Muskegon Superintendent To State: Make up Your Mind About Graduation Requirements

Andrew Trzaska | June 21, 2012

Requirements set forth by the State of Michigan to graduate high school have changed in recent years, and the State legislature is looking to change them again this year.

This continued shifting has earned the discontent of Muskegon Public Schools Superintendent Jon Felske.

At Tuesday’s board of education meeting, Felske used the district’s recent high school graduation two weeks ago to point out how curriculums have grown more challenging over time:

“To get a high school diploma today, they have the most stringent requirements ever… there used to be many options to get through high school. Everyone who walked across the stage a few weeks ago [at graduation] is in college-bound programs.”

Among the Michigan Merit Curriculum standards that have been upped in recent years, students currently need to pass Algebra II and two years of foreign language to graduate.

The House Education Committee in Lansing is taking testimony on multiple bills that would edit these standards again.  HB5451 and HB5534 would eliminate these courses and other curriculum requirements.  HB5645 will create an opt-out program for foreign language and Algebra II requirements.

Felske expressed to those in attendance Tuesday that the district would be in better shape if the state made up its mind about what is required, because the district needs to plan accordingly with staffing and advising:

“We just want to have someone set the rules and want to know what it is… We’re asking the State of Michigan to stop changing the rules and stick with something for our young men and women.”

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst