House Passes Bill to Reduce Math Requirement

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

Ninety-seven yays to just 10 nays in the state house might equal a change in Michigan classrooms.

Wednesday legislators passed a bill that would require just three years of math to graduate -- instead of the now-required four -- making algebra two an elective, allowing students to replace it with a career tech or financial responsibility class.

"The legislation allows for a more integrated curriculum," Chris Fisher said.

Fisher, president of Associated Builders and Contractors, is all for the change. He said not everyone will head to a four year college, and at least some could prepare for good paying jobs in construction.

"Now people interested in technical or vocational construction career fields can take classes more relevant to those fields," Fisher said.

But parents seem to be divided on the subject. Some argue kids need to be challenged so they're prepared for their academic future -- others say students need to be ready for real life.

"I mean having a better understanding of your finances will better prepare you for life than algebra two," Lansing Parent Michael Enslin said.

"I think you need it, it better prepares you for college," Nancy VanNote said.

"You use math in your everyday life, you use math," Sara McFarland said.

Fisher said on top of reading, writing and arithmetic, relevance to the real world is just as important.

"A square peg in a round hole isn't always best," he said. "We have an opportunity for people to explore options in an integrated curriculum that best matches their skill set. That's going to be key to training a well-equipped work force."

The Senate also passed a similar bill. Now the bills will head to opposite houses for discussion.

The state changed graduation requirements about two years ago to require the four years of math. The class of 2011 is the first to try it out.


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  • by Chris Location: dug out cave in Mason on Sep 6, 2009 at 08:38 PM
    Lets see, there is already educated people without jobs. They know jobs won't be coming to michigan, so why not dumb down the rest that are left.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 3, 2009 at 08:55 PM
    Great, now they'll have more time for more useful classes like art, ceramics and cooking.
  • by Carol Location: East Lansing on Sep 3, 2009 at 03:59 PM
    I look forward to having the law changed. I think it will suit our students better. There are other reforms that would go further to ensure quality education for our students.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 3, 2009 at 10:46 AM
    The state should have two levels of high completion. The minimum to get a certificate of completion and one that would be equal to a first years freshman college course.
  • by Dave Location: Litchfield on Sep 3, 2009 at 09:50 AM
    I commented on this issue in WILX's "Do Students Really Need Algebra II" story. This story here is essentially the same. Has WILX ever considered just updating the first story instead of posting two seperate stories. Also, by doing this, it would help keep the comments on the story's issue in one place. One could get a better 'feel' for what our fellow viewers think and believe. I also agree with a comment from the other story concerning the poll, why are the choices only Education or Public Safety? I think a better way to balance the budget would to be cut the salaries of our top government officials and their staff to a maximum of $50K / year.
  • by Nancy Location: Lansing on Sep 3, 2009 at 09:03 AM
    Yea, we don't have a state budget and government might shut down, but vote so our kids don't have to take as many math classes. That is really important!
  • by Shell Location: Grass Lake on Sep 2, 2009 at 08:27 PM
    My daughter is in the class of 2011, and trying to wrangle in enough credits to graduate has been difficult. She'd much rather take AP English than have to choke down another Algebra class in her already-tight schedule.
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