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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