High school changes should be monitored

We’re tempted to add to the support that’s swelling for a package of bills that cleared the State House of Representatives late last week. The measures make changes in the requirements needed to graduate from high school in the state of Michigan.

According to reports, credit requirements that currently exist in health education, English, science and mathematics, for example, would be supplanted by credits in statistics and computer coding, among other areas. Rather than requiring specific math classes, students would be given choices, based on what they thought their education and employment futures might hold. Additionally, vocational opportunities would be available.

Some school administrators have voiced support. So has the Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan. We have reservations, though.

The idea, at least as we understand it, is to change graduate requirements in a way that best suits individual students. Recognizing that not everyone is a good candidate to attend college, the bills will allow more students to leave high school, better prepared for what comes next. And while all of that sounds very positive, lessening math and English requirements for graduation should concern everyone. These are skills that everyone needs to know to make their way in the world long term, not just immediately after high school.

The bills now head to the state Senate for what we hope will be significant public debate before any vote is taken. It will be a process we, and we trust a great many others, will observe with interest.

— The Mining Journal, Marquette