As the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are gradually integrated into the American public school system, some schools in the United States are looking eastward. As of 2012, 342 schools have officially adopted the International Baccalaureate (IB) standards, a set of educational standards developed in 1968. The IB approach to learning is more “inquiry based,” meaning that it is designed to be more tailored to the learning needs of the individual student. The IB standards have, since 1968, served as an international educational standard for schools all over the world, but only since 2009 has IB been used in North America. However, there are now more IB schools in North America than there are in Europe, where the program originated and is based.

Some educators at IB schools heavily critique the CCSS curriculum: “I would say IB has been well ahead of the common core in [math] in particular,” says David Weber, an IB math teacher in San Diego, CA. According to Drew Deutsch, IB’s regional director for the Americas, many IB educators see the CCSS as “catching up” to IB’s standards.

On the flip side, Christine Tell, director of state services for Achieve’s American Diploma Project (ADP), recently spoke at a conference on the alignment of CCSS with IB standards: “The standards have been adopted, and I would maintain that was the easy part. IB is an incredibly important, critical part of the way forward.”

However, the IB curriculum has not been met with an entirely positive reaction in the United States. In 2012, an anti-IB education bill was introduced to (and subsequently rejected by) the New Hampshire State Legislation in the spring of 2012. Supporters of the bill were concerned that IB education, by promoting the idea of “world schools,” undermined the principle that public education must promote “state and national sovereignty and is not subject to the governance of a foreign body or organization.”

Although the tension between IB and CCSS seems to be causing something of an educational turf war, most of this tension is perceived; after all, the IB association itself is very supportive of the implementation of CCSS. In 2012, they released a statement applauding “the efforts of the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to improve the quality of education across the United States.” The IB was pleased to have been “selected as one of five sets of standards against which the Common Core was measured by education experts to determine its success in meeting its goals.”

Schools do not necessarily have to choose between CCSS and IB; some schools are adopting IB methods in addition to CCSS. By combining CCSS, which contains a framework adopted by a majority of states and territories, with IB’s inquiry-based approach, it seems these schools are attempting to offer their students the best of both worlds.

Further Reading
“Educators Tout IB’s Links to Common Core,” Education Week.
“Expanding Student Access to a Rigorous International Education: An IB Position Paper on the Common Core State Standards CCSS,” International Baccalaureate website.
“IB and the Common Core State Standards,” International Baccalaureate website.” title=””International Baccalaureate (IB) Applauds U.S. Efforts to Improve Education,””]“International Baccalaureate (IB) Applauds U.S. Efforts to Improve Education,”[/url] Newswise.
“N.H. Bill to Ban International Baccalaureate Program Is Defeated,” Education Week Blogs.