Dropouts: A Cost Either Way (3/10/09)
The state legislature is considering a bill that would raise the high school dropout age from 16 to 18 by 2011. Which, at first, sounds like a good idea. After all, who doesn't want kids to stay in school?
But such a bill would do more harm than good.
Why? Because students don't get to decide to drop out on their own. They need parental permission. And, sad to say, if they've already gone 16 years without developing any appreciation for an education - and their parents care so little that they'd support that viewpoint - it's most likely they're lost causes.
Despite inspirational tales of miracle transformations, forcing them to stick around for another two years when they clearly have no motivation or support system outside the classroom won't do anything but prolong their boredom and disrupt everyone else who does want to learn.
And it's not as if raising the age would come without a price tag. It's estimated that keeping this dead weight in our schools would cost the state an additional 15 million dollars a year. Surely there are better ways to spend that much money than warehousing people who aren't carrying their own weight and have no intention of doing so.
It's pretty well-known I'm a big believer in education. But I also believe the adage that says you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.
What do you think? Call and let us know.
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my...Point of View.