Legislature OKs raising the dropout age to 18

By Roger Alford/Associated Press, Published:

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky would join 15 other states that bar students from dropping out of school before they’re legally adults under a measure passed by the Legislature Monday.

The Senate voted 33-5 for final passage of the legislation that proponents say will prevent some 6,000 Kentucky teens from quitting school early each year.

Raising the dropout age from 16 to 18 has been a priority for Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, who has been pushing lawmakers to take action since he took office in 2007.

By passing the bill, Beshear said lawmakers “voted to stop allowing these students to jeopardize their future, and to stop costing Kentucky taxpayers millions of dollars in jails and social services.”

“This bill will help to break the cycle of poverty, close the revolving door of prison and improve the quality of life for all Kentuckians,” the governor said.

Beshear’s original proposal was to change the state’s generations-old dropout law incrementally, first to 17 and later to 18, allowing students and school districts time to adjust to the change.

Beshear maintained that raising the quitting age would have societal benefits because dropouts often are costly to state government because they’re more prone to rely on welfare programs or go to prison. And he has cited studies that showed dropouts who get jobs would make some $327,000 less over their lifetimes than high school graduates.

It was a compromise engineered by Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg, that led to passage of the proposal after years of heated debate. Givens took a competing proposal to allow individual school districts to choose whether to increase the dropout age to 18 and added a twist that made it acceptable to Beshear. That twist called for the dropout age to rise statewide after 55 percent of school districts sign on.

Lagging districts would have four years to comply.

“I view this as a tremendous victory for our state,” said Rep. Jeff Greer, D-Brandenburg, who had sponsored similar legislation in the House. “We’re sending a message to our young people that we have expectations for them.”

The bill wasn’t without detractors. Rep. Ben Waide, R-Madisonville, argued adamantly against the measure, warning colleagues that they would be forcing schools to deal with students who may be “violent offenders, beating up other students and beating up teachers.”

The legislation is Senate Bill 97.

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  • If the person who was hired to do the job of being the "webmaster" of this forum could do their job....the "ditch digger" would not have to invent ways to do bypass their lack of skill. And yes mechanic work is menial, manual labor, occupational labor; anyone with the proper tools and manuals can repair a motor, replace a headlight, and be educated within a year to do it....brain surgery, not so much. I do appreciate how you ignore the facts and the truth behind the issue though.....it is VERY liberal of you to determine a person can be FORCED to attend school after the legal age of consent, even if their aptitude and grades do not support a case for them being there. Not to mention the disruptive behavior that some of those people who do not want to be there incite.

  • Marketing Director fleshes out his theories with "Nope what it says is that; Not every person is a rocket scientist. Not every child is going to become a doctor or lawyer." ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Really? That is what it says to YOU? By requiring a troubled kid to attend school until they are 18 says all of that to you? What your repugnant comment says is that you can't comprehend nuance...which is not unusual for a Teabagger...as none of them can. There are no more short-sighted, Ayn Randish repugnant opinions being expressed in this thread than Marketing Director's. He thinks that being a mechanic is a "menial job"! ....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... BTW, it doesn't take "a rocket scientist" to figure out how to rig this site to make paragraphs...any ol' ditch digger could do it.

  • P.S. a classic example of wasted education is this board. You can't tell me the geniuses who run it can't adjust the CSS code to allow for punctuation and paragraphs; so all the people who post here do not look like a bunch of idiots (outside of their repugnant opinions).

  • Nope what it says is that; Not every person is a rocket scientist. Not every child is going to become a doctor or lawyer. You are not "giving up" when reality provides evidence that some people 'do not care'. In fact some people do not want to care. they have no desire to participate and those people should not be allowed to interrupt the educations of those who do. You also have the people who excel in other areas where it is better for them to get a vocational education VS a literal one. This world is ALWAYS going to need mechanics, pipe fitters, machinery operators, dog catchers, ditch diggers, cooks, waitresses, farm hands,......there are always going to be menial jobs, and you can't keep slipping people under the fence to work in them. Liberals try to push the idea that "every child deserves an education"....well not every child wants to learn; and you cannot force an education on someone who does not want it. You cannot force a drug addict off of drugs, or a thief to keep their hands in their pockets, and no matter how long you force someone to sit in a chair and listen to someone blather on about a subject, you cannot make them study or learn. Spending money and using legislation to force them to stay there isn't going to make them learn either......what is next, if they do not make "C"s you are going to charge them for being in the school house? So you won't let them quit, but if they do not perform, you charge them for being there...I said it the 1st time, this is about NOTHING but the $9.00 a day in federal education dollars given to schools for every student who is counted in attendance every morning; they could give a **** if you learn anything or not. As well it is about control and keeping their eye on you "big brother" knowing your whereabouts. If you are not in school, and you are not at a job working to produce for the state, then where are you? The hilarity is that in the 1st 200 years of this country we had fewer education mandates, yet we had greater individual success among men and women who wanted education and invented the most important tools of our lives. since the 1970s the laws have become thicker and the grades have dropped in direct proportion to them.

  • So Marketing Director thinks that we shouldn't invest anything extra in troubled kids...just kick em out cause they are trouble makers and will disrupt the classes. That is basically what we have been doing...and how has that worked out so far? He thinks that the proposal to keep them in school is "idiotic" and violates the Supremacy Clause...this says a lot more about him than it does the bill.

  • This law violates the Supremacy Clause,..the age of consent in Kentucky is 16 years old. the age of emancipation is 16 years old. A legally emancipated US Citizen can join the US military at 17, and a US Citizen can join the US military at 17 with parental consent if they are not emancipated. This is unconstitutional on its face and unenforceable,...it is not rocket science.

  • There are middle school students in Franklin County who drive themselves to school.(I have been told there is at least one seventh grader who drives to school.) This means there are kids who are at least 16 1/2 years old in the classes with 12 and 13 year olds. Raising the age limit is just going to cause the age gap in classes to be greater, the studente who do not want to be in school to be more disruptive, and the teachers' jobs a lot harder.

  • Please tell me what is idiotic about wanting children to get an education. Just because you turn 18 you think they all become criminals and troublemakers? I wish that this was in place when I was in school because I dropped out at 16 because I just KNEW that I really didn't need a formal education. BOY was I ever wrong. If you can't drop out at 16 years of age and must go until you're 18 looks like you won't be able to join the service until you are 18. Simple as that.

  • So you are going to keep troublemakers and criminal offenders in school, after the legal age of consent to disrupt the learning experience of those who do want to learn. All about those federal education dollars isn't it....that $9 dollars a head you get like a concert promoter every day of the week. What do you think you are going to do about those who join the US military at 17 years old? I see this idiotic law going down in courthouse flames.