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MONDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Good education presents realistic view of world

A Decatur mother raised an important issue during a meeting about the International Baccalaureate Program.

Darlene Rath, a patriot who has five children — one of whom is serving in Iraq — was concerned about European influence on IB. The program has roots in Switzerland. Austin High School’s IB coordinator, Susan Giguere, said a trip to Russia had heightened her awareness that people in different parts of the world look at the same events and issues differently. People there refer to World War II (as we call it in the United States) as the Revolution for Independence, she said.

That war was tragic for both the United States and Russia, but Russia’s experience was much different from ours because part of the war was fought on Russian soil. The Soviet Union, of which Russia was a part, lost more than 22 million lives (military and civilian). U.S. deaths totaled about 420,000.

School officials had a good answer to Ms. Rath’s concern: that IB teaches students that there are other ways to look at political or historic events than the American point of view. This approach is realistic, not unpatriotic.

Future diplomats and international business people, among others, need to learn in high school how the rest of the world views us and why some people behave quite differently from Americans. That’s the only way we can make our nation secure and deal effectively with other nations.

An informed view of the world will convince most students that the United States has one of the best political systems, which will enhance patriotism.

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