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Forcing potential dropouts to stay could backfire

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More  March 8, 2012 04:38 PM

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The high school dropout rate in Massachusetts has been steadily declining since 2007 but that is not stopping some advocates from wanting an even lower one, even if means forcing kids to stay in school after they hit 16. .

BOSTON — Massachusetts high school students would be required to stay in school until age 18 under a bill approved Thursday by a legislative panel hoping to reduce the number of students who drop out of school . The compulsory school attendance age in Massachusetts is currently 16, with certain exceptions for children as young as 14.

In addition to raising the dropout age to 18, with no exemptions, the bill advanced by the joint Education Committee contains other proposals to get students "across the finish line to graduation," said Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, D-Boston, who co-chairs the panel.

Two questions for the advocates of this proposal:

Why force kids to stay in school when they clearly do not want to be there? Odds are they are disruptive and create all kinds of problems for the other students, effectively dragging down the entire student body.

Why should students that want to be there suffer because the government wants to force kids to stay that clearly do not want to be there? A program like this would only drain precious educational resources that could go to students that want to participate.

This idea has its heart in the right place but it appears it may hurt more people than it helps.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Garrett Quinn began writing for newspapers at age 17 with CNC in his native South Shore. He has been published in BlueMassGroup, RedMassGroup, Pioneer Investigates, and Wonkette. He is a More »

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