Michigan Merit Curriculum at Risk

A four-bill package moving through the Michigan House threatens to water down the Michigan Merit Curriculum. As highlighted in a recent editorial  in The Detroit News, since the 2006 adoption of the Merit Curriculum, high school graduation rates have increased and dropout rates have decreased.

Among other changes, the package of bills, House Bills 4315-4318, would eliminate a requirement that students take a world language, would allow the use of occupational safety and health training to satisfy physical education and health class requirements, and changes high school math graduation requirements.

Adopted in 2006, the Michigan Merit Curriculum established a baseline of credits that high school students needed in order to graduate from high school. A personal curriculum option exists to provide schools with flexibility, based on student needs.

Dodson: Every young person wants to succeed. Stop the narrative they don’t and set up systems to help them succeed.

Cultivating talent means creating an infrastructure of opportunity. That was the takeaway message from an event by the Detroit Regional Chamber last week on Detroit Drives Degrees, the Chamber’s initiative to advance access to postsecondary options, boost student success, and attract and retain talent in the Detroit area.

Keynote speaker David Dodson, president of MDC presented a clear case of the connection between postsecondary credential and economic success. Dodson also participated in a panel discussion with Amber Arellano, executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest and Bill Huffaker, global director of talent acquisition at General Motors, moderated by Brandy Johnson, director of the Michigan College Access Network on educational access and success.

Education Makes a Difference: Percent of Non-College Graduate Adult Children with Income in the bottom quintile: 47 percent. Percent of College Graduate Adult Children with Income in the bottom quintile: 10 percent. Source: The Pew Charitable Trusts. Copyright © 2017 MDC

“Postsecondary degrees drive per capita income,” said Sandy Baruah, CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “You can’t raise one without the other.”

Noteworthy News

Capital Update

House Workforce and Talent Development met today at 9 a.m. in Room 326 of the House Office Building. Agenda: House Bills 43154318, a package of bills that would make significant changes to the Michigan Merit Curriculum. The Education Trust-Midwest is opposed to these bills.

House School Aid and Education Committee meets today at 10:30 a.m. in Room 352 of the State Capitol Building. Agenda: HB 4234 and 4235 (Kelly – R) regarding the Department of Education and School Aid budgets.

Senate Education Committee meets today at noon in room 1300 of the Binsfeld Building. Agenda: Senate Bill 271(Knollenberg – R), which would permit schools to begin session prior to Labor Day.

Senate K-12, School Aid and Education Appropriations Subcommittee meets tomorrow, Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. in the Harry T. Gast Appropriations Room on the 3rd Floor of the State Capitol Building. Agenda: Decisions on FY 2017-18 Budgets for School Aid and the Department of Education, Senate Appropriations Bills.

House Education Reform Committee meets Thursday, March 30 at 9 a.m. in room 521 of the House Office Building. Agenda: HB 4166 (Whiteford –R) regarding provisions providing employment preferences for certain personnel in special education programs and HB 4314 (Hornberger – R) regarding the election of intermediate school boards.

Tweet of the Week

@EdTrustMidwest: "Teachers are the linchpin of our educational system. We should be doing more to support our teachers." -@JohnBKing @EdTrust #michEd