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Educators back bill on more flexibility in graduation requirements

School superintendents in Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties are backing legislation that would give schools and students more flexibility in earning credits towards high school graduation.

The bill, sponsored by State Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo, allows high school students to take more courses they are genuinely interested in and permits districts to offer courses that best fit their students’ needs. The bill drops Algebra II as a required course for graduation.

“Michigan public high schools have one of the most prescriptive graduation requirements in the nation,” according to an endorsement letter from the Michigan Talent Triangle, which represents superintendents in Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties. “Every day, we see the negative impact of this ‘one size fits all’ approach where students must forego their interest areas in an effort to satisfy the state’s mandated curricular requirements.”

Senate Bill 600-1 still requires four mathematics credits, four English language arts credits, three social science credits, three science credits and four elective credits to graduate. Michigan is one of three states in the U.S. that require completion of Algebra II to graduate.

The bill, which was referred to the Senate Committee on Education and Career Readiness, also has been endorsed by the Tri-County Alliance for Public Education, which represents school superintendents in Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties.

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James Harger
James Harger
James Harger left School News Network in January of 2020. James previously reported on West Michigan's economy, courts and politics for The Grand Rapids Press and Mlive.com for more than 37 years. He also is employed as Servanthood Leader at Immanuel Lutheran Church in downtown Grand Rapids. A graduate of Central Michigan University, he also has worked for publications in Holland, Mount Pleasant and Lansing. He is married to Lisa and has one daughter, who lives in Ann Arbor.


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  1. What’s worse is if they complete any of those credits in middle school because they are bright they don’t count toward the required count and still have to find more to fill the requirement because they didn’t complete them in high school. My son thought he was doing good getting ahead and opening his schedule for things he wanted to take in high school by taking the math in middle school. Nope.


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