VISUAL, PERFORMING AND APPLIED ARTS
What the Michigan Merit Curriculum Law Says
Sec. 1278a(a)(iv) The board of a school district or board of directors of a public school academy shall
not award a high school diploma to a pupil unless the pupil has successfully completed at least 1 credit
in visual arts, performing arts, or applied arts, that is aligned with guidelines developed by the
Michigan Department of Education.
Sec. 1278b(5)(g)(j) The visual, performing and applied arts credit requirement may be modified as
part of a personal curriculum only if the modification requires the pupil to complete 1 additional credit
in English language arts, mathematics, or science or 1 additional credit in a language other than
English. This additional credit must be in addition to the number of those credits otherwise required in
What Research Says
Studies show high school students who study the arts earn better grades and scores;
are less likely to drop out of school; watch fewer hours of television; are less likely to report
boredom in school; have a more positive self-concept; and are more involved in community
service. Research also shows that many students who have difficulty learning through
traditional methods can benefit from teaching strategies that include other means of learning
and subject areas, such as the arts.
Currently, less than half of all Michigan high schools require students to have one or
more visual and performing arts credits prior to graduation.