10 May 2010

Granholm sent Bill to Give Michigan High School Students more Math Options


LANSING -- The Michigan Legislature has passed a bill that would give high school students more options to avoid taking algebra II and still graduate.

The bill would let students substitute a statistics or data analysis class in place of the advanced algebra class. The legislation passed the House by a 104-3 vote and passed the Senate by a 32-3 vote on Thursday.

The legislation now goes to Gov. Jennifer Granholm for her consideration. Granholm's administration has resisted changes to the graduation standards.

Some lawmakers have sought to remove algebra II from the list of typical graduation requirements ever since the tougher standards were signed into law four years ago.

One size does not fit all, said Rockford Superintendent Michael Shibler. Students should be required to take four math courses in order to graduate, he said, but ones based on each student's ability and interest.

The bill wouldn't completely resolve the issue, he said, but it would give students more choices. "If they can come through with an alternative to algebra II, it's at least a step in the right direction," he said.

About 25 percent of high school students statewide have failed one or more of their graduation requirement classes, said Kent Intermediate Assistant Superintendent Ron Koehler, who echoed Shibler's opinion.

"We think some alternatives are very helpful or very positive for students who may be good students but may be challenged by the rigor of algebra II," he said.

The stricter standards for graduation kick in with the class of 2011.

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