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Teachers: Should the high school dropout age be raised to 18?

Comments: 9

I work at a very innovative school for students 18+ who did not graduate because they dropped out and/or did not pass one or more sections of the state test. Many of them, who were almost impossible to teach at age16, are back at 18 - 21 and ready and willing to do whatever it takes to graduate. We have students from 3 high schools, but virtually no fights, no drugs, no abuse of teachers - in short, a great place to work! And the students succeed when they thought they never could. I don't recommend dropping out, but you can't teach the unwilling.

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Ken Christy
Texas AFT
Pharr, TX

I vote yes, because a lot of the kids at age 16 or 17 are getting into more trouble. And making babies, where we as the adults still have to take care of because their not old enough to sign papers. Some of the kids at 16 and 17 still can't count,read, or write. I say keep them until 18 if they give up by then, then they are adults and can make their own choice and move out when they start to be disrespectful towards their parents. If we keep them in and they stay in school then is only then we as adults know their is a fighting chance to educated and mold those kids mind to become successful young men and women.

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Tracy Rawlings
01825
St.Thomas, VI

I can solve the dropout problem in 5 minutes: tie it to a student's being able to drive an automobile. In order to take Drivers' Education or have a driver's license, one must either be enrolled in school AND PASSING WITH A MINIMUM 2.00GPA or must wait until one is 18 years of age. Yes, there would be uproar in the beginning, but they would stick it out. For those whose families don't own a vehicle this may not matter, but I believe that it would make a big difference for many.Honor students get a break on insurance,as always. Dropping out of school affects us all down the road. This situation calls for strong measures.

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Peggy Leverton
Corvallis Faculty Group
Corvallis, MT

Robert Balfanz couldn't be more wrong. Like most "experts" he is out of touch with reality. We have many programs to keep un-invested students in school. Sadly, one of the bi-products of trying to keep these students in school is the dumbing down of requirements,until the public high school diploma is almost meaningless. We should let them go at 16, put the money into Adult Education and tell them to come back when they get tired of saying, "Would you like fries with that?"

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Rich Poole
Rochester Federation of Teachers
Rochester, NH

NO. They can stay voluntarily but to force them only makes it more difficult to teach those who want to be there.

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Loren Bell
Loren Bell
Tyler, TX

NO. They can stay voluntarily but to force them only makes it more difficult to teach those who want to be there.

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Loren Bell
Loren Bell
Tyler, TX

As a high school counselor, I'm am pleased to say the students in NYC have the opportunity to obtain their diploma up to the age of 21. They have the opportunity to attend alternative learning centers as well as alternative high schools. These centers provide additional support which fosters hands on learning communities. The outreach efforts are greater and they cater to the needs of the older student. So if a student is over 17 he/she can still obtain a high school diploma. Everyone needs a second chance and these programs work.

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Adele Hill
UFT
Brooklyn, NY

Compulsory education is not synonymous with equal educational opportunity. I was hired in the early 70s as an vocational education/industrial arts teacher to help encourage students with such gifts not to drop out but to stay in school. It worked. But then test scores dropped, and in an effort to improve test scores, the emphasis was returned to academics. Test scores improved, but now the drop-out rate has increased again. Years ago, I had an article published in a local newspaper in which I tried to document this phenomenon which I titled "A Pendulum Effect?" "Raise up a child in the way they should go...", to borrow a phrase.

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Dan Homan
PFT
Perkasie, PA

Unfortunately, raising the drop out age to 18 will not compel those at-risk for drop-out to attend school. Many other factors are at play in their decision to drop out which are far more powerful than a mandatory attendance requirement. However, we will not abandon this group of kids if we consider that many of them may voluntarily return to educational settings at a later time in their life IF THOSE OPPORTUNITIES ARE COMPELLING AND AVAILABLE. We will do well for these students by strengthening adult education and/or alternative education opportunities so that when they are ready, they have viable options in their life.

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Jim Barnhill
MFT 59
Minneapolis, MN

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