LANSING, Mich. — The newly created subcommittee tasked with studying the Michigan Merit Curriculum (MMC) held its first meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss pending changes and updates to the state’s educational curriculum.

Since 2006, the state of Michigan has required students to obtain, as a condition of receiving a high school diploma, a minimum of 18 credits in eight specific subject areas. While school districts determine how to implement these requirements, the MMC allows flexibility to develop appropriate scheduling systems, curricula and courses to meet the individual needs and desires of each district.

“I think it’s important to review the state’s education curriculum every few years and adapt it to best meet the needs of Michigan’s students,” said Sen. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy, who chairs the new subcommittee. “My job as the committee chair is to facilitate discussion on what we did right, what we got wrong and how we can make this program better and more efficient.”

Previously, the state only required a civics class as a requisite for graduation. The state now requires science, English, math, government and economics in order to ensure that our schools are graduating competent, well-rounded individuals who have a vast array of experience and knowledge.

“We’ve made several strides since the curriculum’s inception,” Knollenberg said. “I firmly believe raising these standards will create students who are better suited for college and the real world challenges they will face beyond that.”

There has been a large push in recent years for educators, counselors, students and parents to consider options outside of the typical college degree as a pathway to success. Knollenberg says one of the main focuses is how career and technical education fits into Michigan’s curriculum currently and how we can improve that.

“I am approaching this review with an open mind. The subcommittee members and I have no preconceived legislative outcome beyond creating the most effective program we can,” Knollenberg said. “It’s up to us as policymakers to make sure students have access to a curriculum that gives them, as individuals, the best opportunity to succeed. I look forward to additional committee testimony, discussions with my colleagues and discussions with those in the education profession as we move toward a final product.”

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Editor’s Note: State Sen. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy and members of the newly formed Education subcommittee on the Michigan Merit Curriculum listen as former Lt. Gov John Cherry and former Senate Majority Leader Dick DeGrow testify on how the state can both improve the curriculum and offer opportunities for students beyond the traditional avenue of a college degree. A print-quality photograph of Thursday’s guest is available by clicking the image or by visiting the senator’s website at www.SenatorMartyKnollenberg.com. Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.