State Government Relents, Eases Requirements

Contributed by Mr. H on Apr 01, 2007 - 08:00 AM

news [1]

LANSING, MICHIGAN (AP) - April 1, 2007 - In a surprise move, Jennifer Granholm, Governor of the State of Michigan issued an Executive Order on Sunday, April 1, 2007 delaying the implementation of the recently approved graduation requirements for the class of 2011. The delay indefinitely postpones the implementation of the rigorous requirements that had recently been proposed by her own Lieutenant Governor, John D. Cherry, Jr. and his "Cherry Commission" and then later voted into law by the Michigan Legislature.

The required curriculum had been hailed by Republicans and Democrats alike as a needed level of accountability for Michigan's public school students, but provided little room in a student's life for experimentation and exploration of other fields such as the Arts and courses such as Computer Programming. The lack of this flexibility was the ultimate reason that Granholm decided the new Curriculum was not feasible.

Granholm said, "I've been listening to to the many parent and students that have contacted me regarding the new requirements. They indicated that they really wanted their students to take more Physical Education and Computer classes. It occurred to me that students really need to have a reason to attend school other than Math and Science. I mean, seriously, when ARE you going to need to know Algebra? I haven't used a shred of Chemistry since the day I graduated. I bet most Michigan adults today couldn't compute the value of X when compared to Y, so why should that matter to our students?"

Granholm has proposed a more comprehensive required curriculum that emphasizes life skills while making sure education is FUN. This new proposed curriculum includes 1 year of basic arithmetic, 1 year of animal husbandry, 1 year of cultural awareness (with an emphasis on 21st Century History) and 1 year of lyrics and song writing (including one semester of Rap) as a Core of Traditional subjects. The curriculum is extended to include 4 years of Instrumental Music, 4 years of Art (including 2 years of drawing and painting and at least 1 year of sculpture), 4 years of Drama (including 1 year of technical theater), 4 years of Vocal Music (including one year of American Idol-style solo singing), 2 years of Industrial Education, 2 years of Computer Instruction, 2 years of Physical Education (including one semester of Swimming) and 2 years of German (students are welcome to substitute Arabic).

Because the total requirements exceed the twenty-four credits typically available to a student in the traditional six-period school day, Granholm concurrently announced that all Michigan School Districts would immediately receive funds to lengthen their school day to an eight period day. This would allow student to meet the mandatory 28-credit curriculum, and still have four credits with which to 'explore' other areas that interest them.

"I understand that some students really have an interest in subjects like Physics and World History. I have no desire to squelch that interest and so I have provided room in the new state requirement for students to take four credits of anything they want. I believe all student interests should be accommodated wherever possible," said Granholm.

Granholm also stated that she will be working with State Colleges such as Michigan State University and the University of Michigan as well as all Community Colleges to revise their entrance requirements to match the new State Requirements. The Governor has established a Panel of University Regents and Presidents to discuss the matter with regard to their continued State funding. "We feel that since the State Government essentially pays their bills, that we should have a more direct impact on their curriculum as well. Colleges can no longer simply allow students to study anything they choose. Too many college students graduate with no real idea of what they want to do when they 'grow up.' I just don't feel the Government is realizing any of the value we have invested in these young men and women. We need to change that starting today," stated Granholm.

Granholm also announced that she and the State Legislature had come to an agreement on the State Budget that would meet the new burdens of the additional requirements imposed today. "We will be shifting funding from our highest-funded districts to our lowest-funded districts. I can't see why we didn't see this before, it is really common sense. How can it be considered 'fair' for a student on one side of the street be 'worth more' than a student on the other side of the street? That's just criminal.

"In addition, we will be heavily taxing Gambling,' said Granholm. "There are a lot of people who have won a lot of of money in our state-sponsored gambling establishments in Mt. Pleasant, Detroit, Traverse City and elsewhere. We feel an appropriate 'windfall tax' of 50% will more than balance our state budget for the next ten to twenty years."

Senate Majority Leader, Republican Mike Bishop, could not be reached for comment.

For additional information on this story, please see this story on the State of Michigan Government Website [2].