Recognized for his work to protect students’ ability to participate in career and technical education programs such as agriscience, Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, was presented with Michigan Farm Bureau’s Silver Plow Award at a recent event hosted by Iosco County Farm Bureau members Nathan and Cynthia Payne at their blueberry farm in Tawas City.
The Silver Plow is MFB’s top recognition for a member of the Michigan Legislature or U.S. Congress, signifying farmers’ appreciation for leadership and support consistent with the organization’s member-developed policy and beneficial to the state’s farm and food sector.
Huron Shores County Farm Bureau President Dave Tolan applauded Stamas’ leadership throughout the legislative process.
“Sen. Stamas introduced Senate Bill 171 to create permanent flexibility within the Michigan Merit Curriculum to ensure students can participate in career and technical education programs, like agriscience, and have it count toward their graduation requirements,” Tolan said. “Stamas’ bill built on legislation passed in 2014 that made it possible for career and technical education programs to fulfill portions of algebra, physical education, science, physics, chemistry and foreign language requirements.”
Stamas’ bill fulfills Farm Bureau’s member-driven policy and will benefit agriscience programs, high school students and teachers across the state for years to come.
“Sen. Stamas was a steadfast advocate throughout a lengthy legislative process,” Tolan said. “While the bill was introduced in early 2019, it didn’t pass the Senate until February 2020 and the House until September 2020. Later that month, Gov. [Gretchen] Whitmer signed the bill into law as Public Act 158 of 2020.”
Stamas recognizes that participating in career and technical education programs allows students to not only try new and interesting areas of study, but also helps meet the economy’s growing demand for skilled talent.
“Limiting [graduation requirements] to one specific thing seems to be a challenge,” Stamas said. “While I think foreign language is an important part of education, having practical, hands-on experience is also an important part of education.”