"Why AP is Better for Your Child Than IB"
Posted by Richard N. Rickey on 3/31/2016
Here at Orenda Education, we believe the Advanced Placement (“AP”) curriculum we offer is a better
option to train young minds than the International Baccalaureate (“IB”) programme. If you want to
assure your child is truly ready for academic success in college, both the AP and IB offer the very best in
college preparatory curriculum. Both AP and IB offer a more challenging college level of course work
than non AP and non IB classes. Studies show that students who successfully complete AP or IB courses
are significantly more likely to be successful in college and to graduate on time (or early) and with higher
grades. However, I have concerns about the growth of the IB program here in America.
A growing number of parents are enrolling their children in “IB World Schools” that are authorized by
the Geneva, Switzerland based International Baccalaureate Organization (“IBO”) to offer the IB
programme here in America. Here in Williamson and Travis County, we have several schools which
now offer the IB programme. You might want to ask why this is happening, and whether or not this is
positive development here in America.
My biggest concern with this trend is that it may eventually eliminate a common pride shared among
our youth of what are uniquely American values. I believe the IB values and curriculum taught reflect a
more universal, relativistic and even socialist view, while the AP values and curriculum more consistently
reflect the founding values of the United States of America.
The IB curriculum de-emphasizes ones nationality in our case, U.S.A. nationality, and overemphasizes the
values of a new “worldliness” as reflected for example in the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) “A
Continuum of International Education”, that states the IB values as: “In developing an awareness of diverse
values of different cultures, it is, however, fundamental that students in each IBO programme are exposed to
those human values which are recognized as universal; these embodied in the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948”.
What is taught and emphasized matters. This is an important point that isn’t mentioned enough in our
politically correct environment.
Many families have no idea what is taught in many IB classes. The IB programme, and the IB “World Schools”
that offer the IB programme, have a history traced to the International School of Geneva in 1924. IB was founded
under the League of Nations to educate the children of the League of Nations delegates. Currently the IB office
is registered in Geneva, Switzerland and both UNESCO and the United Nations are partners with and influence
IB. In contrast, the Advanced Placement curriculum was developed by the College Board. The College Board is
an American private nonprofit corporation, currently headquartered in New York City, formed in 1899 to expand
access to higher education for students in the United States of America.
Most importantly, every educational system has a moral goal that it tries to attain and that informs its
curriculum. In the beginning schooling in America was free of government interference. The term
“education” appears nowhere in the Constitution. Education was the duty and concern of parents.
What kind of person do you want your child to be? What do you want them to learn? When
government run public education took hold our schools used to invite students to take their seats in a
shared American culture. We didn’t allow a left-or-right-wing slant. Our public school's mission was in
part to produce students sufficiently proud and knowledgeable of this country and ready to take care of
it. While some will justifiably argue to get rid of public schools, if we are going to keep them, we believe
the principles behind the forming of the College Board, and the AP curriculum employed at Gateway
College Prep, are closer to our Founders view of how to train young minds than the International
Finally, IB is expensive to implement (teacher training, program fees, certification, travel, administrative
costs, etc) and would increase our current instructional costs by 6%. We are also critical that more of
our American education dollars are going to support an organization in Geneva, Switzerland with its own
agenda, and whose values often contradict our Constitution.
Costly boutique educational programs like IB are not needed. With full adoption of the American
College Board Advanced Placement curriculum, schools like Gateway College Prep do provide an
exceptional academic foundation for college readiness, and preparation for success in a global world.
To read more detail on the AP versus IB comparison, both good and bad, please click here.