Poll: Arts / Debates

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Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 8948, member since Sat Jul 19, 2003
On Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:16 PM


Last night during the state of the union, President Obama urged states to pass laws mandating that minors attend high school. This would mean that nobody would be allowed to drop out prior to their 18th birthday.

Good idea, given how high the unemployment rate is among high school drop outs? After all, minors have very few rights relatively speaking (they can't get married, be in the military, hold many jobs, sign contracts, etc) so should they have the right to make the decision to drop out? Or is it a violation of personal freedom that underage citizens should be entitled to?

49 Replies to Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18?

re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By Meganmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 12956, member since Wed Mar 17, 2004
On Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:26 PM
Edited by Megan (87282) on 2012-01-25 12:26:50
It'd be nice. I don't know if it's practical but I'm a huge proponent of education, so I like the concept. However, I graduated before I turned 18 and many other people do too, so I would hope that it would be a graduation or your 18th birthday, whatever comes first, kind of thing.

I live with a dropout. She's the greatest girl but she wasn't so smart when she was younger, and now she's totally hooped because it's SO MUCH HARDER to go back to school later when you've got a job and rent to pay. If there had been a law like this when she was 15 or 16, things might be different for her.

I'm all about personal freedoms, but things are a little different for minors. If we mandate that kids have to be in school until they're sixteen already, why not make it eighteen? At least then most kids who've gone to traditional four-year high school will be graduated or very close.

From a practical standpoint, I really don't know if it will work, but as an idea, it's a good one.
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 8948, member since Sat Jul 19, 2003
On Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:36 PM
Yes Megan, that's what the idea was, kids would have to stay in high school until graduation or their 18th birthday, whichever came first.
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By Chaconnemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 6355, member since Thu Jul 12, 2007
On Wed Jan 25, 2012 02:43 PM
I don't know if this is still true, but in my home state in the 50's and 60's school attendance of some kind was required until age 18 or graduation, whichever came first. The rule existed from the time of the Depression in the 30's so that high school drop-outs would not compete with adults for jobs. My father was one such person who dropped out, and then returned and graduated because of the law. My dad was actually 19 1/2 when he graduated from high school...the same high school I went to. He later went to the same vocational school, which also served adults and post high school grads to learn the trade that led to his main life work. He was a marine electrician in shipyards and had also done electrical work for the phone company.

The way it worked was that most students remained in high schools (we had 95% graduation rates), but those who could not cut it in high school went to a vocational school for training in craft skills until they were 18. My first year of college was in the same building as the vocational school (it was a small local branch of the state university) so we saw the kids in these programs. There were trades such as welding and auto mechanics. Girls mostly did typing and other office skills and food service training. I don't remember if the GED existed then or if the kids in vocational schools received any sort of diploma. An alternative to the vocational school was to join the military and I knew two guys who did this, one of them perfectly capable of high school and college work (we called him "Genius" and he probably was.) His problem was fights with his stepfather. His real father was killed in WW II. He was award a high school diploma with the rest of us from our school for course work in did in the Army. He went to college for a while after he got out of the Army. The last I heard about him (from his sister) was that he was an itinerant cowboy in the West.

It worked in our type of community, but I'd have my doubts how it would work in urban areas. The one major urban area in our state (Milwaukee) did have several "technical" high schools with an emphasis on trades. My own high school also had a large industrial arts program. Even though I was in a college prep program, I took two years of mechanical drawing and two years of electricity/ electronics there. A lot of kids who may have otherwise dropped out, took a lot of industrial arts. Kids in those programs generally had no problem finding jobs in our "rust belt" manufacturing town.

The urban high school where I currently have my orchestra rehearsals has an "alternative" school at nights where I'm told student can work for a high school diploma, but I think it is voluntary.

Jon
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 8688, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Wed Jan 25, 2012 03:35 PM
I don't think it should be mandatory.

What if some children just aren't quite cut out for the academic world? I know a couple of kids who went to my high school and they were as dumb as rocks when it came to certain academic stuff. When it came to things like computers, they were AMAZING. They just couldn't grasp basic "high school subjects" but they were already working at graduate level computer programming.

What if some families live out in the country and they are farmers? Do they really need to be going to school, if they are planning on working on a farm their whole life? Would they be getting more of an education if they stayed home and learned the things that better suited their business?

I just don't always think that academia is the only way to gain education.
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By Coccinellamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 5930, member since Sat Jan 25, 2003
On Wed Jan 25, 2012 03:45 PM
If a student really doesn't want to be there, doesn't do there homework, doesn't respect the authority of his/her teachers, etc. then there isn't much point in forcing them to be there. You can't make someone learn.

I agree with a bit of what YYD is saying in that not everyone is interested in going on to traditional post-secondary education. I think that high-schools need to become more open minded about this and actually try and find out what the future of their students is. My boyfriends brother really struggles in academics to concentrate, read quickly, to recall information for exams, etc. Nobody listened to him in high school that all he wanted to do was go into the trades and take over his Dad's plumbing business. He had to struggle through a lot of courses that were not necessarily useful for him.

That being said, I wasn't sure I was going to go to college (and I didn't for 4 years after graduating high school) but I'm glad I had the interest/sense in graduating. I also wish someone had encouraged me to take higher level math courses so that I wouldn't ahve had to do so much upgrading now that I am in college.

I think I could argue for both sides...so I'll vote Other.
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 15030, member since Thu Feb 14, 2002
On Wed Jan 25, 2012 04:06 PM
Cut minors a break, they have so few rights already, they should be able to decide something for once. It's not like they can't take a GED later if they want to.
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By Crazy_Clairemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 5653, member since Wed Jan 26, 2005
On Wed Jan 25, 2012 04:14 PM
I know here in the UK they have changed the rules now so that people starting from my brothers year at school (Born in 1997) will have to stay on until they're 18. I think in Australia it is mandatory to stay in school until aged 18.

But here we also have more practical courses rather than just academic ones. They are qualifications known as BTECs and NVQs in certain subjects. There are so many of them, anything from Manual Labour stuff - brick laying, construction, etc to Hairdressing right through to Business and Health and Social Care. So there is quite a broad range for young people to choose from. And these qualifications do equal a certain number of A-Levels (more practical, traditional and academic based study) and this converts into points for University courses.

I think unless someone has a job to go straight out to or an apprenticeship then they should stay on and do something that they are interested in, just so they have the qualifications and experience to get a job. Like I said, there is such a range that accommodates people interested in all kinds of stuff and those who want a more practical course. These courses often involve work placements so students are getting hands on experience too in addition to valuable qualifications.

I can see both sides of it though, as some have said, that not everyone is cut out for the more academic geared courses, but I think the range available offers everyone a chance, however they learn and whatever their interests are to do something that will be valued and recognised outside of the school/college/6th form environment.

Claire.
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By ballerinatwirler Comments: 2083, member since Sat May 29, 2004
On Wed Jan 25, 2012 05:00 PM
I think in certain circumstances people should be allowed to drop out. I think they should at least be 16 before they have that option. The only reason I say this is because my 17 year old cousin had a baby a few months ago. She has no one to watch her baby. Her mother works two full time jobs and the baby's father refuses to watch the baby so she can attend school. Their family is not able to afford a babysitter ever let alone 5 days a week for 8+ hours a day. So my cousin can attend school maybe once or twice a week as long as one of her friends will babysit for free. My cousin has never done well in school and hates being there. Her grades were always Ds and Fs and then at the least minute she'll pull them up to Ds and Cs so she doesn't get held back. She's almost been had back 6 times. I think she should be able to drop out because right now her mother is getting fines for her absence that she really can't control.

I also knew someone who was in 9th grade at age 18 because she just didn't go to school or care about school. She finally dropped out on her 18th birhtday and got a full time job.
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By Leigha_Ballerina Comments: 490, member since Tue Dec 17, 2002
On Wed Jan 25, 2012 05:48 PM
Edited by bearcat245 (52163) on 2012-01-25 18:00:53
Edited by bearcat245 (52163) on 2012-01-25 18:02:23
In my area in Australia you must finish year 12 your around 18-19 depending when you started.

When I went to school you were able to leave at 14 and 9 Months which was around year 9 - I left school at end of year 10 aged 16 and joined the the armed services which was quite common then.

A lot of high schools (year 7-12) are set up so young mums with babies just take them to school with them.
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By madseasonPremium member Comments: 1975, member since Wed Jan 04, 2006
On Wed Jan 25, 2012 09:02 PM
Some kids will just flunk through their classes until they are old enough to leave, wasting resources, stressing out teachers and never truly graduating. Some people just don't value academics or just don't thrive in the traditional high school setting. If people don't want to graduate, I see no reason to force them. As another poster pointed out, they can always get their GED if they so desire.

I think we should spend more time and effort making schools places that actually educate kids rather than trying to force kids to attend schools where they are neither challenged or stimulated.

I graduated high school when I was about 12 and many of the 18-19 year old young adults I graduated with could hardly spell or do more than basic algebra. I had an English teacher in a class of seniors remind kids that 'text' is the proper spelling of 'txt' because she got so many papers with that particular spelling error! You can't force a desire to succeed on someone, but you can give them the tools. Providing the tools for success should be our goal.
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By toroandbruinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 3627, member since Fri Oct 10, 2008
On Wed Jan 25, 2012 09:23 PM
Since life is becoming increasingly complicated, I think we should require young people to keep studying until they are at least 18 (though more power to them if they graduate earlier). However I also think we should offer more types of education. For example, for a student who doesn't do well in a traditional academic program, a work-study program can show him/her the connection between the book-work and actually accomplishing something in the field. Plus a semester drudging away in a menial job can do wonders for inspiring a student to gain the skills necessary to move to a higher level.
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By Chaconnemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 6355, member since Thu Jul 12, 2007
On Wed Jan 25, 2012 09:34 PM
Rules on school attendance are determined by the states. Every state has a state department of education which mandates attendance rules, enforces minimum standards, provides for exceptions e.g. parochial or religious schools, homeschooling standards and many other factors.

There are some education regulations determined by the Federal Government e.g No Child Left Behind, and there are many federally sponsored programs, but the states still have primary responsibility.

I did a quick sample of some states and the age for compulsory attendance varies. I checked my home state, Wisconsin, and they still (as of 2009, the latest date on their website) mandatory rules requiring schooling until age 18 or high school graduation. The rules are pretty much the same as they were in 1960 when I graduated though there are more exceptions now. The Amish in that state have an exception (Amish typically do not formally educate their children beyond 8th grade)...There is a court case now on that issue. Homeschooling, which really didn't exist when I was in school, now has provisions and standards though the age 18 and/or graduation is still required. Parochial schools adhere to the same standards (though I couldn't tell from the website if that was state mandated or if the various denominations adopted the same basic structure.

Maryland, the state I presently live in, has similar standards, but the mandatory age ends at 16. (This may be a relic from the days of school segregation.) Maryland integrated its schools without much problem after Brown vs Bd. of Ed. though there is still a lot of de facto segregation based upon demographics. My wife's school when she was a principal was over 95% Black or Hispanic, but the county in which she taught was a majority-minority county.

So there is a fair amount of variation among the states.

Jon
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? (karma: 1)  en>fr fr>en
By Dream_chaserPremium member Comments: 25854, member since Thu Jul 26, 2001
On Wed Jan 25, 2012 09:46 PM
It's tough to say. I think that no, but at least to sixteen. I know of some kids who hated school, so much, not because they were stupid but because the teachers were not good at teaching all kids, that they quit. Then they went onto to get their GED, then to community college and later onto better colleges, or some into a trade after the GED.

I think that getting a diploma of some sort might be good. In a perfect world...
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By kandykanePremium member Comments: 16346, member since Mon May 01, 2006
On Wed Jan 25, 2012 09:55 PM
There is a pretty effective rule in my state for keeping kids in school. If you want your driver's license and you are under 18, you have to prove you are in attendance in school, not just enrolled, but in attendance. The license has to be renewed on your 17th birthday, so again, you have to get the letter of attendance from the school office. If you are homeschooled, the program has to submit the letter stating you are "in attendance" in a homeschool program.

There is not much in the way of public transportation outside the cities, plus it's considered a major rite of passage for kids to get their license at 16. If they want that piece of plastic and the independence that comes with driving, they pretty much have to stay in school.

kk~
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By MarlaSingermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3905, member since Fri Jul 25, 2008
On Thu Jan 26, 2012 09:54 AM
^That seems fairly ridiculous to me. There are many reasons that someone might choose to leave school early, many of which have been ennumerated in this thread, but hardly any of them imply that the person will not be able to be a responsible driver. In other words, one has nothing to do with the other, so there's no good reason to prevent someone from driving legally just because they're not in school. That's something a parent might decide to do to encourage a child to finish their education, but the state government? That seems to be overstepping some bounds. I'm not saying it's not legal, but it makes me uncomfortable.
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By Dream_chaserPremium member Comments: 25854, member since Thu Jul 26, 2001
On Thu Jan 26, 2012 03:54 PM
Jonelle wrote:

^That seems fairly ridiculous to me. There are many reasons that someone might choose to leave school early, many of which have been ennumerated in this thread, but hardly any of them imply that the person will not be able to be a responsible driver. In other words, one has nothing to do with the other, so there's no good reason to prevent someone from driving legally just because they're not in school. That's something a parent might decide to do to encourage a child to finish their education, but the state government? That seems to be overstepping some bounds. I'm not saying it's not legal, but it makes me uncomfortable.


Haha, I know people with PHDs who I won't get in the car with, and drop outs who are great drivers. That's like saying only Italians can cook great spaghetti. LOL
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By kandykanePremium member Comments: 16346, member since Mon May 01, 2006
On Thu Jan 26, 2012 07:06 PM
Lol, it has nothing to do with 'ability' to drive. It's about keeping the kids in school and using the driver's license as an incentive. Oh, and at the heart of it, it's about money. The schools get money from the state for each kid that is in attendance. If more kids stay in school, the schools get more money from the state.

Insurance companies do reciprocate slightly by giving student drivers who are honor students a discount. But this also is based on money as kids who are honor student types have fewer accidents, statistically. (Forgive me for stating that awkwardly, but you get the gist.)

kk~
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By madseasonPremium member Comments: 1975, member since Wed Jan 04, 2006
On Thu Jan 26, 2012 08:57 PM
^But that would be unfair to many of the kids I know who graduated high school early and waited a few years to go to college. I knew numerous 16 year old kids who had a diploma but were not 'in attendance' anywhere. Wonder if there is a way around that, because otherwise it's unfair.
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By kandykanePremium member Comments: 16346, member since Mon May 01, 2006
On Thu Jan 26, 2012 09:13 PM
Edited by kandykane (157761) on 2012-01-26 21:18:33
Edited by kandykane (157761) on 2012-01-26 21:21:53 typos
Hm. Not sure about that. I'd have to check the state code. If I get time, I will. I'm curious, too, now that you've mentioned that.

EDIT: That was easier to find than I thought it might be. A high school diploma or certificate of completion can be presented to waive the in-attendence requirement.

www.drivinglaws.org . . .



kk~
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By DeStijlmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7023, member since Sat Jul 17, 2004
On Thu Jan 26, 2012 09:59 PM
The part of me that really values my education and all the oppertunities that it has given me, says yes.

However the other part of me knows that some kids are cut from a different rug and its just not possible for them. I do think you should have to stay until you're at least 16 years old. In Australia, that would be the equivalent to finishing you school certificate. It just makes things a bit easier later on in life, like getting any kind of low paying job or enrolling at TAFE.

A good handful of my childhood friends dropped out of high school before we finished our year 10 school certificate. Some of them were 15 and some were 16. None of them dropped out to get jobs. They dropped out because they were struggling with school in one way or another. ADD, learning disorders, family issues, whatever. It really sucked for them, but that was the choice they made.

I know the handful of people I know can't make for any reliable statistic, but none of them have held steady jobs. Ever. My two friends that dropped out in the middle of Grade 10 have been living off the state since. They've held some low skill, low paying jobs for a few weeks at a time, but never anything permanent. They've lamented to me about how hard it is for them to find any kind of work with a basically blank resume. They've had no guidance, no discipline and no opportunity for betterment of self since they were 16. Their choice to leave school left them estranged from their parents and families, and the whole thing is just a giant cycle for them.

I don't know what it is like in other places, but I think there needs to be WAY more support to keep kids like this in school. I went to a private school and the 'trouble' kids were usually just written off. Constantly on detention, undermined in classrooms that kind of thing. No real effort was made to help understand why school made them so troublesome and address it on their terms. Offering course work part time, introducing a vocational subject that might pull the non-academic student back - stuff like that. I think every single effort should be made by a school to accommodate a failing student before they let them see the door.
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By Moonlitefairy06member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 7156, member since Fri Apr 16, 2004
On Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:44 PM
In a perfect world, sure that sound great. All kids stay in school until they are 18. But what does "stay in school mean"?. To me it means attending classes every day except in circumstances such as illness, doing all your homework, preparing for tests, being respectful to teachers etc. This would not happen. It doesn't happen now where many states have the rule at 16. I think it's a waste of resources to have schools be babysitting services for students who do not want to be there and do not appreciate education. It's taking away teachers time from those who have the will to succeed. I am NOT saying only smart, honor roll students deserve to go to school. I am saying those who are willing to try their hardest deserve to get the most out of it, and not be cut short by those who are forced to be there. I believe states have rules about the maximum age you can be in high school. The oldest I've heard is 21 (other then those exceptions like Depression Kids or WWII vets etc). If there is a 21 year old, who has learning disabilities and it's taking longer to pass all the requirements, I have no problem with that person being in high school. They want to be there and they are trying. But it is a waste of our tax dollars to pour money into already overcrowded schools to force students to show up. I hate it, but thats the way it is. Not everyone will appreciate education and that shouldn't effect those that do. I also don't see how it can be enforced. The only thing I can think of is fines for missing days, which I have heard of schools doing. But I don't think people would pay, and enforcing them to pay through court dates would just cost tax payers more. Our country simply cannot afford this right now.

When the United States is compared education wise to other countries, we are often rankled quite low. One of the reasons for this is that we guarantee a high school education to all those who seek it. We don't weed out the bad students. We let them keep trying. If we only educated the best and the brightest, and the best and the brightest were the only ones taking standardized tests we would be a top academic country. But we consider education to be a right, not a privilege. I support that completely even if it means we'll always be "second best". But because we have a right to education doesn't mean we should be forced into it. I think dropping out should me harder to do. Everything should be done to prevent it. Parents should be involved. But the country isn't perfect and there is no point of forcing someone to be there when they truly don't want to be there. They can get a GED later, and in the mean time, they can get a job and become a tax paying citizen themselves instead of wasting taxpayer money.
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By kandykanePremium member Comments: 16346, member since Mon May 01, 2006
On Fri Jan 27, 2012 06:00 AM
All you who think dropouts can just 'get a job', I'd like to ask a question.... just exactly what kind of job do you think these kids can actually get? It's most likely going to be an entry level, dead end, low paying job. Yeah, I guess we do need those kinds of workers, but it's just that not many people want to be one of those workers. For very long, anyway. And what's the key to a better job? Education.

kk~
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By Munkensteinmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 14381, member since Mon Aug 11, 2003
On Fri Jan 27, 2012 07:35 AM
I agree with schooling of some sort until the age of eighteen but I don't agree with everybody being stuck in the same classes/program. Many kids know what kinds of things they'd like to do in life and I completely support the schools that let kids take career training courses during the last two years of high school. I think that kids should be able to finish traditional high school at sixteen if they want to go do a technical degree or if they're ready to start university courses.

When I was in high school I was incredibly bored most of the time and it would have helped me more to get out of that "one size fits all" type of education earlier and move on to what I wanted to study. I asked a teacher why I couldn't do something like that and she told me that I would change my mind, that I was too young to decide something like that. Yeah, I ended up majoring in the same thing, so nuts to her and everybody else who can't comprehend that some sixteen year olds ARE aware of things like that.

So yeah...I think that between sophomore and junior years of high school the path should split. Some kids could do college prep/start college courses and some could do career training. The current school system creates too many seventeen/eighteen year old high school graduates without many marketable skills. Having a part time job at McDonald's during high school is quite different than finishing schooling at eighteen with a certification to be a mechanic, license to be a cosmetologist, or whatever else.
re: Should individuals be mandated to attend high school until they reach age 18? en>fr fr>en
By MarlaSingermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3905, member since Fri Jul 25, 2008
On Fri Jan 27, 2012 07:59 AM
Lol, it has nothing to do with 'ability' to drive. It's about keeping the kids in school and using the driver's license as an incentive.


Sorry if I didn't make myself clear. I'm well aware that the state is not doing this because they feel that a high school education is actually necessary to be a good driver. I'm saying that BECAUSE the two things are not related in any way, the ONLY reason they are doing it is because they've decided to play the parent and withhold a privilege from those who aren't doing what they want them to do. And that makes me uncomfortable.
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