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Who's the bully on the IB playground?

by Aaron Hudlemeyer
| April 24, 2010 9:00 PM

Vern Harvey and Dan Dolezal deserve a round of applause for their IB, PYP column published on April 17. Together they have illustrated exactly the kinds of behavior and thinking the IB programs are designed to illicit.

Let's apply some IB logic to this letter:

Harvey and Dolezal claim that they embrace "the life skills that IB embeds in its learning" and that "IB promotes the teaching of listening to different perspectives; it does NOT promote adopting another's belief system."

They demonstrated this by beginning with a transparent attempt to psychologically manipulate opponents by lumping them all together with (speaking of "buzzwords") Aryans, KKK, conservatives, and conspiracy theorists. In the next paragraph they go on to attack Mr. Koler as an opportunist who simply seeks to "improve his resume" by propagating (another buzzword) his "anti-IB agenda" and that "[h]e and his wife want to take away other parents' rights to CHOOSE a school." They then close their diatribe by affirming that all opponents to IB are "playground bullies."

Hmmmm ... that doesn't sound like the promotion of listening to different perspectives to me and it certainly didn't make me feel good about my educated IB opinions. But then again, that was their intent after all. It sounded more like an ad hominem attack against well educated and prepared individuals who have valid and legitimate concerns. Where's the dialogue Mr. Harvey? Where's the respect, where's the cooperation, the integrity, the inquiry, the problem solving, the caring, the open-mindedness, the appreciation, the tolerance that you claim to embody? Is this how you "teach them [students] to be problem solvers"?

Have you thought about validating the Kolers' concerns and opening up intelligent dialogue with them to determine the points of discourse? Didn't Stephen Covey teach us that we should first seek to understand and then to be understood? How much research have you done on the evidence presented by the Kolers? Did you even look at it with an IB open-mind? Did you use your IB skills to engage in discussion? Somehow I doubt that you have.

You have attempted to distill this debate into one word: "choice." You made the most foolish and nonsensical of all statements when you said "[p]ublic education as it is, or as it has been, works or it doesn't" (a blatantly false statement) then said "if you want mediocrity, if you want rote over inquiry, then choose another school;" but what choice is that Mr. Harvey? It sounded to me like you said "choose our IB school or choose mediocrity." You have just insinuated that the only possible choice to bring our children into a higher degree of education is through IB; this sounds like indoctrination to me. Shame on you.

Your letter served only as a demonstration in lack of discernment and objectivity that opponents to the IB fear will become part of our children's future. Your hypocrisy has painted you as an instigator who has a "belief system" called IB that we should all subscribe to or fear being labeled by one of your grab bag smears. If you are going to label me Mr. Harvey, label me truth.

Your entire hypocritical foundation is sand on a beach; watch out here come the waves ...

Mr. Harvey, you have demonstrated your complete lack of IB principles, are you sure you're the right man for the job? You are the bully, are you preparing your resignation yet?

Aaron Hudlemeyer is a Coeur d'Alene resident.

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