Governor signs Stamas high school flexibility bill

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday signed Sen. Jim Stamas’ bill to ensure students will have flexibility in meeting the state’s high school graduation requirements.

“Now more than ever, it’s clear that education is not a one-size-fits-all process for our students,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “This reform ensures that Michigan’s current and future high school students will have flexibility in choosing the best course of study for them to learn, graduate and prepare for successful careers.”

In 2006, Michigan adopted one of the nation’s most rigorous sets of high school graduation requirements. The Michigan Merit Curriculum (MMC) requires students to complete a minimum of 18 credits in eight specific subject areas in order to receive a high school diploma.

Under a Stamas bill signed in 2018, high school students can substitute a career-tech course or an arts class for the second required foreign language credit to meet the MMC requirements until 2024. Senate Bill 171 removes the sunset, making the flexibility permanent.

“Enabling students to count an additional applied career and technology class toward their graduation can allow them to try new and interesting areas of study and help meet our economy’s growing demand for skilled talent,” Stamas said.

Many education and business groups supported SB 171, including the Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Education Association, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, and Michigan Manufacturers Association.

“Farmers understand the rigor and intensity that happens in a career and technical education or FFA program,” said Michigan Farm Bureau President Carl Bednarski. “We applaud the leadership of Sen. Stamas, who helped ensure students now and into the future have the flexibility to enroll in a CTE program while meeting their curriculum requirements.”