Written by Patricia Hawke for www.schoolsk-12.com

Michigan Schools have decided that changes need to be made in the statewide Special Education curriculum. Recent updates to federal laws require the Michigan Schools to comply with new rules and requirements. Students with disabilities are depending on the schools that they attend to attain the required standards. Without changes, the programs will be forced to shut down. At the news of change, many are concerned that current services will be compromised. However, Michigan Schools have assured children and parents that special education programs, such as the Extended School Year Program, will remain intact. Public hearings on the matter will be held in upcoming weeks.
The updates in special education curriculum are one in a series of changes that Michigan Schools are experiencing. The state content expectations in both social studies and science classes have been recently revised. The new requirements will be enacted in 2007-2008 and are popular with parents. Expectations in social studies now include the study of eastern countries, current issues, and an increased level of social awareness. The standards were set by a collaboration of educational committees.
The new standards follow in a trend of the Michigan Schools. Student preparedness for the real world has become a focal point for Michigan Schools. Concern that graduating students are not adequately prepared for the work environment prompted the change. Studies show that only 32 percent of the freshman in the United States will graduate fully prepared for college. In an effort to improve this situation, Michigan Schools created enhanced statewide graduation requirements in 2006. The governor was directly responsible for enacting the requirements, known officially as the Michigan Merit Curriculum. Michigan Schools have the rare benefit of being governed by a legislative branch, executive branch, and board of education that are in rare agreement on this subject. The objectives achieved by these groups help Michigan Schools stay focused. Notably, Michigan Schools have the most ample requirements of any state in the country.   
The Michigan Merit Curriculum operates under the belief that the skills needed to succeed in the workplace are not any different than those needed to succeed in college. Therefore, by preparing students for the college experience, they have achieved two things: a preparation for real life work situations, and the confidence and ability to succeed in college. Student preparation measures include improving the quality of high school courses. The issue of quality has even trumped concerns over test scores in Michigan Schools. Because students have been proven to find success when they are challenged, Michigan Schools have decided to set new educational standards. There is not dramatic a overhaul set in place, but the Michigan Merit Curriculum in Michigan Schools is a working initiative.