STEM Diploma Debate Heats Up

The Michigan Senate Education Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing this Tuesday on the STEM credentialed diploma (SB 169 and SB 170).  If passed, the bills introduced by Senator Proos and Representative Price would make Michigan the first state in the country to create a STEM certification for high school diplomas.   From Mlive,  “Proos’ bills would require high school students to take six credits of math and six credits of science approved by the Michigan Department of Education, along with all other requirements for high school graduation.”

We OPPOSE SB 169 and SB 170.

Like Common Core, the STEM credentialed diploma is more state control at the expense of local control and true choice in education.   It is an essential part of the P-20 “prenatal to workforce” seamless pathway that Governor Snyder and Lt. Governor Calley vigorously promote.    This allows the state increasing control of graduation requirements and certification for other career pathways.

We have created a detailed document STEM Designation on High School Diploma(2) on the reasons why we OPPOSE the STEM credentialed diploma.  Here are four main concerns,

  • It is unwise to create a “class system” in Michigan which is not supportive of all students.  Having a STEM diploma creates a “better” path, leaving the students not on this path to believe they are on the “failure track”. A high school diploma should carry the full credibility of a robust education for all graduates regardless of their preferences of study
  • All specific course information is already provided on high school transcripts.  Colleges and universities currently use high school transcripts to determine the coursework and student achievement in their determination for entering freshman. In this manner, employers determine the courses appropriate to preparation for their field.
  • Michigan Department of Education should not control diploma designations and course requirements. Control of the diploma designation becomes a politically driven process rather than an educationally sound process controlled locally by teachers, parents, community members and employers.
  • The alternate pathway designation begins in 7th grade, limiting a student’s ability to change their mind. 7th graders are typically 13 or 14 years old, perhaps aware of their personal preferences, but not ready to make career defining decisions.

STEM Designation on High School Diploma(2)

There is growing strong concerns about the impact STEM credential will have on private and home education, given that the credentialed diploma is only obtained by using MDE approved curricula and in public schools.

“We recognize that education is unique to each child, and we have worked hard to ensure our schools give every student a chance for a successful career,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair, chair of the Senate Education Committee. “Allowing students to earn this STEM certification and place it on their diplomas and transcripts helps them improve their college resume and their chances to land a well-paying job.”  (Sen. Proos website on STEM diploma)

If this is passes, then home and private educators will be at a DISADVANTAGE simply because they do NOT use the curricula approved by MDE for STEM and thus their transcript would lack the coveted credential.  Students in public school who were not pre-selected for STEM in middle school will also be at a disadvantage and less likely to move into a STEM field.

 STEM credentialed diplomas will destroy choice for children and educational choice for all.

Senator Pavlov is the chair of the Senate Education Committee.   Please contact Senator Pavlov, Senator Proos, Representative Price, and your OWN Senator and Representative, to voice your concern about the impact STEM credentials will have on our children and our freedom.

Senator Pavlov:  (517) 373-7708.

Senator Proos   (517) 373-6960

Representative Price (517) 373-0838