New laws expand students’ class choices

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Johnson, McBroom bills expand state curriculum for voc ed

State Rep. Joel Johnson delivers comments during the governor's signing of his legislation updating the state's Merit Curriculum to include more flexibility for career and vocational high school courses.

State Rep. Joel Johnson delivers comments during the governor’s signing of his legislation that updates the Michigan Merit Curriculum to include more flexibility for career and vocational high school courses.

Michigan high school students can have career and vocational technology course options more easily count toward graduation with the signing of Public Acts 208 and 209 today by Gov. Rick Snyder.

State Reps. Joel Johnson of Clare and Ed McBroom of Vulcan have worked for more than three years to adjust the Michigan Merit Curriculum so school district can offer students more opportunities for education exploration and career training.

McBroom’s House Bill 4465 allows math and other curriculum requirements to be satisfied by CTE courses that include the same lesson materials. Johnson sponsored House Bill 4466, now PA 209 of 2014, to ensure students and parents are informed about career and technical education options. The law also streamlines the personal curriculum development process.

State Reps. Joel Johnson and Ed McBroom attended a June 25 ceremony with Gov. Rick Snyder to see their legislation allowing schools to count certain career and vocational education courses toward graduation requirements be signed into law.

State Reps. Joel Johnson and Ed McBroom attended a June 25 ceremony with Gov. Rick Snyder to see their legislation allowing schools to count certain career and vocational education courses toward graduation requirements be signed into law.

“Career and vocational ed courses were a strong component of Michigan’s school systems for decades, but in recent times have been squeezed out because of limited time and resources in the school day,” Johnson said. “Our local educators and parents recognized the loss and disservice this does to students.  It’s important not only to have the CTE option available, but to also actively inform students and families of the opportunity.”

Johnson’s legislation also allows high school graduation credit requirements to include vocational education course work, including using anatomy and agri-science courses for science requirements, while McBroom’s bill also promotes availability of foreign language courses prior to high school grades.

“The state’s curriculum has been geared with course mandates for students pursuing college degrees, but that path isn’t practical for all children and their families,” said McBroom, sponsor of the new Public Act 208 of 2014. “For those students, they need an option that allows freedom for elective classes and job training skills that will be useful to their future growth, development and potential employment.”

The bills were signed at the Dakota High School in Macomb, part of the Chippewa Valley School District’s career and technical education programs.

Rep. Joel Johnson was joined at the bill signing with Gov. Rick Snyder by his wife, Dawn Johnson; local educators Doug Pummell, Clare-Gladwin RESD Career Center director, Darren Kroczaleski, Arenac Eastern School District and Standish-Sterling Community School District superintendent, Mike Foster, Perry Public Schools superintendent; Ben Frederick, Johnson’s legislative director, and Aaron Bayliss, Johnson’s constituent relations director.

Rep. Joel Johnson was joined at the bill signing with Gov. Rick Snyder by his wife, Dawn Johnson; local educators Doug Pummell, Clare-Gladwin RESD Career Center director, Darren Kroczaleski, Arenac Eastern School District and Standish-Sterling Community School District superintendent, Mike Foster, Perry Public Schools superintendent; Ben Frederick, Johnson’s legislative director, and Aaron Bayliss, Johnson’s constituent relations director.