Skip to comments.Should High School Graduation be Mandatory?
Posted on 02/06/2012 5:01:12 PM PST by gabriellah
President Obama seems to be rather fond of mandates. We are all familiar with his health care insurance mandate and his love of executive orders. Now it seems that he wishes to solve our educational woes with mandatory high school graduation (or at least attendance until the age of 18). It seems strange that the president should choose to address this relatively minor problem so emphatically when faced with the ever more dire threats of debt the size of the nations economy, the prospect of a nuclear Iran, and the continuing financial crises.
First, it is important to address the issue of choice. What seems to be a common theme in politics repeats itself; the government allows individuals a choice. When individuals make the wrong choice, the government declares the ability to choose must be eliminated. This attitude is especially disquieting in a nominally pro-choice President. It seems that in the eyes of the administration, a seventeen-year-old girl is qualified to decide the fate of her unborn child, but is unable to decide whether or not to attend high school.
The practical reality of this proposal also brings into question its moral integrity. The federal government involves itself only to the extent of requiring states to require students to stay until graduation or their 18th birthday. Despite stripping the states of the right to decide the minimal amount of high school education, the federal government still leaves the states to pay for it. There is some degree of correlation between low graduation rates and high poverty rates in states. Mississippi, the state with the highest rate of poverty, also has a graduation rate of 63.9%. Although 100% graduation is not realistic, even under Obamas plan, let us assume the goal of 100% graduation is achieved. This would represent a 56.5% increase in student population at Mississippi high schools. Either the state must raise taxes on its already financially beleaguered population or accept larger class sizes and fewer teachers per student. One option would harm a vulnerable economy while the other would create an environment where academic enrichment is even harder to obtain. This makes the incentive to drop out even greater.
This plan has been tried before in various states, like New Mexico, whose graduation rate is, nevertheless, only 65%, as well as Texas, which is scarcely better at 67%, and Hawaii at 69%. More positive examples do exist, like Wisconsin, with an impressive 85% graduation rate. Iowa, meanwhile, lets students drop out at 16 years old and has an astounding 93% graduation rate. Georgia also lets 16-year-old students drop out and has a graduation rate of only 54%. There does not appear to be any correlation whatsoever between minimum age for dropping out and graduation rates.
A survey conducted by John M. Bridgeland, John J. DiIulio, Jr., and Karen Burke Morison cited a number of reasons why students decided to drop out of high school. Though the individual reasons vary greatly, a common theme of disengagement seems present among them. 47% of drop-outs surveyed said that classes were uninteresting, 65% reported frequently missing class and 81% said that their education should have been more applicable to the workplace. Simply mandating graduation for these students is unlikely to produce the desired results. According to this survey, 32% had already repeated grades prior to dropping out. Before taking the drastic step of mandating high school graduation, it would be sensible to look for new ways to engage students and make their education relevant to their careers.
Nevertheless, the high school drop-out problem is far too complex to fit into the neat formula of a single solution. It may be true that mandatory attendance until the age of 18 is the best idea, but it is not likely to be the best idea in every case. As such, this problem is best addressed on a local level by state governments and individual communities who are most aware of the problems facing their schools. After all, isnt it their choice?
I think we should set the kids free from all mandatory schooling. Parents who want their kids to make something of their lives will see that they get an education.
Seems to me that we have too many kids who want to learn being locked up in buildings with kids who don’t.
Make it mandatory and it will mean nothing!
Voting against rats should be mandatory.
Making it mandatory means dumbing down the standards to ensure that EVERYONE graduates.
We’re going to turn out 18 year olds with the math comprehension of a nematode.
America is cooked, and we’ll be consumed if this festering pile of Kenyan animal excrement is re-elected in November.
This is just my two cents and I will probably get flamed but NO... high school graduation should NOT be mandatory. Besides the obvious choice and freedom of the parents and child, there is the little “discipline” issue. High school kids who are the disruptive/drug using/gang banging/poor academic and behavioral issue students may want to drop out. Why not? They aren’t participating academically or behaviorally. Mandate a high school degree (or to stay in school until age 18), you are essentially punishing the “good” kids by keeping the “bad” kids in school. Unfortunately, I have seen this firsthand in the local high school.
My sister is working on getting my 13 year old niece enrolled in one of the online schooling programs. There’s a 2000 student cap on the number enrolled in this state and 5000 already on the waiting list. She likes the curriculum better and she won’t have to face the crap that goes on in the school anymore.
I know I would have benefited a great deal from something like that but there wasn’t even an internet in the 80s.
I heard it said once there are 3 things a person can do that would put them into the 89 percentile of having a successful and fulfilling life.
1. Finish High School
2. Dont have children before you are Married.
3. Dont marry before the age of 24
If making High School mandatory that will severily impact High School being on that list.
In fact, this is what most other countries do anyway. America is practically the only (if not the only) country that educates all of it's children, and it's why our scores look so bad when compared to other countries.
Seems like the progressive solution would be a Minimum Grade.
It sort of works like a Minimum Wage.
Noone gets less than a “D” then in futrure election they vote to raise the Minimun Grade to a “C” Then a “B”
Until finally, everyone is as dumb as a turnip but they are all “A” students.
It won’t matter. We just had an ad placed for an open position and the amount of cover letters we got was huge.
Unfortunately, 95% of the cover letters not only had so many spelling mistakes but these “university” graduates could not even write a coherent paragraph...just ONE paragraph of why they are suited for the position. Thank God we didn’t even bother to state ‘attach your resume’ as it will be useless. My business partner almost cried at the next generation of idiots this country produced and will produce.
My 20 year old son will tell you that pulling him out of public school his SR. year and enrolling in an online school was the best thing for him.
He did one year of college and hated every minute of general education. He’s in his 2nd semester of intensive welding classes and is ga-ga gonzo for learning it and the math, science and analytical skills that go along with the program.
We should educate all of the kids who want to be educated and a fair number of adults would eventually decide to educate themselves. I quit school in my junior year and ended up taking my GED test before my classmates graduated.
Yeah, my parents wouldn't buy me a computer OR let me on the internet when I wuz a kid. It was child abuse I tell ya.
Typing papers straight through was an ordeal. Plagiarism was tougher too. One had to do one's own math (except for * ,/, ^, log on a slide rule).
They did buy me a (loaded) dual holster gun belt though.
Hopefully the online thing will burst the college tuition bubble.
My opinion is that at age 16, the student and his parents could opt for the student to attend a trade school.
We have a real need for well trained carpenters, auto mechanics, child care personnel, and the like in this country. Many people just aren’t geared for the academic life.
I think we would get a lot more bang for our bucks if we offered kids the choice at a certain age to take a different path other than straight academics.
That reminds me of a recurring nightmare I had well into my thirties. I would dream that I was still in school, at my then-current age, and failing my classes doomed not to graduate once again.
Strangely enough I did graduate high school and was never held back a grade.
I guess my subconscious knew that was a fraud! lol
Making it mandatory til 18 will not guarantee they actually graduate. We have many kids now who just ride out the system til theyre 16, adding 2 more years only increases the amount the tax payer is on the hook for. Gotta get their 2 square meals a day.
Anybody thought about the increase in crime in schools? Schools will become even worse playgrounds for thuggery. This is not a real solution to any problem. Its political pandering to all those with their heads firmly rectally implanted and no clue about kids or education.
“Anybody thought about the increase in crime in schools?”
Yup. See post 6. I am sure there are the teens who are bright and want to get their GED and go on to bigger and better things. However, I unfortunately hear about and see the teens who are being “forced” to stay. Not a pretty sight at all.
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