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Governor Signs Bills Establishing Rigorous High School Curriculum

April 20, 2006

$4,000 new Merit Award Scholarship is next step to help students, the economy

LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today signed legislation establishing a rigorous high school curriculum in Michigan, calling it an essential step in building a diverse economy that will help keep young people in the state.  The Governor also renewed her call for a $4,000 scholarship for all students to receive education or training beyond high school.         

“If Michigan is to compete in a global economy, we must have the best educated workforce in the nation to attract jobs and investment to our state,” Granholm said.  “This new challenging curriculum will help ensure that every student in Michigan is prepared for college or technical training when they finish high school.”

Granholm first called on Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan and the State Board of Education to develop the new curriculum standards last fall.  In her 2006 State of the State Address, the Governor called on the Legislature to adopt the recommendations approved by the State Board in December.  The legislation signed by the Governor requires:

  • four credits of math and English language arts;
  • three credits of science and social studies;
  • two credits of foreign language;
  • one credit of physical education and health;
  • one credit of visual, performing, or applied arts;
  • one online learning experience.

The requirements will be in place for incoming eighth graders in the fall of 2006.  The foreign language requirement, which can be fulfilled by coursework completed prior to high school, will be in place for students entering third grade in the fall of 2006.

“Ensuring that students graduate from high school with the tools they need to succeed in college or technical training is just the first step,” said Granholm.  “Now we must ensure that financial barriers don’t prevent students from getting the education they need.  We can do that by giving every student a $4,000 new Merit Award Scholarship.”

Granholm called for a new Merit Award Scholarship in her 2005 State of the State Address.  Earlier this year, Granholm and Senate leaders reached a tentative compromise, but no legislative action has yet been taken.  The scholarship, which was a key recommendation of the Cherry Commission on Higher Education and Economic Development, will give $4,000 to every Michigan student who successfully completes two years of higher education at a university, community college or in technical training.

Senate Bill 1124 (PA 124) was sponsored by Senator Wayne Kuipers (R-Holland) and House Bill 5606 (PA 123) was sponsored by Representative Brian Palmer (R-Romeo).

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