Testimony continued Tuesday in the Senate Education Committee on legislation meant to provide local flexibility to the Michigan Merit Curriculum.
MEA submitted written testimony about SB 600-601, supporting the direction of the bills to provide greater flexibility for districts to design high school requirements that meet the needs of their communities and their students at the local level. But the testimony also flagged for lawmakers that MEA doesn’t support doing so at the expense of a well-rounded education that includes courses like foreign languages, the arts, and physical education and health.
“Much of this debate centers on how the Algebra II graduation requirement has derailed the academic progress of too many Michigan students,” the testimony reads. “But this issue goes beyond Algebra II – it has to do with the very premise of local control and districts providing the educational opportunities needed in their communities.”
By providing input on the favorable direction of the legislation while raising concerns about continued course offerings, MEA is looking ahead to further discussion in the Senate as well as with state representatives and the governor’s office.
“To be truly successful, we need a flexible curriculum that recognizes not all students are the same. One that embraces that both a student on a college prep path and one bound for further career and technical training equally deserve a rigorous and relevant high school experience.
“We cannot do that at the expense of a well-rounded education. We must ensure that all students have access to the variety of courses they have now, without stumbling blocks created by a rigid MMC. We can find the right balance, and we look forward to being part of those conversations.”
SB 600 and SB 601 – which drew opposition from other groups including the Betsy DeVos-founded Great Lakes Education Project – were not acted on today and remain in the Senate Education Committee for now. Stay tuned for more developments about this legislation or contact MEA lobbyist David Michelson with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.