One Michigan lawmaker has the right idea about the importance of high school vocational training.

I found myself nodding in agreement with a Detroit Free Press column penned by a Democratic state representative.

Rep. Joel Sheltrown is criticizing the state's new high school graduation requirements as focusing too much on advanced mathematics while ignoring the needs of students who need training in technical and vocational subjects.

He argues -- correctly, I think -- that schools should offer curriculums tailored to the interests and abilities of pupils, whether that's earning a Ph.D. or becoming a police officer.

I'd make the same argument for would-be future HVAC technicians and sheet metal workers. These fields offer generally good pay and excellent employment potential. They do require additional schooling outside of just a high school degree, but the skills and knowledge required are different than those for traditional future college students.

The Michigan representative wants schools to count vocational classes as part of the new curriculum. Sounds like a good idea to me.

The full column is at www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080611/OPINION02/806110332