Legislation Update - 05/21/2011


Summary

SB 532 (Hernandez), the CAWS co-sponsored bill, is scheduled for consideration by the Senate Floor on Wednesday, May 18, 2011.

CAWS leaders need to contact members of the state Senate no later than May 17, to urge them to vote “yes” on SB 532.

Comments

The IB provisions on the bill would:
encourage the Academic Senate for the California Community Colleges, the Academic Senate of the California State University, and the Academic Senate of the University of California to continue their efforts to adopt consistent system-wide guidelines for the acceptance and granting of credit for International Baccalaureate Diploma Program courses taken by students while they are in high school.

While we don’t have opposition on this bill, it is very important for you to contact your legislators and ask them to express their support for SB 532.

Key Talking Points

1. This legislation is needed because community colleges and CSUs do not have a consistent process in place to award credits for students who have completed International Baccalaureate courses. With no definite direction, the existing process is inconsistent, students unnecessarily take courses which extend their stay in the system, thus limiting opportunities for other students and ultimately increasing state costs.

2. The University of California gives credit for either an IB diploma or for individual IB exams. Students who receive IB certificates with scores of 5, 6, or 7 receive 8 quarter (5.3 semester) units. Designated examinations may be considered equivalent to UC freshman-level courses in the subject and may be used to satisfy general education or breadth requirements.

3. The California UC system and private colleges recognize the IB credits, there is no reason for California State Universities and community colleges not to award credits and standardize this process as well.

Who to Contact?

The State Senate roster may be found at http://senate.ca.gov/senators. Letters should clearly show “Support: SB 532” at the top (sample attached).

Our request is that you contact the Senator that represents your district.

“Contacts” from CAWS leaders should include both a letter and a phone call. The letter puts you formally on record and ensures that the legislator will have you listed as being in support of the bill. The phone call allows you to respond directly to any questions the legislator or his/her staff may have and emphasizes the importance of the bill.


Floor Support

On behalf of the California Association of International Baccalaureate World Schools (CAWS), I write to urge your support of SB 532 (Hernandez). Among other provisions, this bill would encourage the Academic Senates of the public higher educational system to continue their efforts to adopt consistent system-wide guidelines for the acceptance and granting of credit for International Baccalaureate Diploma Program courses taken by students while they are in high school.

When a high school student chooses to take International Baccalaureate courses, he or she has chosen to undertake a course of study that has been recognized as very rigorous. In fact, the academic content and rigor of the instruction and examinations is governed and continuously monitored by the International Baccalaureate Organization. Because of its academic rigor, students who complete coursework in the International Baccalaureate program are typically granted substantial advanced placement credit at the finest private colleges and universities in the nation.

The California State University and community colleges are not consistent in their acceptance and granting of credit for IB exams. This often leads to students having to retake courses in which they have already been judged proficient by the International Baccalaureate program.

The facts are:
  • The University of California gives credit for either an IB diploma or for individual IB exams. Students who receive IB certificates with scores of 5, 6, or 7 receive 8 quarter (5.3 semester) units. Designated examinations may be considered equivalent to UC freshman-level courses in the subject and may be used to satisfy general education or breadth requirements. Why should California state universities and community colleges not do the same?
  • Prospective community college and CSU students don’t know whether or not their IB classes will receive proper credit. With no definite direction, the existing process is inconsistent and unfair. Students unnecessarily take courses which extend their stay in the system, thus limiting opportunities for other students and ultimately increasing state costs.

The IB provisions of SB 532 work towards granting our students equal recognition for the rigorous and demanding coursework they complete in the International Baccalaureate program. The California UC System and private colleges recognize IB credits. California state universities and community colleges should award credits in the same manner and provide their students with the same opportunity.

For these reasons, we urge you to support SB 532 when it comes before the Senate floor.

Sincerely,

Sandra S. Morales, Legislative Advocate

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