Muskegon County superintendents testify in support of Bumstead education reforms

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jon Bumstead welcomed Fruitport Public Schools Superintendent Bob Szymoniak and Oakridge Public Schools Superintendent Thomas Livezey to Lansing on Tuesday to testify in support of his legislation that would reform the Michigan Merit Curriculum (MMC).

“Our current requirements don’t always allow students to focus on something they find interesting or excel at,” said Bumstead, R-Newaygo. “In some cases, this limits creativity and does nothing to prepare students for the future.”

The MMC went into effect in 2006 and created statewide requirements for all high school students. Prior to the MMC being adopted, graduation requirements were left up to the local school districts.

Senate Bills 600 and 601 would eliminate some specific merit curriculum requirements and once again place control of these decisions in the hands of local districts. Specifically, the bills would eliminate the algebra II requirement, giving students the chance to take other classes that might better prepare them for their future.

“For years, a four-year degree was pushed as the only avenue to success, and that is simply not true,” Bumstead said. “There are countless available careers in the trades, and many companies are desperate for qualified workers. Allowing for more flexibility in a student’s graduation requirements would provide more opportunities for students to enroll in career and technical education or skilled trades training.”

Bumstead said he looks forward to discussions about the issue with interested teachers, administrators and parents.

“I want to thank superintendents Szymoniak and Livezey for making the trip to Lansing this morning and for supporting these reforms,” Bumstead said. “This needs to be an effort that involves educators, administrators, parents and students, and I am happy they lent their time and were willing to be a part of this process. I look forward to hearing more input from folks in my district and across the state.”

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Editor’s note: A print-quality photograph of Bumstead welcoming Tuesday’s guests is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at www.SenatorJonBumstead.com. Click on “Photos” under the “In the News” tab.

Photo caption one: Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo, welcomed Fruitport Public Schools Superintendent Bob Szymoniak (right) and Oakridge Public Schools Superintendent Thomas Livezey (left) to Lansing on Tuesday to testify in support of his legislation reforming the Michigan Merit Curriculum.

Photo caption two: Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo, explains the importance of Senate Bills 600 and 601 to members of the Senate Committee on Education and Career Readiness Tuesday afternoon.