Imagine waking up in the morning to find the electricity is out,
or a pipe has burst or your car won't start. As you look though
the Yellow Pages for a technician, do you really care if that
person has a working knowledge of matrices, oxidation numbers,
and Kepler's laws of planetary motion?
Apparently the state of Michigan does. Its new high school graduation
requirements will assure that every graduate, regardless of their
career choice, will have taken advanced math and science classes.
Among the new requirements are one credit each of algebra
I, geometry and algebra II and an additional math class in the
senior year. Also required is one credit of biology, one credit
of physics or chemistry and one additional year of science.
new curriculum may be helpful for a student who plans to go on
to college, but it seems excessive for vocational students.
Plumbers, mechanics, construction workers, hairdressers and many
other positions do not need an advanced math and science background.
Math needed for vocational jobs could be learned through an "applied
math" class, or on-site learning.
I'm concerned that when students are forced to take classes that
are unnecessary for their chosen careers, they'll feel discouraged
and put little effort into their classes. And if they can't take
the classes they want, I'm afraid that more of them will drop