Legislative Alert – House Bill 5190

MMEA is concerned about a bill that recently passed both chambers in Michigan. House Bill 5190 would require all students in Michigan to take a ½ credit financial literacy course as part of the Michigan Merit Curriculum. This bill would allow flexibility that could dilute the 1 credit arts requirement that currently exists. Here are the details:

1) Currently, Michigan high school students must pass take credits across different areas as part of the Michigan Merit Curriculum. Since 2006, all Michigan students have been required to take 1 credit in the visual, performing, or applied arts. Additionally, students (beginning with the class of 2016) must take 2 credits of a foreign language. Note: individual districts may require additional credits, but the Michigan Merit Curriculum provides minimum numbers.

2) House Bill 5190 was introduced in November 2021. In addition to requiring a ½ credit course in financial literacy, it specified that the course could take the place of ½ credit of the foreign language requirement. Effectively, this would mean that students would be required to take 1 ½ credits of foreign language plus the new ½ financial literacy course.

3)     However, in recent weeks, the Senate Education Committee tweaked the bill’s language to allow this same flexibility in the arts. This would mean that to accommodate a ½ credit financial literacy requirement, students would only be required to take ½ credit in the arts (they could also use this personal finance ½ credit to fulfill part of their foreign language or math requirements—the arts are one of a few options).

MMEA believes the bills may lead to lowered music program enrollment, more instability for programs with students only signing up for a semester of music instead of a full year, and/or high schools deciding not to offer arts courses at all. Even if the overall changes could be small, we believe it is important for students to take a minimum of 1 credit in the arts, and we especially believe financial literacy (or any other requirements) that are not artistic in nature should not take away from arts requirements.

The bill now goes to the Governor for signature, so please consider contacting Governor Whitmer’s office. When you call or email, please remind the Governor that:

“Michigan should value arts education by keeping the 1 credit arts graduation requirement intact. Financial literacy is distinct from the valuable objectives met in arts courses, including creativity, personal expression, collaboration, and understanding culture. Please veto HB 5190.” 

Questions? Email Ryan Shaw, MMEA’s Government Relations Coordinator at rshaw@msu.edu