Dropout age raised by legislator who dropped out

  • Article by: Jim Ragsdale , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 10, 2013 - 10:17 PM

Legislator who quit school to join the circus lobbied hard to raise compulsory attendance age.

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furguson11Aug. 10, 1310:46 PM

The Hennepin Workhouse helps offenders complete more GED's than most High Schools in MN graduate in a year (110). With a HS Degree and a basic certification in food service, crane operation, construction, welding or machine work people can actually get a job above minimum wage. Once that happens, recidivism drops. HS diplomas are not the end, but gives people a shot at an upward trajectory and reduces the amount of public benefits paid out over time.

heckyousayAug. 10, 1311:04 PM

I agree that forcing kids to learn is not a good idea, hopefully they will at least get their HS diploma before they set off to discover themselves. With some parental advice and support, 2 of my 3 kids took alternative paths after high school, and both came back to doggedly pursue a higher education path far different than they were headed for right out of high school. The difference? They were able to discover and pursue a course in life which truly thrilled and inspired them. But had they not had at least their HS diploma before they set out on their quests, they would not have had the opportunities to discover that they did. Get that diploma first. It'll serve you well as you set out on your quest of discovery.

alansonAug. 10, 1311:28 PM

Kids quit school for reasons. Perhaps they realize that the traditional high school has become a frustrating and demeaning experience for them. It's not clear that raising the compulsory attendance age does them much good. What's clear is that giving up on them would be a huge mistake. We should also focus on the alternative pathways to obtaining a high school credential in addition to pressuring these kids to continue to attend schools that are not serving them well.

morenews0013Aug. 11, 13 1:02 AM

No, honestly, a lot of kids don't quit school for a reason, at least not for a good one. Really. They quit school because they just don't want to get up. They quit school because nobody makes them go. They quit school because they've already missed so much school that it's too hard to go back. If they had the ambition to join the circus or ride a cargo ship to another land...or pursue an alternative education, that would be a different story but for a good percentage of dropouts it's inertia. I can tell you from years of teaching that this often just happens, rather than being a thought-out decision. A law may make that slow evolution into being a dropout a little tougher for the kid and the (often enabling) family. A person is pretty much unhireable without a high school diploma or GED; we might as well make it a little harder to slip into that category.

comment229Aug. 11, 13 5:20 AM

Short and sweet; so they don't want to be in school? They want to drop out when they are 15 and have to wait until they are 16? And if the bill passes, 17? Just what do you think they are going to do in every class all day long? There is a certain amount of our population that is highly unmotivated. Find out why. But requiring them to sit there for one more year is not fair to them, their classmates if they are disruptive, or the teachers.

comment229Aug. 11, 13 5:24 AM

PS A great place to start would be for this legislator to propose a bill that will allow students one of four diplomas, each for a different classification, such as "college bound" or "general ed." or "vocational" or "whatever" and then FUND IT.... Our curriculum is a lesson in irrelevance today, building on ideas that have long since become irrelevant. You cannot learn it all even though some people would have you try with that "broad education" philosophy. To those with this theory; how'd you do in welding class? Guess maybe it is not broad enough. Now, ask the welding kid how he did in English literature. You get the idea. Most schools have met the enemy, and they are us.

nkuhlmanAug. 11, 13 8:00 AM

For better or worse, I retained all my juvenilia, which I review from time to time. There’s a host of reasons to hate high school. Here are a few that percolate to the top: 1. The people who run high schools in many cases have never mentally left high school. 2. Excessive and inappropriate shaming about relatively normal dorky kid behavior. 3. Pointless authoritarianism and regimentation: pupil as prisoner/livestock. These categories are not mutually exclusive, and in fact there is overlap more often than not.

dentesterAug. 11, 13 8:09 AM

Ever notice that a trait of all democrat policy is to MANDATE things? This country is supposed to be about freedom of choice, remember?

borisbadenovAug. 11, 13 8:09 AM

What is the point making kids who don't want to be in a classroom be in a classroom. My father has kids listening to music on iPods and sleeping in the back of his class. Others are disruptive and negatively impact others ability to learn. These kids don't want to be there and should be allowed to leave.

Kathy_BrandtAug. 11, 13 8:16 AM

I have 2 sons. The eldest is doing the college track and loved school. The youngest hated school and from middle school on seemed to count the days until graduation. It was a fight to get him to go to school. There was one year that he used up all but 1 sick day by the middle of second semester and I had to force him to go so he would not fail a year. He would have loved it and thrived in school if there had been a vocational track he could have followed instead of the "college-bound" track all students in our school are forced to take. I wish there was more vocational and technical instruction in our schools, so that those who feel like square pegs being forced into round holes would have somewhere (besides quitting) to turn to. Many times the last 2 years of school, the only thing that kept my son from quitting was the age limit. That option would never have even been thought about if the school had offered the programs he would have succeeded well at.


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