Ga. lawmaker seeks to raise dropout age from 16 to 17

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Legislation to raise the age students are legally allowed to quit high school could reduce Georgia's dropout rate if teens who are forced to spend another year in classes come to see graduation as a possibility, the bill's sponsor contends.

State Sen. Lester Jackson, D-Savannah, wants to increase the "mandatory attendance age" - the age at which students legally can drop out of school - from 16 to 17.

"I don't think a person is mature enough (at age 16) or has the mental capacity to make a decision like that that will affect them for the rest of their lives," Jackson said.

The legislation, Senate Bill 301, would require all students to attend public or private schools, or get home-schooled, until they turn 17. Under current law, a student can choose to quit school on his or her 16th birthday.

School superintendents from Augusta to Danielsville, as well as the Georgia Association of Educators, favor increasing the minimum dropout age as pressure mounts on them to raise graduation rates to meet standards under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

"Anything that would require kids to hang in there, or to stay in school longer, is a good thing," Clarke County schools Superintendent Philip Lanoue said. "Every little bit helps.

"You have to wonder, when you let students out of school at 16, where are they going to go? What is a 16-year-old out of high school going to do? What some would say is, 'Well, they're going to work,' and I go, 'Where?' "

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia require students to stay in school until age 18, while eight other states require students to stay until age 17, according to a study by the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy. Twenty-three states including Georgia, Alabama, Florida and North Carolina, have a mandatory attendance age of 16, the center said.

"The fact of the matter is, we've got to find some way to stop the dropout rate," said Jeff Hubbard, President of the Georgia Association of Educators. "More importantly, we've got to find some way to give these kids a future, we've got to find a way to give these kids job skills, to help them have a fighting chance. This is one of the ways to do it."

Not everyone sees raising the dropout age as a good thing.

Resources could be better spent making the high school curriculum interesting and more relevant, instead of forcing students to go to school, said Carl Glickman, a retired UGA education professor.

DROPOUT RATE

Proposed legislation that would raise the age a student could drop out of high school from 16 to 17 would encourage more students to graduate and reduce the dropout rate, supporters say. The dropout rate for Northeast Georgia schools ranged from less than 1 percent to nearly 8 percent in the 2007-08 school year.

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mrcgregory
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mrcgregory 01/16/10 - 11:08 am
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They should make it 18 years

They should make it 18 years old. Once someone turns 18 then they should have that choice, not before.

iknowitwheniseeit
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iknowitwheniseeit 01/16/10 - 11:54 am
0
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Raising the age won't solve

Raising the age won't solve the problem.

crackertroy
540
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crackertroy 01/16/10 - 12:12 pm
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NOOOOOOOOO! Not another year
Unpublished

NOOOOOOOOO! Not another year of thugs with 1/2 a credit in our schools! I say lower it to 15!!! That's what GEDs are for!

crackertroy
540
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crackertroy 01/16/10 - 12:14 pm
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"I don't think a person is
Unpublished

"I don't think a person is mature enough (at age 16) or has the mental capacity to make a decision like that that will affect them for the rest of their lives," Jackson said. -At 21 I don't think most make mature decisions.

crackertroy
540
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crackertroy 01/16/10 - 12:16 pm
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The fact of the matter is,
Unpublished

The fact of the matter is, we've got to find some way to stop the dropout rate," said Jeff Hubbard - Easy solution = punish the parents for student misbehavior in schools and poor student achievement. $1,000 fine for conceiving a child who drops out before the age of 18. Every discipline referral the parent is fined $25. Problem solved.

crackertroy
540
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crackertroy 01/16/10 - 12:18 pm
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The student may not return to
Unpublished

The student may not return to school until the $25 fine is paid.

hhwilli
0
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hhwilli 01/16/10 - 12:25 pm
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Personally, I would raise the

Personally, I would raise the dropout age to 18. Essentially, we consider 18 to be an 'adult' age.

Martinez
154
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Martinez 01/16/10 - 01:00 pm
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If they raise the dropout

If they raise the dropout age, they need to make wider availability of online school as an alternative because the schools are already full of kids who don't want to be there and that interfere with the education of those who do. Because the alternative schools are always full.... kids know they can get away with nearly anything they want. I say, kick'em out and make them take an online school program. Then, if they fail to attend or perform - charge the parents. Parents are too quick to blame the schools and teachers. Put the responsibility back on them to make sure their child is doing the work, attending the proper hours etc.

corgimom
33184
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corgimom 01/16/10 - 01:08 pm
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It's about getting federal

It's about getting federal funds. They just won't show up- just like they do now.

we the people
0
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we the people 01/16/10 - 01:47 pm
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Sure, require them to stay!

Sure, require them to stay! Those who fall under that requirement are usually the ones that come for lunch, or to deal their products or to just be around people who help them stave off lonliness, neglect, or abuse at home. Students, not quite. They are the ones who often don't have the credits to move to the next grade. Their homes do not always value education or encourage their student to control themselves at home, why should they control themselves or make themselves available to learn at school? Herein lies the problem. Schools which are charged with the ongoing education of students who are serious about their education, find it difficult to overcome home grown attitudes and behavior from those students, which prevents other students form learning. We provide social services, deal with dangerous and illegal behavior from, and the true student suffer. We try to determine if students are ready to start school. Why can't we determine whether some are able to stay in school, after they earn no credits, but plenty of referrals and valuable time from teachers and administrators who are asked to be police, counselors, medical and social workers already. When do we teach?

142
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Dan White 01/16/10 - 02:20 pm
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Senator Jackson says that 16

Senator Jackson says that 16 year olds aren't mature enough to make a decision. I know 45 year olds that aren't mature enough to make a decision! Until the education bureacrats stop trying to make every kid into college material, this will not help. What will help is bringing back the general high school education diploma that will prepare kids for life and for technical college. They get so far behind in the college prep curriculum that Georgia now requires that they give up.

TWright987
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TWright987 01/16/10 - 02:32 pm
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I agree, raise the age to 18,

I agree, raise the age to 18, if they stop coming, they should be held legally responsible. They have to learn to be accountable for their actions as well as how to be functional in society.

constant reader
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constant reader 01/16/10 - 02:40 pm
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Teachers have enough trouble

Teachers have enough trouble trying to teach with classes full of students who don't want to be there. Some kids just don't care and have nothing to lose, so they do everything they can to disrupt---just for pure entertainment and to get everyone off the subject. Now these bureaucrats want to increase the age so the delinquents have another year of making it hard for the students who DO want to be there.

They've got it all wrong. What they should do is LOWER the age to 13. Education should be a privilege, not a right or a requirement. If students demonstrate by their actions that they don't want to be there, hand them a broom or a shovel or show them a sink of dishes. If they don't want to be in class, why should the others have to suffer their presence?

Dixieman
15331
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Dixieman 01/16/10 - 04:07 pm
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0
This will solve nothing and

This will solve nothing and only hurt the students who are serious by keeping the clowns in their classes. Government schools = child abuse; scrimp, save and borrow to send your kids to private school or homeschool them!

CorporalGripweed
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CorporalGripweed 01/16/10 - 05:11 pm
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Maybe some of these kids

Maybe some of these kids should be pushed toward vocational education as well. There was a great guest editorial yesterday in the AC about this very issue. Not all kids "get" algebra nor will they ever be college material but they can be bricklayers, mechanics, ANYTHING but dropouts. The system should try better to identify these kids early enough to give them realistic choices. Not try to practice "cookie cutter" education by assuming all kids learn equally. That approach dooms many of them to failure.

harrisburgwillrise
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harrisburgwillrise 01/16/10 - 05:24 pm
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Great post Corporal. I had

Great post Corporal. I had the privilege of teaching school in a rural school, a Catholic school, and an inner city school 20 years ago. We are still having the same arguments we did then. I said 20 years ago that dropping out without a skill should not be an option. Let's face it. College is only for a select few. We should provide training beginning in sixth grade to those who would rather do something else. we need blue collar workers. The worse thing in the world is to let them out of school at 16 with no skills. Raising the age limit without changing the system just makes it harder on the teachers. Kids who can't get it, disrupt class. We need a whole revamping of education. Every child should be able to do something to be productive in society whether they quit at 16 or go on to college. Right now, all we are doing is adding to the welfare roles. Think about it people before you post nonsense!!!

CorporalGripweed
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CorporalGripweed 01/16/10 - 05:53 pm
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Maybe we should have a system

Maybe we should have a system whereby around the sixth grade IQ scores in conjunction with general aptitude tests and some objective guidance counseling could be brought to bear in establishing which kids are likely to be college material and which are more likely to be "blue collar" material. Then push these kids in those general directions. Just a thought.

troylus
1
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troylus 01/16/10 - 06:02 pm
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Corporal: I read the same

Corporal: I read the same article and agree. True education reform should address the fact that every student does not need to go to college. Just let the plumbers all quit for one week, or the garbage collectors quit for one week. Not one BA or BS degree will compensate for that trade. I think the cost to keep a child in school for longer than twelve years should be published data. Once taxpayers realize how much money it costs to force kids through a program they have no interest in (with the poor performances usually associated with them), they just might cry for legitimate change in the way we think about education.

Megaz0
0
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Megaz0 01/16/10 - 06:53 pm
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I think students being made

I think students being made to stay til they're 18 wouldn't be a good idea. I say this becuase most teens who choose to drop out have already decided they are going to do so way before they are 16 and most likely won't change in the next years to pass. If that's the case then they most likely have stopped trying in class to succeed. I hate to say it like this but really they'd just be a waste of space in the class rooms aswell as a distraction to those willing to learn.

mable8
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mable8 01/16/10 - 06:57 pm
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I don't think anyone agrees

I don't think anyone agrees that dropping out of school is a good decision; however, there are some students who are not academically inclined. Years ago, high schools offered a two track system--technical/vocational and higher academics (college bound). There were few dropouts; it increased when the two track system was discontinued. The budgets were no different from schools offering only the academic track. I think it would be a great idea to reinstate this two track system. As for Lester Jackson's remark "I don't think a person is mature enough (at age 16) or has the mental capacity to make a decision like that that will affect them for the rest of their lives," Jackson said," this could be applied to the criminal justice system; if students at age 16 are too immature to make decisions that will affect the rest of their lives, then how can anyone hold them as a responsible adult for committing crimes? Perhaps the goood senator should have simply stated that at age 16, educational needs are best left to the family of the student and be encouraged to stay in school.

harrisburgwillrise
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harrisburgwillrise 01/16/10 - 07:19 pm
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Hello new posters, Please

Hello new posters,

Please read other comments before posting. It makes great sense to not let kids drop out at all, but to figure out what they can do to be successful, and then offer it to them. College is not the only way. We have to rethink our method of education. No one should quit school without a trade. This way, if they decide to quit, they will have a way to contribute to society without just becoming part of the public dole. We need blue collar workers, and the last time I checked, they can make as much money as they are motivated to work for.

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 01/16/10 - 07:30 pm
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Why do students take 12 years

Why do students take 12 years of English and half a semester of government? Why not have classes in personal finance and budgeting? Trade school education (which I am a product of) should be included. Shakespeare has never helped me fix a car. When I was in college for my degree, it was the same way. I had to take biology for an automotive degree. Graduated with honors, but still silly to me...

CorporalGripweed
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CorporalGripweed 01/16/10 - 08:01 pm
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Raising the dropout age is a

Raising the dropout age is a "deck chairs on the Titanic" approach to a problem that can be solved easily. Have a system in place that identifies early, those that are college material, and those that (for lack of a better term) are "worker bee" material. This way those that can excel, will. And those that want to try to survive in this society will have the skills to do so. Allowing ANYONE to drop out at ANY AGE without some marketable skill is to set them up for certain failure.

CobaltGeorge
160946
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CobaltGeorge 01/16/10 - 08:29 pm
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Check the drop out rate of

Check the drop out rate of students in private schools against the drop out rate of public schools. Does that say anything or provide you with a clue as to the true reason for student drop outs. In 23 post, PC has been used instead of the real reason why our education system is the way it is. The closest someone came was a remark "No student left behind"

Chillen
17
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Chillen 01/16/10 - 08:55 pm
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corporalgripweed thats the

corporalgripweed thats the way Germany does it. You are evaluated at a young age and either sent the tech prep or college prep (called gymnasium) way. Pretty good system except for the "late bloomers". Once you choose your path its too late for you to switch directions - at least to the college prep way. Also, can you imagine all the irate parents whose kids get sent to tech prep? I don't teach but I'll be the teachers online could give you an idea of parental reaction. I like the idea though.

samlongshaft
0
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samlongshaft 01/16/10 - 10:04 pm
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Let them drop out at 8 and

Let them drop out at 8 and quit wasting taxpayer money and the continuing dumb down of America!

Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 01/16/10 - 11:19 pm
0
0
16 is way too young to drop

16 is way too young to drop out. If they aren't old enough to live outside the parents home at 16, then they still need to be in school at that age.

crackerjack
150
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crackerjack 01/16/10 - 11:44 pm
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Heck if you raise it to 17 in

Heck if you raise it to 17 in Augusta, they will be dropping out in the 6th grade instead of the 5th.

CorporalGripweed
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CorporalGripweed 01/16/10 - 11:57 pm
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Bottom line. By 16 you should

Bottom line. By 16 you should either be in college prep or "blue collar prep". The only other alternative is dropping out which leads to welfare.

micbare
18
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micbare 01/17/10 - 12:39 am
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I think it should be lowered

I think it should be lowered to 14. If you don`t want an education get out of the way of the kids that do. The last thing we need is these lunch hounds hanging out one more year. Taking up space , using tax payer money and causing trouble.

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