After a heated debate, the Utah Senate approved a bill Friday allowing the Board of Regents to give weighted consideration to credits earned by high school students in the International Baccalaureate program.
SB100 passed 21-7 with one absence and now goes to the Utah House.
Considered a cleanup measure to tighten requirements for students using state-sponsored college scholarships, the bill sparked debate Thursday on wording that would allow the Regents to weigh IB courses like Advanced Placement classes.
Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, who has previously called IB program “anti-American,” said Friday it requires school districts to give up “local control, state control and national control.”
“It’s expensive and it’s an international contract,” she said. The program, which is designed to prepare students for global careers, is based in Switzerland.
But Sen. Patricia Jones, R-Holladay, disagreed and said parents rely on the demanding coursework to challenge their children.
“Really the crux of this program is to teach creativity and creative thinking skills,” Jones said.
Sen. John Valentine, R-Provo, said he was worried because the program isn’t available at every school — it’s now at seven high schools in Utah — and the bill could give some students an advantage when seeking the scholarships. It would allow the Regents to weigh an IB course grade slightly higher in recognition of the increased difficulty.
But Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, pointed out that all accelerated programs for high school students have different levels of availability.
“This is something the students can do above and beyond,” he said. “Let’s not punish the student because their school decided to pursue IB.”