Welcome to the International Baccalaureate

I can tell that you are not from around these parts, so I will give you the lay of the land. We have the brilliant ones in Science Olympiad, the rhetoricians of Speech & Debate, and the raucous Student Council kids. But we also have the kids in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

“What’s the IB program?,” you ask. Tragically, you are not alone. Every second, someone on the globe asks this question, and every second, we gain a new follower…

The International Baccalaureate is a non-profit organization founded in Geneva, Switzerland in 1968. The IB offers the specific IB Diploma Programme (IBDP), a two-year program spanning junior and senior year that is taught in over 140 countries, including here at Harriton High School. At the end, students are assessed in six subjects, scored from 1 to 7. A total of 24 points can earn you the IB diploma, which is internationally recognized for entry into higher education.

But things are not what they seem. We carry a dark secret within our souls: we want to take over the world. For goodness’s sake, our mission statement is, “The International Baccalaureate® aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.” Is there anything more obvious?

We begin the indoctrination process when the students are young. We slither into English 2H classes to espouse our propaganda. After all, more than two-thirds of cult members are recruited by a friend, family member, or coworker. It simply makes the offer harder to refuse.

Once they have drunk the Kool-Aid, we hit them with the IB Learner Profile. The doctrine lays out the ten character traits that the IB values in its members: Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk-takers, Balanced, and Reflective.

Discipline is necessary to carry out our mission to ensure that it is difficult to escape the pyramid scheme once you are in it. The diploma is the dangling carrot, which is either graciously lowered or yanked away after the two grueling years. If you are not careful, the IB will exploit your time and energy. That is, if you let it…

We walk among you. We have our own secret language. You may have heard us using IB lexicon: EE, IA, IBO, CAS, HOA, TOK, and TOB. It’s an alphabet soup of letters that makes us feel smart. We love to emphasize our focus on research and critical thinking (unlike the inferior AP). A form of moral masturbation on our part perhaps, but honesty is the best policy. In what other class could you conduct a psychology experiment on your peers or discuss the death of the American Dream for weeks on end?

We are directed by Mr. Tom O’Brien (TOB), the jolly man who strolls through the hallways and waves amicably, our leader. While he appears good-humored, peace was never an option. He makes sure that even the weakest link stays on track for the diploma so that our plans of world domination will not be foiled.

Is it a culture or a cult, you ask? They say that the synthesis of cult and time is religion. My friend, the pressure is on you to find out.