LANSING, Mich. - The House Education Committee and the full Senate have passed separate measures that would allow high schoolers to graduate without taking Algebra II, with backers saying students would learn sufficient math through vocational courses, according to a report by the Michigan Information & Research Service.

Senate Bill 698 would accept the math content of classes such as electronics and construction as equivalent to the Algebra II requirement, while House Bill 4410 would allow students to take technical education courses as replacements for both geometry and Algebra II, according to MIRS.

Algebra II and geometry both are required for high school graduation under the Michigan Merit Curriculum.

State Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, said the Senate bill does not replace Algebra II, but recognizes that those concepts can be taught just as well in a "hands-on" style in vocational classes as in a standard Algebra II class, MIRS reported.

In the House, Rep. Richard Ball, R-Bennington Township, said that the current requirements are a "one-size-fits-all" approach that doesn't accommodate career and technical education students, according to MIRS. School officials said that while it's important for career and technical students to learn math, they do not necessarily need stand-alone geometry and Algebra II classes.

Michigan Information & Research Service, "Curriculum flexibility bills move," Aug. 19, 2009 (Subscription required)

Michigan Education Report, "Finding algebra in fashion design," Aug. 5, 2008

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Michigan Votes, "Senate Bill 698 (Lower high school graduation standards)" and "House Bill 4410 (Authorize reduced high school graduation requirements)"