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Mich. House, Senate Back Plan to Make Algebra II Optional

Michigan high schoolers could skip a required Algebra II course with their parents' consent under a bill headed to the desk of Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm, reports the Detroit Free Press.

The bill won overwhelming majorities last week in both the state House and Senate.

The Free Press story explains that critics say the Algebra II mandate, added as part of changes to the statewide curriculum several years back, prompts many struggling math students to drop out of school. The bill would allow students instead to take an alternative math course, such as statistics or data analysis.

"If someone has very good math skills, then they probably should take higher-level math courses," Rep. Joel Sheltrown, a Democrat, was quoted as saying in the bill's favor. "I'm worried about those kids that don't have those skills."

The story notes that Gov. Granholm and others who championed the original Algebra II requirement have said it would raise expectations for students and better prepare them for college.

It's not clear from the story whether Gov. Granholm, a Democrat, would sign the bill. A separate article from the Associated Press did indicate that Granholm has resisted changes to the state's graduation standards.

I've left a message with the governor's press office and will post an update if I learn more.

UPDATE: I finally heard back from the governor's office. The official word from a spokeswoman was that the governor is "currently reviewing the bill."

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