Virginia Senate Bill Addresses IB, AP Parity
By SCOTT TAYLOR
Falls Church Times Staff
Attention International Baccalaureate parents, alumni, and students registered to vote in the Commonwealth of Virginia: the George Mason High School PTSA wants you to mobilize in support of Virginia State Senate Bill 209. The bill, which will be considered by committee this Thursday, January 28, 2010, seeks comparable credit for IB and AP courses at all of Virginia’s public colleges and universities.
The legislation, which is being championed by the Mid-Atlantic Association of IB World Schools, addresses one of the frustrations IB students face if they choose to attend college in Virginia. When these freshmen present their high school transcripts to some Virginia schools, they are not awarded college credit for courses that their fellow IB graduates are receiving credit for at some of the nation’s leading colleges and universities.
The Mason PTSA is urging residents of the City of Falls Church to contact State Senator Mary Margaret Whipple and express their support for SB 209. The Health and Education Committee will take up the bill on Thursday and IB supporters would like to see it moved forward for consideration by the full Senate.
State Senator Whipple can be reached at: (804) 698-7531; or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on SB 209: www.ibmidatlantic.org
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The following is the text of a letter written to IB parents urging their support for SB 209.
Dear International Baccalaureate Parent,
Today, Thursday, January 21, 2010, the Virginia Senate Sub-Committee on Higher Education reviewed Senate Bill 209, which states, “each institution of higher education shall have policies for course credit for standard and higher level International Baccalaureate courses that are comparable to its policies for granting course credit for Advanced Placement courses.” This Bill barely made it out of the sub-committee and will face greater scrutiny at the Senate Committee on Education and Health hearing Thursday, January 28, 2010.
The Mid-Atlantic Association of IB World Schools believes that passage of this bill would result in a more critical analysis of the rigor and performance of students on both standard level and higher level IB assessments by all of Virginia’s public colleges and universities. While some Virginia colleges and universities have progressive policies that recognize the rigor and benefits of an IB education, other universities including The University of Virginia, The College of William and Mary, and George Mason University have policies that do not give similar weight to IB SL subjects that they award to comparable AP courses. We feel that this practice sends an unintended message to parents that the IB is inferior to the Advanced Placement Courses offered by the College Board. In fact, a Thomas B. Fordham Institute examination that compared IB standard level course curricula and assessments with their AP counterpart revealed that IB STANDARD LEVEL courses were either equivalent to or considered more rigorous than their AP counterparts. In addition to this, there are many studies that support the performance and retention rates of IB graduates at universities around the world.
For these reasons, we need your help. We are asking you to immediately contact your State Senator to let them know that you would like them to strongly support SB 209 and urge the Senate Committee on Health and Education to move the Bill for full Senate consideration. The Senate Committee on Health and Education will discuss and vote on this Bill at a hearing Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 8:30am. Included with this letter you find the contact information for the members of the Senate Committee on Health and Education, in addition to your local State Senator. You can learn more about SB 209 and how you can help by visiting the IB Mid-Atlantic website at www.IBMidAtlantic.com .
Brian Bassett Asheesh Misra
President, IB-MA President-Elect, IB-MA
By Scott Taylor
January 24, 2010