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King_Pariah's avatar

Obama wants to ban students from dropping out until they're 18, what do you think?

Asked by King_Pariah (11446points) January 25th, 2012

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General synopsis: Obama is issuing a challenge to the states to ban students from dropping out of school until they are 18. Republicans say it’s not his place to issue such a challenge some saying that this is more of a local or state or parental issue.

Your thoughts?

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60 Answers

trailsillustrated's avatar

Well if it’s true, it’s a GOOD thing!

JLeslie's avatar

Isn’t the law 16 right now? Or, does that vary by state?

I don’t think the law will change the behavior of children who want to drop out. I’d rather see more efforts in getting children through high school faster and/or keeping the kids interested while in school.

King_Pariah's avatar

According to the article, twenty states already meet his standards. Personally I believe that 16 with parental permission is fine.

auhsojsa's avatar

I wish he’d mention mandatory college not that it would ever happen but if it were thought about that’d be a start and I could rest in peace when I’m dead. Wow what a super nation we’d be. Everyone in the same boat and knowledgable people at the poles wow!

jrpowell's avatar

First. Read the article. I did it for you.

“Obama wasn’t proposing a new federal program, but his use of the bully pulpit to tell local jurisdictions how to run their school districts was enough to make some Republicans, already sensitive to the increasing role of the federal government in education over the past few years, bristle.”

So he is basically asking for local truancy laws to be enforced.

So you are spreading lies. Or you are lazy. Your choice.

King_Pariah's avatar

General synopsis: Obama is issuing a challenge to the states to ban students from dropping out of school until they are 18.

I never said a new federal program thank you very much.

jrpowell's avatar

Obama wants to ban students from dropping out until they’re 18, what do you think?

That is a bit of a misleading headline.

Blueroses's avatar

What if we drop the word “Obama”, and discuss if this is a good or bad idea?

Pandora's avatar

I think you can’t make someone do something they have no desire to do. It is especially harmful to those students who do desire to learn but are constantly being disrupted by students not wishing to stay in class or students who will then risk expellsion to be let out.
My niece never liked schools and the teachers became more like her parole officer than a teacher. Not because they wanted to but rather because they knew she would skip out of school in between classes.
She never graduated and I don’t blame the school for that. She had truant officers pick her up and drop her off to school and she would be good for a while and there were the times she ran away and all the fake illnesses. She had a lot of good teachers that tried with her but for too many years she was easily passed from one grade to the next to make her the next teachers problem child.
The only way this would work is if they make a school that is geared to handle children with learning difficulties. Not every school has the money to handle children who need a more one on one approach.

auhsojsa's avatar

@johnpowell Well technically @King_Pariah ‘s title is correct and extracts the overall essence of Obama’s actions. If Obama is in fact issuing the thought, it’s what he would want, it’s under the surface.

I think since 18 is when you are free to try and be adult, it’s also a good time then to give them a decision of dropping out. 16, 17 (overall adolescence years) is such a renegade age.

King_Pariah's avatar

@johnpowell I think you are assuming I am implying something I am not.

Blueroses's avatar

I would disagree with the principle of raising the voluntary drop-out age, regardless of who is the sponsor.

The kids who are dropping out at 16 are mostly done with the system. IF we kept in place, an alternative schooling program that addressed these children’s needs, I would be in favor of forcing them to remain in the system for another 8 months (enough time to earn 1 year’s worth of credits and turn their attitude around). If they completed that, and decided to still drop out (regardless of age at that time), I’d assign a one-on-one tutor to try to get him/her through the GED.

Really. Tutors cost so little.

cazzie's avatar

It is more a matter of sorting out the school systems and enforcing truancy laws. It sounds like the article is written with quite a bit of sarcasm. Odd. Infotainment? I wasn’t entertained and this wasn’t much of a news article.

jazmina88's avatar

I think it is a good move for our childrens future. to guarantee a good start instead of the streets at a earlier age.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

It’s a stupid idea. If kids want to quit school, let them. We need people to take the garbage collectors jobs. One of my children quit school and went straight to college. There would have been no reason to make him stay in high school. I think if kids age 16 and above do not want to be in school they will fail anyway. It’s a waste of tax dollars and creates bad situations (sometimes) for the kids that are actually doing the work and making the grades. I see NO REASON to force kids to stay in public school past 16. The idea of school is learning, not simply the presence of lazy kids just waiting until they can quit.

cazzie's avatar

@MollyMcGuire I do not thing the topic relates to kids who are 16 and have the credits to leave. I think they are talking about kids that are failing their classes and not attending school and fixing the problems related to that. If a 16 year old has enough credits and gets a decent SAT score and goes to university, the system hasn’t failed that kid and it is not what Obama or the writer of the article is talking about. Good on your kid for using the system and getting to college. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be enough vacancies in the garbage collectors sector for all the kids flunking and quitting school.

I´m in favour of early vocational programs and apprenticeships. Where I live, they started bringing proper chef/restaurant classes into high schools for the kids who wanted to give it a go and as a class for kids who weren’t doing so hot in the usual subjects. It seems to be inspiring a few. Real life, handson, practical work and career options.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

@cazzie I don’t think kids should be held hostage any longer than 16 years in public school. It is horrific. Many kids who have the desire and aptitude to finish quit and get a GED just because they hate high school. That wasn’t the case with my son, but it is with some, especially decent kids in horrible inner city schools. Forcing kids to stay in school until they are 18 is just a stupid idea from a desperate politician trying to appeal to a wide base. My state takes away a driver license of a kid who quits school until he reaches 18. That’s enough of an incentive for the marginal quitter that staying may actually end up in a graduation. For most they would simply be a burden on the system often being the way drugs get into schools. Also, I don’t agree that every kid who quits school has been failed by “the system.” They have been failed by their parents. That where the difference lies.

cazzie's avatar

@MollyMcGuire so, what did you go to school for? Drama?

elbanditoroso's avatar

Let’s be honest about this.

Better educated people make more money and contribute more to the economy, and end up with better jobs.

So encouraging – even forcing – people to finish high school has huge positive effects, short and long term.

Sure, there are people (like the asker) who feels that anything Obama suggests is immediately bad. But that’s based on emotion, not logic.

Remember that the right wing, eager to have an upper class and a slave class, does not like to have too many educated people. THey want the elite to be rich, educated, and republican. They do not want an educated middle class, because they might be a threat to the upper class.

So the underlying issue of the question being asked is “Is Obama’s push for education threatening the republican plan to reshape society to match the upper class/lower class strategy?” And the answer is“yes”. And that is good.

Remember Republicans, if you create a multi-class society, eventually the elite fails. Historically, the elite get their heads cut off.

judochop's avatar

I think he needs to only focus on jobs, the rest will follow.

chyna's avatar

I think it is just as bad an idea as the “no student left behind” of the Bush admin.
If you force kids to stay in school that do not want to be in school you are creating a classroom with students who are disruptive to the students that are there to learn. They would only be there because they are forced to be, not to learn. And that creates a hostile environment. The teacher then has to be a policeman and not a teacher.

tedd's avatar

I would support something along the lines of 18 or graduate, plus 16 with parental permission.

I think all of the concerns about creating bad atmospheres with students who are disruptive being there and what not…. are separate issues that we need to take care of as well… and I wouldn’t discount this plan because another plan has never been implemented.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

@cazzie I’m a lawyer; you?

tedd's avatar

@MollyMcGuire Well you could very well have still gone to school for drama, and gotten into Law School using that bachelors degree. In fact given the profession and the dramatic courtroom testimony and proceedings… one might find a Drama degree quite valuable :) lol

everephebe's avatar

I think it’s a bad move. I dropped out myself – now I’m on the Dean’s list at my university. If a kid wants out I say why the hell not. It’s attempting to fix the wrong problem. They are plenty of good reasons to drop out of high school, here are two of them: Richard Branson and Johnny Depp.

filmfann's avatar

In my area, drop out rates are nightmarish. I am all for a local law to force kids to be in school until they are 18. If they leave, or are expelled from a school, have a trade school or something so they can learn something useful before becoming a leach on society.

CWOTUS's avatar

By default I am opposed to laws that attempt to coerce people into someone else’s idea of “good behavior” and which restrict liberty, no matter what noble cause is invoked. Moreover, I am strongly opposed to the continuation of “business as usual” in public schools that try to do everything in the world, it seems, except to actually teach young people. That means the public school teachers’ unions, for one thing, and the bureaucracies which employ them. I generally love teachers. I generally hate unions. I nearly always hate bureaucracies.

As usual, the president has promoted a feel-good intention as another mandate on “others” that would have tremendous negative unintended consequences. The teachers’ unions and school bureaucracies would be strengthened (which is a clearly intended consequence, after all), but so would the police. I wonder how many have thought of the necessary expansion of police powers in this regard?

As others have pointed out, the students who do want to attend school to learn and get an education would be at the mercy of those who were more or less serving time (as prisoners with rights to return home every night, if we’re going to face the truth of it). So schools would become more violent, less productive and continue on a downhill spiral. Soon the call would be for “mandatory schooling until age 21” or beyond.

I’m fully in favor of “promoting” education. I’m four-square in support of “more and better schooling”. I am, I think, unalterably opposed to more public schooling of the type that is already failing so miserably that we need to extend ‘compulsory school attendance’ and, as usual, opposed to more laws and more coercion to “make” people do what intelligent people normally want to do anyway.

No, this will be another failure.

YoBob's avatar

Well, IHMO that makes about as much sense as “solving” the healthcare issue by mandating that individuals purchase health insurance that they currently don’t have because they can’t afford it.

Sure… dropping out of school is a horrifically bad idea, but making it illegal to drop out before you are 18 is not going to do a damned thing to keep the dead end kids from opting to do something with their time other than sit in a classroom that they believe has little value to them.

GoldieAV16's avatar

@YoBob The idea is to not JUST raise the dropout age, but to enrich the curriculum to appeal to a wider range of students.

I have to say it kind of both cracks me up and startles me when the government encourages states or citizens to practice good so-called common sense – like raising the dropout age or eating healthier – and people object. What, do we want a bunch of fat dummies in this country? Sheesh…I don’t care WHO conveys the message; anyone who is promoting wise choices is doing a public service.

The US ranks first among the 30 OECD countriesfor the percent of 55 to 64-year-olds who have a high school degree or equivalent, but drops to 11th among 25 to 34-year-olds. In contrast, Korea ranks 24th among 55 to 64-year-olds but first among 25 to 34-year-olds (OECD, 2006).

We’re moving in the wrong direction, at a time when our ability to compete globally couldn’t be more critical. At least this gets the dialogue going again – and IMHO that’s a good thing.

YoBob's avatar

Great to see you @GoldieAV16 . You still hanging around on Askville as well?

In general I am all for drastic reduction in the size and scope of government. However, among the few things that I believe government should be very actively involved in, education is at the top of the list. Enriching the curriculum is a darned good idea, but trying to solve the problem by making it illegal to drop out is just silly. That’s kind of like trying to solve the problem of obesity by making it illegal to consume more than 2000 calories a day.

tranquilsea's avatar

Schools are acting more and more like prisons.

tedd's avatar

@YoBob I think enforcing some kind of illegal to drop out rule in combination with several other changes… would be very positive. On it’s own, I still like it, but I can see the issues people have with it.

mazingerz88's avatar

Obama should raise it to the age of 30. Kids who are still dumb enough to exit high-school should be forced to stay until they learn. Not everyone could be like Johhny Depp or Richard Branson. And it’s not about unhappy children’s liberty being violated or their parent’s rights…for Goofy’s sake, it’s education. People of all ages should be up and fighting in acquiring it.

But whatever, yeah, you do have rights to be dumb. Just don’t expect me to respect that once you’re begging or demanding for jobs that you could never qualify in the first place.

YoBob's avatar

@tedd – Just curious how you intend to enforce such a rule. Frankly, I think our police force has more important things to deal with than rounding up truants every day.

@mazingerz88 – I totally agree that when it comes to education “People of all ages should be up and fighting in acquiring it.”, and that is kind of the crux of the matter. Those that realize the value of knowledge can and do fight to acquire it. As for the rest, to use a couple of tired old cliches, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear and you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.

CWOTUS's avatar

While we’re at it he should press for passage of a law that kids everyone must have at least two servings of vegetables daily. Just think of all the Red State votes he’d win!

Paradox25's avatar

Maybe as a society we should be tackling the issues that force many kids to dread going to school to begin with instead of forcing them to do something they don’t want to do. If kids don’t want to to go to school for one reason or another how is forcing them to attend beneficial to anyone?

SpatzieLover's avatar

As a homeschooling mom, I’m not for mandating HS to age 18. It will create more issues. It’s a band-aid for a system that needs a complete overhaul. Once again, they are attempting to take care of a symptom instead of addressing the real issues.

elbanditoroso's avatar

If one party can advocate for a law that abortions are illegal totally across the board, why can’t the other party advocate that leaving school prior to 18 is illegal across the board.

They both deal with the autonomy of the person.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Why does education need to be delegated as a party issue? I’m a very left-leaning individual @elbanditoroso. My thoughts on education are so far right-leaning most conservatives don’t agree with me. Middle ground can certainly be accomplished without mandates.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@SpatzieLover – I answered it that way because the OQ posed the question that way.

JLeslie's avatar

I think there is already an expectation for children to complete high school.

I think the laws regarding children to attend school are, or were, developed to protect the child, not to force them to go. Although, I do think part of the regulations were to force them to go. What I mean by protect is parents can’t pull theor kids out to help at home, work the farm, watch the other children, etc etc. Back during the days of child labor and America had more rural communities, the parents might not have seen the point of education much past learning to read and write. Society has changed drastically for the most part.

Focusing on the age is not where the focus should be. There should be a focus on the diploma, and more flexibity in the system on how to acheive the diploma.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I agree @JLeslie. Unfortunately more laws would equal more issues, especially for bright kids. If regulations were in place that forced them to go until 18, many would be held back from early college enrollment.

JLeslie's avatar

@SpatzieLover Well, you know I fully agree with fast tracks for students to graduate. I think drop out probably at least 50% of the time has to do with social issues in high school, or unhappy children, more than inability to do the work.

tedd's avatar

If I were in charge and had unlimited power to fix the problem, this is what I do…

1) Teachers are making 6 digit incomes starting immediately. This will encourage competition. A lot of people who are in college and opt to become doctors, or pharmacists, or engineers, will now look at teaching as a viable option because of the pay. That is how you’re going to get more good teachers.

2) With that pay, teachers are going to be held much more accountable. If more than X% of their class fails to pass standards then they’re out the door. I don’t want to have them teach to a test though, so it would have to be something much more universal.

3) Summer breaks are gone. Trimester system starts immediately, with two week gaps between trimesters. We waste too much time reteaching our kids what they forgot over summer break before we can start. Plus it could help them have a bit more structure in their overall lives, as a lot of kids are left to their own devices (thanks to shoddy parents) for 2–3 months of the year.

4) To help pay the teachers, we’re going to cut back spending on stuff that doesn’t really have to do with education. I’m all for athletics, but cuts are going to have to come from somewhere. I know some schools in my area have campus’ that would make most colleges jealous, that money is getting diverted. I know text books need to be kept up to date, but that’s honestly only to a point. And all these assistant principles and aids like that… i’m losing about half of them at least.

5) Teachers are going to have much looser leashes with what they can and can’t do to maintain order in their classrooms. I have no specific ideas on what would be done with particular problem children (as I feel that is more of an issue that should be addressed via social services… ala if a family can’t care for a kid then something needs to be done)... but I would be open to suggestions.

I think with major overhauls such as those, the ban on dropping out until your 18 (with notable exceptions for graduation, parental permission, etc)... would be quite helpful.

JLeslie's avatar

@tedd Several cities do have public schools with 9 weeks on 2 weeks off. There is one abput 45 minutes from where I live. I don’t know if anyone around the country has bothered to gather statistics on how successful the schedule is. I like it for parents more than anything. Some parents have busy times of work during the summer and during holidays. The year round school year gives more flexibitilty for vacations. I also think as a student I would have liked it much better. It isn’t trimesters though, it is four quarters. Unless I am calculating wrong. 9 weeks would be 45 days, and kids need 180 days a year of school in most states. I was on trimesters in college.

CWOTUS's avatar

I think there’s another aspect to this that people are overlooking. If children are in school ‘by law’ until age 18, then they are also ‘not available for work’, and so wouldn’t count towards “unemployed” counts. By law, then, by prohibiting these younger potential workers from full-time employment, the unemployment rate would drop. (Of course, it would be presented in a more positive light as: “Look at all of the teachers who are now employed!” rather than “Look at how we arbitrarily slashed “unemployment”!)

Kardamom's avatar

In theory it sounds like a good idea, but unless a lot of things are changed or fixed within the broken system, kids with problems will leave anyway.

If this is going to work, they need to have comphrehensive means to assess what problems the students are having (boredom, learning disabilities, being bullied, having parents who don’t care, attitude problems with authority etc.) Once the problems are figured out, then these kids would/should be funneled into appropriate courses or programs where they are able to get the help that they need.

I don’t think it’s right to keep disruptive kids in regular classrooms, but just sending them to detention isn’t going to help. They need to be sent to a class or a program that is separate from the rest of the students, whether it is a program with intensive tutoring, or counseling for troubled kids, or whatever it is that they need. And it would be helpful if there were other options such as going to a trade school or other job training program, or even some type of community service type of program. The main part should be to actually help the kids, but in some cases, the point should be to keep disruptive kids off the street and out of trouble (that may sound like a prison, but if they don’t get sorted out, that’s where they will ultimately end up any way).

And the parents need to be held accountable for making sure that their kids don’t cause trouble for those students who want to learn. But anyone who has ever been a teacher, or who has any teachers in their family know that all too often now, lazy or belligerent parents often blame and threaten the teacher when in reality, the parent spoiled their child and let them mouth off, or be lazy and not do the required work, or the parents demand special treatment, “Because my child is a genius and we have money and political influence and we deserve special treatment.” Or the opposite, the parents are lazy and simply don’t care and don’t do anything to help their child (or the school or the teacher) to make sure that their child does the work and learns. There are a lot of stupid people who have children.

When they turn 18 and decide to be disruptive they can go to jail if they want to, but before that, it’s up to the parents and the schools and even government to protect them and help them, because they are still considered minors.

But none of this will be successful unless there are major changes to business as usual. Unfortunately there is no money, an no consensus to make these changes.

JLeslie's avatar

@CWOTUS Interesting point. I would assume any law requiring a child to be in school through age 18 would have an exception for children who have already graduated. This is why the age requirement does not work. I finished school at age 16, just a few weeks before my 17th birthday. My dad graduated at 16, and my mom at 17.

saint's avatar

Some will simply continue, for a couple of more years, to disrupt schools and classes and fuck it up for the people who are motivated to become educated. Thanks once again, government.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

@tedd Did you know that only about 10% of us ever even go into court?

MollyMcGuire's avatar

@saint Yep. Once again I agree with you.

tedd's avatar

@MollyMcGuire I guess I’m in that 10%, lol…. But ok, I don’t understand what bearing that has on my last statement though.

My point was basically that I like this idea, but it needs to go hand in hand with other significant overhauls of our education system to really be effective.

Nullo's avatar

Schools are run by the various states; Barry has no right to make any ruling about how they’re run. And if he’s playing fair, he’ll stay out of education entirely.

@elbanditoroso The abortion issue is being approached on a state-by-state basis. In any case, abortions are one human forcing her will on another.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

@Nullo You know how the Feds operate—they just tell the states: if you want the Fed education dollars you gotta play our way—but we aren’t forcing you.

JLeslie's avatar

@MollyMcGuire That’s true, but last I read the fed only gives about 9% of the funding that goes into public education, that probably varies by state. So, education is primarily funded by the states, and if they really feel strongly they can pass on the federal funding without an extreme impact. I know that is still a lot of dollars, but it isn’t impossible if they want to take a stand.

cazzie's avatar

Let me put this on a global scale for all of you in favour of totalling abandoning what passes for an ‘education system’ in the US….

The US only ranks, what we would call, ‘fair to midling’.

Could the system get better, somehow? If people keep jumping on ANYONE who tries to do something to improve the incredibly mediocre to inferior job that is being done now, nothing will change. Kids will continue to slide by and the US will will be a one of those places that encourage their best and brightest to move abroad for better opportunities. National Brain Drain.

Nullo's avatar

@cazzie I’m not entirely convinced that this is entirely an education-side problem. A lot of the people that I know who couldn’t convince you of their secondary education are not interested. One of the guys that I worked with – a fairly bright guy, very efficient with his time and resources, who had been all the way through HS – could not spell, and did not know what clouds were made of. He was a back-of-the-room sort.

The issue is larger than just education and culture, though. There’s money and power involved. It is generally agreed upon that the system needs an overhaul, if not a ground-up restructuring. But who, and how? The federal government is out of the question: it has demonstrated an overeagerness to expand its power. And education is such a juicy plum. All those little minds! The future!

cazzie's avatar

@Nullo We really do agree on this subject. Obama’s message was not, ‘The federal government is going to do .. blah blah..’ He was telling the States that they need to do something about the problem. The way schools are funded, with local property taxes, is ridiculous. The lower the property values, the less funded a school becomes. How does that NOT create a downward spiral of failure?

I know plenty of people who can’t spell or lack general knowledge but are very good at what they do and make a decent living and have other skills. My problem is kids leaving school with almost no skills or ideas at all. I don’t believe that schools teach talent or skills. That is naive, but schools should be teaching the kids enough about everything where the kids discover what they are good at and what they are interested in. The schools are too big. The parents are both working or, too often, apathetic. Teachers are underpaid and under resourced. The list of problems is long, but like my mom used to tell me, writing down your problems is only a small step in solving them.

The classroom has far too much in common with local government and bureaucrats. They, all too often, become the stage for micro-megalomaniacs. Schools and Universities should NOT be at the mercy of two yearly elected officials. Wisconsin (my home state) is a prime example of the travesty of that system.

Nullo's avatar

@cazzie Oh, I know that the message wasn’t about the federal government taking over. But more power upwards is the only outcome that I could think of. Most states aren’t rolling in cash; the federal government isn’t either, but it likes to pretend that it is.

So we can agree that we can’t trust people who have the money that the schools need.

cazzie's avatar

Did you see what happened to Jamie Oliver when he started digging into the school lunch government contracts in the US? He was so concerned about what the kids were eating and how it was sourced that he opened a hornets nest and that set of shows will never air. Corruption = kids eat shit and die stupid.

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