by Scott McClallen
Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D–Flint, and state Rep. Julie M. Rogers, D–Kalamazoo, are sponsoring bills aimed to allow high schoolers earn their diploma without Algebra II.
Currently, Michigan students must complete Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and a math elective to graduate. Bill proponents argue these math requirements are often excessive for students who don’t plan to enter a field requiring advanced math and will instead need to understand interest, student loan payments, and how to complete taxes.
The bills seek to allow high schoolers options to replace two math credits with courses, including accounting, business math, trigonometry, precalculus, financial literacy, or another Career Technical Education approved curriculum.
Under the bills, Algebra II would remain an option for students.
“Math literacy will always be a critical part of a complete high school education, but that doesn’t mean every kid needs to walk the same path to achieve success,” Ananich said in a statement. “Our goal with this legislation is to set students up to achieve their education goals and a fulfilling career. Whether you want to be a carpenter, a chemist, a nurse or a state legislator, we want you to start your career on the right foot with the tools you need.”
Bill supporters argue this flexibility would apply to a wider variety of academic disciplines and career choices other than science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
“Allowing flexibility around the courses needed to fulfill graduation requirements will empower our students to pursue the options that make the most sense for their individualized success and professional goals,” Rogers said in a statement. “In our ever-evolving economy, financial literacy continues to be an area that needs to be uplifted. We can help ensure this need remains at the forefront by providing more options for students within the menu of mathematics courses.”
The bills have been referred to the Senate and House Committees on Education.
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.