Earlier this month, the Kentucky House passed a bill that would raise the state's school dropout age from 16 to 18, and it now awaits action in the Senate.
At first glance, this might seem a good idea. But I hope the Senate defeats it. Because while I agree that our state's low percentage of high school and college graduates is extremely costly, I don't see how this bill would create any real change.
The vast majority of our current dropouts don't just wake up on their 16th birthday and suddenly decide they'd rather not go to school anymore. At best, they've been unmotivated underachievers with no appreciation for education for many years already. And at worst, their bad attitudes and behaviors have also been disruptive to the majority of kids who are there to learn.
If a kid hasn't gotten the message by age 16 that a high school diploma is a worthy goal, it's unlikely two more years of educational incarceration will make him see the light. More likely, he'll just be a dead weight for that much longer, wasting the limited resources of teachers who already have more than enough problems to deal with.
I think we should make changes in our system that will make more kids want to stick around and get an education. But simply delaying the inevitable helps no one.
Call, and let us know what you think.
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my…Point of View.