Friday, January 27, 2012

Quinn wants high school dropout age raised to 18

By Jamey Dunn

Following a call to action that President Barack Obama made in his State of the Union Address, Gov. Pat Quinn today proposed raising the dropout age for Illinois high school students.

“When students don’t walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma. When students are not allowed to drop out, they do better. So tonight, I'm proposing that every state -- every state -- requires that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18,” Obama said in his address before Congress on Tuesday.

In Illinois, students can drop out at 17. According the National Conference of State Legislatures, 29 states allow students to drop out of school before they turn 18. Quinn plans to propose a bill during his State of the State address next week to change the age in Illinois, and he hopes to see it passed within the year. “Every child in Illinois deserves a quality education that will serve them throughout their lives,” Quinn said in a prepared statement. “The best way to ensure that our children have the chance to achieve and succeed is to make sure they stay in school long enough to earn their diploma.”

Illinois high school students could drop out at age 16 until lawmakers voted to increase the age to 17 in 2005. According to the Illinois State Board of Education, the statewide dropout rate in 2004 was 4 percent, and the rate today is 2.7 percent. “I would anticipate if it was raised to 18, we would see another decrease in the dropout rate,” said Matt Vanover, spokesperson for the ISBE.

Vanover said that moving the age up from 16 made a difference. “You get the driver’s license, and all of sudden you think, 'I don’t need school, and I don’t want to stick around for two years,’” he said. “Two years is an eternity in a teenager’s mind.” He said that the closer that students get to being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the more likely they are to stick it out and graduate.

Vanover said that without a high school diploma, young adults have little chance at finding a job that can support a family. “Anything that we can do to ensure that students are going to be in school, we’re going to be for it. We know that if you do drop out, the chances to succeed in life just plummet.”

Charles McBarron, spokesperson for the Illinois Education Association, said that the teachers union supports the concept of raising the dropout age. However, he said that may not be enough to ensure that students get a solid education. “It probably requires more than just keeping them in the building. We have to find way of engaging them.”

Rep. Roger Eddy, a Hutsonville Republican, agreed. “If it was as easy as Obama said, it would be wonderful,” said Eddy, who is a school superintendent in Hutsonville. “To accomplish something with it, we’re going to really have to look at what we do to provide students with a meaningful experiences.”

Eddy said that vocational courses or workplace readiness programs might connect with students who are not succeeding in a traditional academic setting. “To serve the needs of all students, we do have to understand that some students aren’t going to college.”

He said that in some areas where dropout rates are highest, students may face challenges that schools cannot easily overcome, such as homelessness or violence. Eddy added that levels of truancy enforcement vary throughout the state, and an increase in the dropout age would require consistent enforcement to be effective. “It’s really hard for the school to be the police, too.”


Cole said...

It would be great for the age to be raised. We need less kids dropping out. I don't think that, when they are so young, kids can understand the consequences of living sans diploma.

If the age is raised to 18, any kids who are thinking of dropping out might as well stay in and finish, seeing as they'll probably only have a year to go anyway (that's assuming that they haven't failed any grade levels).

Anonymous said...

Raising the age to 18 would be great for who? Kids that are bored out of their mind from teachers that are told to teach to the test by overpaid administrators? There are some kids that high school just is not for them. Why hold them back from moving onto GED programs and going onto college? This assumes kids that are dropping out are failures when in fact we could be missing the key point that there are students academically ready to take on higher level learning removing themselves from peer pressures and drama of high school.

Anonymous said...

What is great about keeping students in high school that would rather move on and get their GED because high school was not meant for them? It doesn't mean these students are failures rather they academic needs can be at a higher level than what they are getting in their high schools where administrators want their teachers to teach to the test on mindless packets of materials. A compulsory age of 18 does not guarantee a better education system. If a teacher doesn't know what to do with them at 16 how will they meet their needs at 18 and that has been an issue we have had to live with.

Admin said...

to summarize: the state of Massachusetts wants to imprison youth in schools even longer, they want to make the schools even more worthless by preventing the expulsion or even the suspension of the most disruptive students, and they're not sure how they're going to pay for it. information about troubled teenagers

Anonymous said...

I say that in my case my daughter is being bullied and we have tried everything to get it to stop and it just hasnt. I want my daughter to be able to drop out at 17 with the stipulation she get ger GED. I think this would be easier and it should be my choice, not the states under extreme circumstances that I should be able to pull her out if I think this is the best route for us!

Anonymous said...

as a matter of fact high school is not for everyone. just cause the majority think your stupid if you don't graduate dose not mean you are it just means you can't learn from the way they teach i in fact would've loved to drop a year earlier than i did beau at 16 i was sleeping in class i was so bored! I'm now pretty successful and it should definitely be sixteen with consent of parent or legal guardian.

Anonymous said...

Amen Amen and AMEN!! I agree completely!
There are many reasons for a child to drop high school GED out & into College. Bullying is a big one. Common Core teaching is another. They won't be enriched further if they Stayed. My child is all of the above plus she has a heart disability the school Refuses to work with us on in a way that helps her. Doctors notes and all. Gym class drags down her otherwise excellent
GPA because She's not capable.
We as parents should have the right to move our Children forward in the best way possible for THEM. The government doesn't know anything about my kid. But I DO !
How could they possibly know what
is best for my child?
This is just to keep warm bodies in a class to line the pockets of severely overpaid Administrators.
Another ticked off mother

Anonymous said...

18?! No No No!. It should go back to 16.
There are several reasons a parent would want their child to GED out of High School and move on.
I raised my Kid. Government didn't. I Know what is best for my child. Government doesn't. It is the right of the PARENT to do what is best for the child!
Obama wants mandatory pre-school too.
What? the government is going to just take over our Kids after we give birth? Our Parental rights are going out the window, and fast. It is all way wrong.
I Know Several people that left school at 16, got GED, went to College & became quite Successful.

Meagan Sosnowski said...

This is stupid. I'm 15 and a sophomore in high school. I don't see a problem with students dropping out at 16 or even 15. The Government thinks that they always know what's best for everyone but in fact they don't. I've never liked school. I've been failing since I was in 4th grade (somehow I never got held back) and it's not because I'm lazy..It's because I could never understand the teachers way of learning. They just want you to spit back exactly what they say, even though it could be morally wrong. I've been bullied since 3rd grade. I've been on A.D.D medication since 5th. The teachers do not know how to teach. And If they do, they don't know how to control their students or they can't teach in a way that students understand. In my case, I just can't get anything to stay in my mind. I write beautifully, I can read lengthy novels and grammar, punctuation, spelling and corrections come easily to me. It's just that I can't catch up on anything. he teachers don't take the time to help you on anything they give you. You're on your own. Dropping out isn't the worst thing in the world.. Having your child commit suicide because they are being tortured not just by their peers but by the people that they're supposed to trust most. I've had something very dramatic happen over the summer before my freshmen year. I've seen three social workers and I begged them to help me. They told me that they would call D.C.F.S., but they never did. I was being bullied and tormented by some of my closest friends my freshman year. That's when I started ditching school. There were 20 girls waiting to jump me at the front of the school and ten girls at the back and two at each door at all ends of the school. My friend told me to kill myself over and over again. I even went to the deans and showed them the messages but they suspended me and she got away with everything. It is a crime in Illinois and many other states to tell someone to kill themselves. Its considered attempted murder and punishable by 10+ years in prison. If they go through with it, its known as man slaughter and punishable with a life sentence. Tell me how that's fair. I was the one being tortured and bullied, but yet I still get punished. I guess "our" government would like to have more intelligent teens than alive ones. Funny, people with GED's don't go anywhere in life when my 21 year old brother in law dropped out his sophomore year, got his GED, got his EMT licence and is going back to school to get his paramedic licence next year. DId I mention that he has a 16 month old baby boy? He won't go anywhere with his life, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

I think at the age of 16 it should be the parents choice because the parents know there kids more than any one.most of the teachers at the school are only there for the money they don't care about our kids.there is a such thing as a ged,I took my ged at the age of 16 i didn't learn but common since stuff in school because there is not many good teachers any more every thing i know i learned out from other people and on my own.the age required now is 17 great but one thing when the kids do get 17 they can still drop out and a lot of them still willjust because of the fact that no one wants them too.i know a kid right now that turned 16 and wanted to drop out and the age is 17 so now the kid is going to home school for a year.see how the law is just makes the kids get to where they can't stand school that much more.why do kids not like school?well 99 percent of the teachers don't care they don't know how to teach and the teachers that teach resource kids all they do is give the kids the answers wow why go to school just to be given the answers they didn't learn anything.the goverment needs to leave our kids alone and let us take care if our kids our selves

Anonymous said...

Teens should be allowed to drop out at 16. Some, from experience have problems at home which makes it difficult to concentrate at school thus causing them to fail classes or miss school due to hardships. They also may be getting treated bad or "bullied" if you will which causes another problem and even though schools say they have an anti bullying policy, most ignore the problem, like gay kids being picked on just as an example. Another reason is about students getting bored and losing total interest. The teachers do NOTHING to try and help. They say they have a curriculum to deal with and they don't have time to deal with one or two to keep them interested so these kids get lost in the cracks so to speak then get labeled as day dreamers or trouble makers because they may disrupt the class in one way or another. If the school district and educators are really interested in every kid graduating, they should welcome with open arms, the chance for these students to take the GED! Give them the chance to grow! Just because they can't handle high school, as long as they take the GED (which could be required if one wanted to drop out)they just might move on to college and actually enjoy it. Giev these young future generation adults the chance!! They just might surprise you.

Anonymous said...

It should our choice in the matter if our children stay in school or not. It shouldn't be up to someone else. I live in Illinois and I'm tired of my son being bullied by the students,the teachers,and the princable. It just isn't right to make them go to school that long if they don't want to.And it's a bunch of bs when the teachers play favoritism to some of their students and treat the others like crap.

Anonymous said...

take it from a teen trying to drop out i dont care about school i hate it i want nothing to do with it and when im there it clearly shows i barely ever do my work and what little work i bother doing i get grades like 50/100 even as low as 20/100 someone please explain why im being forced to go to school considering everything i just said it would be so much easier for me and everyone else if i just sit at home doing nothing im hopeless because i dont care i shouldnt be forced to attend if im not doing anything meaningful while im there its pointless for me im sure as hell not about to wake up one day and decide im going to graduate its just not going to happen go ahead and raise the age to 18 i will just continue doing nothing until i turn 18 then i will tell them to **** off and be on my way i dont care what the laws say those laws are basically saying im their slave until i reach a certain age im not a high school drop out im just a slave trying to get the freedom that i never had to begin with