" They attempt to minimize the cost. Already, Your Superintendent has reported $43,000+ spent on training. Oh yeah, and $19,000 on the application fees. Oh yeah, and that was just Level I training so add another $86,000 + $10,000 fee + the IB Coordinator's position + stipends for a CAS and EE Supervisor (who of course are SOOO much more important than your sports coaches) + mailing costs ($5,000+ annually) + IB conferences and ..... you see where this is going? I am sad to say that the only thing to make your Board and Superintendent understand how serious this IB issue is - is to vote down the budget. They get a second chance to revise it and put it up for a re-vote. Vote it down. Let them resubmit it to the public, minus IB. Don't let them dodge the issue - the time to stop IB is on Super Tuesday. Even if the budget is defeated the first time around, your Board will still attempt to minimize the cost of IB compared to athletics. Do not allow them to use that comparison. IB is core curriculum, not an extra-curricular activity and it certainly isn't mandated by NYS.
Lisa McLoughlin March 10, 2011 at 04:50 PM
I put up a wealth of information for Hauppauge parents regarding the IB Diploma program(me) in the comments following this article: http://hauppauge.patch.com/articles/districts-officials-explain-ib-program-to-wary-residents Please note, all links included in my comments are either directly from IBO, MIT or SUNY Stony Brook. Please feel free to ask me any question you may have regarding IB and I will do my best to provide you with a factual answer backed up with a source. If necessary, I will get clarification for you from Paul Campbell who is one of the head honchos at IBNA. Mind you, this is not an easy task. These IB reps are always on vacation or out of the country. It took me months just to confirm that IB exams are NOT mandatory for IB Certificate students. Obviously, if a student wants the Diploma, the exams are mandatory. However, on average, less than 8% of any U.S. IB graduating class consists of full IB Diploma students. Many districts, such as Upper St. Clair in PA which endured an ACLU lawsuit over IB, only had 4 full DP students last year. If Hauppauge has told you that the exams ARE mandatory, then that is an internal decision, not one made by IBO. info@truthaboutib.com
walter schulhoff March 10, 2011 at 04:57 PM
Cocerned Resident March 10, 2011 at 06:51 PM
Kirsten, I have been to all meetings concerning IB as well as all board meetings for years. Where were you Tuesday night? As a matter of fact considering you are a PTA President and should be educated enough to pass on information to us parents why are you not there? Does it run to late for you? Many parents who were at the meeting both Monday and Tuesday shared important information and facts that the district did not. It's obvious they were trying to sell us the IB Program. What really turned me off about their presentation is how they had the nerve to say out loud how our kids are lacking the fundamentals to write a paper. So we have to spend money to get an IB program so that our kids will be prepared for college and be able to write papers! So now that they just basically told us the way that they are teaching are kids or not teaching our kids is wrong don't you think they should spend all this time and effort into seeing what they as a school district and teachers and programs are doing wrong. How about listening to the elementary school parents who are telling you that their kids should be taught early on so that when they get to HS they are better able to do what they were telling us they can't do? Wake up!!! I have been to these board meetings, and they encourage the public to attend....I don't know why they do that. Once the public asks questions or has concerns they are treated like idiots.
Cocerned Resident March 10, 2011 at 06:51 PM
All you hear from them is you voted us in....well some of us voted the President in but that does not mean we have to agree with every single thing he or his administration does. The board members lack respect for this community. Then you have the woman who attacks people, makes gestures while she is sitting up there to the audience telling us we voted them in. Then the President praises her board at all the meetings when concerned residents ask questions and have concerns. This is why people don't go! They sit up there laughing at people when they are asking questions about concerns they have. How about not comparing what a teacher makes that is over 160,000 so that justifies what our Superintendent is making. Are you for real? So unprofessional. So now the IB program is good for kids that think outside of the box. It's good for kids that are not good test takers. Great, so now what about the kids that are the opposite and have thrived on AP courses. How are they going to do with IB? Colleges do not like to see kids that take just a few IB courses. They want the whole diploma. They are not so keen on just some courses or not graduating with the full diploma and that's if they even take that.
Lisa McLoughlin March 10, 2011 at 07:55 PM
I would like to share with Hauppauge readers a sampling of IB student writing. This gem just hit my e-mail inbox. I am withholding the student's name as I don't want to be accused of "attacking" IB students. For those of you who passed basic English in HS, let me know if you feel this writing sample demonstrates "exemplary" learning: "Comments: I am a junior in the IB program. I find your website extremely offensive. Honestly bashing higher education just reflects poorly on you. I find that the program is helping to prepare me to be successful in a competitive college setting. We are given work that helps us take into consideration our effect on the world aroud us. Rather than being closed minded americans. Since you have never completed the IB program..and you have never had a child go through it, your claims are completly irrational..and honestly. There is a whole IB class discussing how completly stupid your website is. Good luck. Cause you have absolutly nothing to stand on. "
Cocerned Resident March 10, 2011 at 09:15 PM
Lisa, Wow.....impressive! Thanks for sharing!
Lisa McLoughlin March 10, 2011 at 09:23 PM
Concerned Resident, I must warn you that IB supporters are incapable of detecting sarcasm and tend to lack a sense of humor. ;-) You're welcome.
concerned citizen too March 10, 2011 at 11:07 PM
So... just WHAT does the district get out of this???? Besides looking like a bunch of fools to the rest of us - they HAVE to get something - to totally ignore what the MAJORITY of the people they claim to represent, does NOT want... put it up for a vote! Can't? Cost is too much for the public? Send it home in the backpacks of the students... Can't? Why not... AFRAID of what you may discover???? BOE members - STOP taking this personally - you made a mistake... admit it... end it and move on to what REALLY matters... find a program to improve the students' writing in elementary and middle school - not when it's too late - in high school!
Lisa McLoughlin March 11, 2011 at 12:03 AM
Concerned Citizen Too, Your Board of Ed can immediately stop spending money on IB and abandon its application. That's what Glen Cove and Garden City did. There is no "contract" between the district and IBO. However, I can tell you first hand that they will not put it to the public for a vote. I filed a Commissioner's Appeal to try and get my district to do exactly that. The Commissioner ruled that the "Board is autonomous when it comes to curriculum decisions". This is why I say your only options at this point are to run common sense, fiscally responsible candidates for BoE seats and to vote NO on the budget. http://www.counsel.nysed.gov/Decisions/volume44/d15191.htm
Lisa McLoughlin March 11, 2011 at 10:34 AM
A MUST READ ARTICLE HOT OFF THE PRESS- I can't make this stuff up, folks: http://napavalleyregister.com/star/news/local/article_8b306270-4ae5-11e0-b742-001cc4c03286.html
concerned citizen too March 11, 2011 at 12:15 PM
Yeah.. but WHERE is this school (state?) is it IN California - or did they just report on this school from another state? How many students does this high school have in total? The article mentions they use a K-12 IB program... just plying devil's advocate here... before I forward this to others...
Lisa McLoughlin March 11, 2011 at 01:55 PM
The school is in California. http://www.ibo.org/school/003345/ Since it was authorized in 2008, this means the district began spending money on IB as early as 2005-2006. As you can see, St. Helena also adopted the IB MYP. This means that in 5 years, the district has spent well over a million dollars on this failed, unpopular, undesirable program. The school has an enrollment of 502 students, 42% Hispanic: http://shusd.schoolwires.com/1571101112115013140/lib/1571101112115013140/_files/09_SARC_Saint_Helena_USD_Saint_Helena_HS.pdf
Lisa McLoughlin March 11, 2011 at 02:03 PM
Take a look at the IB courses listed on the ibo school link above to see what the kids took IB exams in. Note what was NOT offered - No Physics No HL Math No HL Chemistry No HL French No Economics BUT - they did have HL Spanish. Imagine that!
Lisa McLoughlin March 11, 2011 at 02:14 PM
Here is the district's power-point on IB - the recommendation to continue the DP for one more year is the "poison pill" clause I referred to somewhere else in the IB regulations. http://shusd.schoolwires.com/shusd/lib/shusd/IB_in_St._Helena_2011-12_V2.pdf
Forever Hauppauge March 11, 2011 at 10:44 PM
How about some trivia? 6 degrees of separation, Stephen Kriss, Vice President of Rockville Centre's Board of Ed., husband to Patricia Sullivan Kriss has the IB program running in their school district. Ever notice that Patricia Sullivan Kriss' BMW has Vermont plates on it, their main residence, they live in Rockville Centre. You figure it out. AP is accepted at every college, IB certificates are not, 10 to 25 children would benefit from this out of a graduating class of about 350. Do the math. Mean while the district is already firing teachers, 5 at FB.
Lisa McLoughlin March 11, 2011 at 11:06 PM
G. Batista, I LOVE IB trivia!!! WOW - you made my day! There's ALWAYS a connection. These IB "change agents" are like a cancer. When Anna Hunderfund came to Locust Valley from Jericho, I had hope that she would get rid of IB. I failed to remember that her husband, the highest paid "retired" Superintendent on LI, James Hunderfund, had ushered IB into Commack. I call them the million dollar Supersucker couple! LOL!
niallasaorsa July 18, 2012 at 03:09 PM
very true, and the 44K is just the tip of the iceberg in costs it's actually probably more like 5 times that!
niallasaorsa July 18, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Here's a trivia question for you all. Name three Educational Experts/Theorists and then tell me what their political leanings are. Look up Bertrand Russel, Carlos Torres and Pablo Friere on the IBo.org site and then google them.
Jane Aitken July 19, 2012 at 09:38 PM
I find it interesting, after admitting lack of communication and proceeding without parents or taxpayers input, the conclusion is they will be going forward with it regardless of any objections. That's right, they don't care what you think, for the IB zealots the fix is in. This is typical. Dissenters should be ready to experience the Alinsky treatment. And they should read up on why this IB program is of NO EDUCATIONAL VALUE to your children. First, the IBO takes no responsibility for their learning. That's in writing. Your schools still must construct their own curriculum. Second, the academics are dumbed down through the use of 'constructivist' teaching methods (you'll have to look that up) that the teachers are trained to use. Third, the IBO does however, require that UNESCO's political agenda is the subject of all of your child's learning. That's right, UNESCO, a political organization from outside the country. Imagine that? I can't imagine a massive political organization like UNESCO running our schools, but alas, this is allowed?
Jane Aitken July 19, 2012 at 09:40 PM
If you don't believe Lisa or myself, take it from this UNESCO agent. She wrote this in defense of IB, but in reality, underscored everything we find wrong with it — It is run by an outside political organization with an agenda, influenced by corporations and their foundations. http://www.mvsd-ib.org/ib/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/JeanBernard.pdf Then avail yourself of how this works in practicum by perusing the rest of the site put up by the parents and taxpayers of this district. http://www.mvsd-ib.org/ib/ Finally, I am a 35-year veteran teacher and frankly I would refuse to teach like this. Instead of learning science and math, kids are taught to propagandize for social justice/redistribution of the wealth issues for UNESCO. Behold their projects: http://www.wacoisd.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=428&pageId=38300 Do your homework . Once this program invades your school, it is hard to get rid of.


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