Obama Brings Big Government to High School

The state should not force kids to stay in school until they're 18.

Many teenage kids regard school as the functional equivalent of prison—where they are forced to endure oppressive rules, bad food, and unpleasant company. For them, Barack Obama has a message: There will be no parole.

In his State of the Union address, the president came out in favor of warehousing youngsters for longer than ever. We know, insisted Obama, "that when students aren't allowed to walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma. So tonight, I call on every State to require that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18."

Most states now allow students to drop out at 16 or 17. As a general rule, though, quitting high school restricts your options and reduces your income. Few adults would advise a youngster to leave without a diploma.

But general rules don't apply in all cases. The question here is not whether most students are better off finishing high school; it's whether the kids who otherwise would drop out are better off being forced to finish high school.

That's a very different question. Candidates who stay in the presidential race past April are far more likely to get the nomination than candidates who give up in January. But Rick Perry wasn't going to win even if he had stayed in till Christmas. If you're headed in the wrong direction, it doesn't help to keep going.

Why Obama floated the idea, with minimal explanation, is an open question. But the National Education Association, the country's biggest teachers union, has been pushing it. If you were cynical, you might think the union likes the proposal because it would mean more kids in school, which would mean more jobs for teachers, and that Obama likes it because the NEA endorsed him.

But even if their motives are pristine, it doesn't mean they are sound. The problem is that the youngsters who are most likely to drop out are the ones who are least likely to learn if they stay.

If they are 1) struggling to pass, 2) unwilling to apply themselves, 3) chronically tardy and absent, or 4) simply not very bright, they won't learn much from being locked in a cell—I mean a classroom—for two extra years.

James Heckman, a Nobel laureate economist at the University of Chicago who specializes in education, is skeptical of the proposal. At the college level, he told me, "The returns to people who are not very able or not very motivated are typically quite low." There is evidence that kids may get some benefit from being required to stay in high school until 16 instead of 15, he says, but "it's a weak reed to lean on."

Let's also not forget that the highest dropout rates are in the worst schools. Even the kids who want an education often graduate from these schools barely able to read. Where does Obama get the idea that the reluctant students, compelled to remain, will reap a rich harvest of learning?

It might be argued that even if there is no benefit from keeping these students around till they turn 18, there can't be any harm. But think again.

The presence of disruptive, unmotivated kids in a class is a drain on teachers, a distraction to other students, and a daily obstacle to learning. One of the best things you can do for students who want to do the right thing is to remove those who would rather goof off or make trouble.

It's not clear that laws like this will even work. A 2010 Johns Hopkins University study found that when six states raised the mandatory attendance age, three saw no increase in graduation rates—and one saw a decline. Coauthor Robert Balfanz praises the 18-year-old mandate, but told The New York Times that "it's not the magical thing that in itself will keep kids in school."

If you want to keep unwilling students in school, you can spend money on truancy enforcement, which means taking money away from the willing students. It would be more rational to use the funds on education improvements so more kids will choose to stay.

A private company—or a private school—whose customers are fleeing has to come up with ways to keep them around. In Obama's public sector, there is a quicker solution: Lock the exits.

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  • NEA Kommandant||

    You vill not leave skul until I permit it!

  • lily||

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  • Junior Stalinist Skool Klub||

    You beat me to da punch, NEA K.

  • E. German Border Guard||

    Ve know vere you are!

  • Suki||

    Morning links after 9:05AM, maybe.

  • Adorable Hitler Youth Kamp||

    Ve do, Ve do. Amerika Uber Alles.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    "Warning: You are under video surveillance," reads the bold message on the side of the truck. From the front bumper of the menacing vehicle, another sign taunts: "Whatcha gonna do when we come for you?" The truck is a new weapon for the Fort Lauderdale Police Department in the fight against drugs and neighborhood nuisances, and it looks like a Winnebago on steroids. They call it "The Peacemaker," and it may be a first in South Florida.
    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/fl.....4428.story

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    That's some great community relations skills at work there.

  • ||

    Your transparency dollars at work!

  • Shades of Rand||

    Wow, what's next, the "Obama Harmonizer"?

  • Bee Tagger||

    We know, insisted Obama, "that when students aren't allowed to walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma. So tonight, I call on every State to require that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18."

    This is the same flawed reasoning that Santorum uses. Though, one small point of credit goes to Santorum for not proposing that everyone be forced to marry and to not have sex before marriage. Granted, he hasn't had 3 years in the presidency to inflate his ego and sense of importance, so who knows what President Santorum would propose.

    We can't be far away from suggestions that the excelling kids just let the struggling kids copy off of them because studies show that kids that get As in High School do better, on average, than kids that fail.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Don't give them ideas!

  • Brian D||

    We need to redistribute intelligence so that everyone can succeed. Nerds, prepare to give the government part of your brain each year.

  • Zombie||

    Brain stamps.

  • ||

    They already let kids copy from other kids. I my school district all the schools organize the kids into groups of four pairing good learners with poor learners and each group shares the grade. the smart kids know this is educational welfare and they hate it. the unintended consequence is that the poor learners learn less because they let the bright ones do the work and the bright ones realize they hate all forms of social welfare creating more conservative kids

  • ||

    Two words: "Group projects." In which, unless you take over the entire damned thing yourself, you're bound to get a C-, because the rest of your group is the supporting cast of Idiocracy.

    Being in one group project in a public university is enough to make you empathize with the Virginia Tech Massacre shooter. OK, well, maybe just make you lean libertarian.

  • Hooha||

    And... and all this time, I thought I was the only one...

  • CatoTheElder||

    That's the whole idea of "team learning".

    One or two students do all the work and two or three contribute stupid ideas if anything at all. All get the same grade.

  • ||

    I think this was partly don because of the "No Child Left Behind" Law.

  • Jumbie||

    Poor teachers do team learning this way.

    Good teachers know you need to have specific roles assigned AND use a feedback/assessment system to make sure people pull their weight.

  • Sparky||

    The only thing that makes me comfortable about being in a "group" doing editorial stuff on the law journal I'm on is that each of us is left to do the work on his or her time schedule (so long as deadlines are met)and then we choose to run it by each other. There is none of the "having to bail out the dumbest guy in the room" mentality that was prevalent even when I was in high school.

  • Sparky||

    The other thing is that they (our senior editors) don't even attempt to create mixed-ability groups, so we end up with one consisting of the chain-smoking cynic, the two quiet cynics, the flippant cynic, and the workaholic cynic, all of whom have had relatively similar academic achievements and backgrounds. I think the purpose is to put people with similar personalities together, and I think it works in this context

  • ||

    Virtually nothing at all that was taught to me in high school has served me in any way whatsoever in my life since then. Such a productive use of my time, to hear my economics/government teacher praise FDR/the New Deal and rag fucking endlessly on Reagan in the most non sequitur ways a decade after he left office. Toast too burned? Reagan. Toe stubbed? Reagan.

    I was somewhat amused when I discovered from an ex's younger sister that he's still teaching and his MO as of late has changed to endlessly ragging on Bush to the point where it's the majority of the curriculum.

    Standard libertarian disclaimer about how this doesn't mean I endorse Reagan/Bush.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I was fortunate enough to have a history teacher who ran the numbers on Social Security back in the 80's for us.

    Add to that, he gave a History of Nazi Germany class, where he re-enacted the Beer Hall Putsch every year, complete with a starter pistol. That is, until some parent complained that firing a gun was inappropriate in school. It just wasn't the same after that.

  • ||

    I had a really good freshman civics teacher who introduced me to the standard logical fallacies. I think I was the only one in the class who paid attention, though.

  • ||

    "heh heh heh, teacher said fallace."

    *facepalm*

  • Kibby||

    Lucky! I was a sophomore when 9/11 happened & the very next year my history teacher spent half a lecture blaming Bush for it.

    At least I wasn't the only student to walk out of class. I'd rather have detention than be subject to the ravings of a lunatic.

  • Ice Nine||

    Virtually nothing at all that was taught to me in high school has served me in any way whatsoever in my life since then.

    That's an amazing statement, one that I can't believe is actually true - of anyone. Well, assuming you learned what was taught to you.

  • ||

    i guess highschool taught me the basic concept of a function.

    ...that's all i got.

  • Mathemagician||

    That's pretty much all you need.

  • Ice Nine||

    Grammar springs immediately to mind. I use simple algebra frequently; sure you do to - or you should to make your life simpler. We use our basic understandings of various sciences frequently - who hasn't shot pool? There's more, I'm sure. It was a silly statement.

  • ||

    I didn't pay attention to proper grammar until I started posting here, so school failed on that one.

    And yeah, ok, more of basic algebra than just functions, fair enough.

    But Biology? Any of the shit they assigned us to read in English? Nope, total waste.

    Oh, I learned how to play guitar, that's the other thing I got out of highschool.

  • ||

    So if somebody was precociously familiar with these things, wouldn't it be a waste of their time to be forced reviewing it over and over and over along with those that have slower/different styles of learning?

  • Ice Nine||

    I suppose. What does that have to do with your statement that I commented on?

  • ||

    Perhaps I could rephrase that as newly taught to me. I read dictionaries and books on mathematics for fun with no external encouragement while in middle school, so I feel, particularly in retrospect, that I would have made a far more efficient use of my time had my learning been more so or entirely self-directed rather than on Kyoto Protocol/environmental/antinuclear hysteria, the aforementioned New Deal/FDR praise, Soviet apologism, etc., etc., etc.

    That's hardly to mention the physical bullying and abuse that many of my friends were subjected to, exacerbated by the adminstration's policy of punishing self-defense.

    Sure, you might read a few good books you otherwise might not have, and math/engineering classes are useful, but, well, it's not just that. What critical life skills do you think are actually being taught in high school?

  • Sku||

    "What critical life skills do you think are actually being taught in high school?"

    I still use Algebra (although not trig or Calculus) in my every day life. (Of course, I took Algebra in middle school, not high school.) I still use a smattering of basic Spanish. (Of course I took first year Spanish in middle school, not high school, and that's about all I remember anymore.) I still use grammar. (Of course, the last time I was taught grammar was middle school, not high school.) I still use the checkbook balancing and budgeting skills I learned in Civics class...wait, that was middle school too. Hmmm...I'm starting to think education should be madatory through 8th grade, and after that it should be optional, and a student should be able to choose his or her academic or vocational track prior to entering 9th grade, with the option to "transfer" to a different track during high school if prerequisites are met and interests change. And the drop out age should be 16.

  • Zeb||

    Let's see, in high school, I learned calculus, Spanish, a pretty good introduction to Newtonian mechanics and E&M, basic chemistry and biology stuff that I still remember pretty well today, and to write a decent essay (which was useful in college, at least). I probably learned somethings about history and literature too, but I could have got that just from reading.

    Public education is not ideal, but (at least in some cases) it is far from useless.

  • Killazontherun||

    I got to here how WWI destroyed the utopia being created by the progressive movement.

  • o3||

    "...it's whether the kids who otherwise would drop out are better off being forced to finish high school."
    _
    because teens make teh most bestest choices possible!

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    If you can enlist at 17, you should be master of your own destiny.

    I doubt you make the best possible choices, either, but you don't see me running around advocating for the "Lock Orrin Up" Bill.

  • o3||

    oops - enlist w parents permission u mean...because teens make the most bestest choices possible!

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Yes, it is with parental permission. So what is your point?

    Is the fact that some teens make bad decisions an argument for this policy? Because, like I said, the fact that you make bad decisions does not mean we should enact a policy directed at that fact, either.

  • ||

    Is the fact that some teens make bad decisions an argument for this policy?

    Isn't that the ONLY argument for this policy?

  • ||

    I'm 40 and still have a hard time making sound choices. Picking an age to be abke to do so is purely arbitrary.

  • ||

    Also, if you're old enough to get killed in war you ought to be old enough to legally drink a beer.

  • Matrix||

    Infants are killed in war all the time. So, I guess there would be no drinking age.

  • db||

    Yeah but they outgrow their uniforms so fast! Do you really want to have to add that sort of expenditure to the defense budget right now?

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

  • Matrix||

    Why can't it be both?

  • Brian D||

    I thought that law had changed for a time, but the number of DUI accidents went up significantly at about the same time.

  • Killazontherun||

    Back in the day, they did tend make decent choices, but all the moddly coddlin' statism that has led to a generation of delayed adolescence (reflected in the absurdity of the policy of 'adult children' being required for insurance companies to allow on their parent's policies). Now they tend to be the know-it-all assholes of which we have grown accustomed.

  • DK||

    Blah blah fucking blah. How old are you, killa? Based on your post, I'd say you're guilty of the same know-it-all bullshit for which you're deriding my generation.

    Guess what, asshole. The young generation is no better or worse than the older generations. Sure, we elected Obama. Big ass mistake there. But we sure as hell didn't enact SS or Medicare or drain the funds associated with those programs like the self-entitled older generations. Most of the young people I know are well aware that these programs will never benefit them and are making plans for a future without them. Is that mollycoddling statism?

  • Killazontherun||

    And you still don't have any idea how bad you have been screwed because you don't even see that your basic argument is in agreement with my description of what 'mollycoddling statism' has done to you.

  • Killazontherun||

    Two generations ago, it was common for two teenagers of the working class fresh out of high school to get married, buy a house and raise a family. That was the normative structure of life expected of them. The fact that you deny there has been a social evolution towards a period of much extended adolescence means you are too deeply entrenched as part of that process to understand what occurred before you popped out of the womb. Violently objecting to your elders explaining this just underlines my description of your generation as being comprised of ignorant assholes.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    So tonight, I call on every State to require that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18.

    Only someone who has never taught in a High School would think this is a good idea.

  • thirtyandseven||

    But doesn't it sound good and caring though?

    I mean on a stupid, first-glance, groupthink level?

  • invisible furry hand||

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    His bandmates were looking at him funny - probably because his hair was shorter than theirs.

  • Jerry||

  • L13||

    Let them leave! By the end of grammar school, everyone has a pretty good idea of who will benefit from academics, and who needs to head to a trade school where they can learn something useful.

    But get the ones out who don't want to be there. I really object to the years of my life wasted listening to teachers repeat the same lesson that we heard the year before, and the year before that because the dolts couldn't or wouldn't keep up. Get them out, and let those who can cut it stay.

  • o3||

    perhaps we need sum o dat old euro-style socialism wherein the kids are tested in the 8th grade then tracked vocational or academic.

  • Jerry||

    Parents are even allowed to pick the school their kids go to. Damn Eurosocialists!

  • adam||

    American public schools have the european ones beat on the socialism scale. Heck, in a few european countries like the Netherlands and Belgium, they have school vouchers for private schools.

  • Sku||

    Better than the America style socialism, where all kids are treated as equally capable of going to college and many are left to squander years on academic tracks they will never master well enough to go to college instead of instead spending those years to learn a useful trade while also working part-time and earning actual money. The eruo-style socialism can indeed pigeon hole too early and does not allow for mobility. So the best bet is probably to make education, after the age of 14, not a right, but a privilige. You can go on any "track" you like, but you have to perform to a decent standard, and if you don't perform - you get kicked out of the track.

  • Killazontherun||

    Even most of those who are academically gifted would have benefited from a trade school. If they were still interested in liberal arts or similar worthless areas of inquiry, then having a good measure of economic security to support their indulgence would be better for themselves and everybody else paying into the system.

  • DK||

    Lol. Or they could go into what is by far the largest academic field - science and engineering. But I suppose those are useless as well?

  • Killazontherun||

    Great skill set in reading comprehension you have there, DK. I'm certain it will serve you well in the future. Not all, not even most, or even half of the academically gifted are so in mathematics which is required in those two fields you listed.

  • Killazontherun||

    Wait. I almost ignored this one cause it is such a bullshit claim.

    what is by far the largest academic field - science and engineering

    You are such a stupid little punk as I'm about to show you right here (if you can count that is):

    Number of schools devoted to science

    http://www.imahal.com/educatio.....s/list.htm

    Number of liberal arts colleges:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L.....ted_States

  • ||

    This brings up the biggest challenge I have with my own libertarianism... how to deal with minors.

    The state denies certain rights to minors, including the right to vote, enter a legal contract, or even purchase certain otherwise legal goods.

    I'm generally okay with this based on the argument that... below a certain age, the state gives you certain benefits and protections (free education, reduced responsibility for otherwise illegal activities, or just generally, a chance to make mistakes without bearing the full consequences) but in exchange, certain rights and privileges are denied. But as soon as you turn 18 (or 19, or 21), then you're an adult, and you're responsible for your own actions.

    Under this view (and I'm open to arguments to the contrary) requiring minors to stay in school until 18 is not a major issue.

    The real problem, in my opinion, is that the Federal Government has no Constitutional authority relating to education, which is entirely a matter left to the states (or to the people).

  • o3||

    "...the Federal Government has no Constitutional authority relating to education..."
    _
    unless education is a civil right.

  • Brian D||

    Which it isn't. You don't have a right to the labor of anyone else.

  • johnc||

    So we don't have the right to a fair trial?

  • oncogenesis||

    A right? No. Rights are things that would (do) exist absent any government. Under the Constitution of the US, you have an entitlement to a fair trial.

  • protefeed||

    You don't have the right to conscript others and make them into temporary slaves to adjudicate your court case.

    It is possible to have a fair trial without conscription of jurors.

  • Trespassers W||

    Another fine product of public schooling.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    According the Supreme Court, education is not a fundamental right subject to strict scrutiny.

  • Llama||

    If education is a civil right, that only means that people can't be excluded from it for arbitrary reasons like race or gender and the government's only job is to safeguard that right, not to provide free education, and then force people who don't want an education to get one anyway, and then mandate the manner in which they get it. Civil rights are not compulsory.

  • ||

    Let me be clear. Civil rights are compulsory, from now on.

  • Llama||

    You have the right to assemble, therefore all citizens will assemble in the public square between the hours of 3pm to 5pm daily, where they will sing songs and carry signs praising the wisdom of Our Dear Leader. Anyone caught not assembling will be subject to fines and imprisonment.

  • DK||

    Ummm...I'm pretty sure there are some damned good reasons for compulsory education. At least to some minimal level of competence. The positive externalities are enormous. I won't go into detail here - read Milton Friedman's "Capitalism and Freedom" for elaboration.

    Now, this doesn't mean that I think that governments should be in the business of actually providing that education. It's pretty clear that private industry would do far better than the mess we currently have. But regulate education? Adopt minimal standards? Doesn't seem all that problematic from a libertarian standpoint.

  • protefeed||

    But regulate education? Adopt minimal standards? Doesn't seem all that problematic from a libertarian standpoint.

    If you don't see how giving the government the power to do that could have some unintended but thoroughly predictable negative consequences and mission creep, then maybe yours is a very small-l standpoint.

  • Blacksmithking||

    If consequences are obvious and predictable, can they really said to be unintended?

  • Llama||

    That's pretty much what's being achieved with government-run compulsory education- minimum levels of competence.

    And minimum standards of competence for what? Who sets the standard? Who decides what's best for the kids? Not their parents! Christ, no, especially if they want to pull them out of the busted system and put them into some program where they might learn to become useful human beings with some kind of skill.

    You might be able to make a case for compulsory elementary education, in order to ensure the population has a reasonable literacy rate and people can do enough basic math to balance their checkbooks and figure out what 30% off is, but you would be hard pressed to convince me that 16 and 17 year olds wouldn't benefit equally from some sort of skill training, rather than another year of failing English comp.

  • ||

    I'm pretty sure there are some damned good reasons for compulsory education...Now, this doesn't mean that I think that governments should be in the business of actually providing that education...private industry would do far better than the mess we currently have.

    Soooo...you advocate the government forcing people to purchase a private education? Or the government purchasing a private education for Americans by voucher, and then forcing them to use the voucher?

    That's as bad as forcing Americans to purchase private insurance.

  • Kevin||

    Rights are freely exercised. Referring to compulsory attendance of anything as a right is incoherent.

  • Obama||

    We hold this truth to be self-evident, that all human beings should be equal, they have inescapable responsibilities to achieve this end, that among these are compulsory school attendance, national service, and taxes, and That to secure equality, Governments are instituted among human beings to define such responsibilities in detail and enforce the compliance by all human beings. -- That whenever any Branch of Government impedes progress toward that end, it is the Right of the President to ignore it and to organize his executive powers in such form as shall most likely to effect Hope and Change.

  • cynical||

    State-mandated education conflicts with freedom of conscience. If anything, there's a civil right not to have an "education".

  • Bill||

    If you are under 18, your parents have to sign off on your dropping out anyway.

    Except for those who just leave. Are they going to keep bringing them back at the point of a gun? They can just leave again unless you put up barbed wire or electric fences.

    This topic lays out two sets of beliefs about the world in a nutshell. Glad I'm not on the creepy authoritarian side.

  • ||

    "Except for those who just leave. Are they going to keep bringing them back at the point of a gun?"

    That DOE police force needs to stay sharp, you know.

  • ||

    "Many teenage kids regard school..."

    Was I the only one who read that as retard school?

  • ||

    School-retardant students?

  • ||

    All kids should have a school proof coating.

  • Suki||


    Many teenage kids regard school as the functional equivalent of prison—where they are forced to endure oppressive rules, bad food, and unpleasant company.

    The same way Rush Limbaugh describes his school days.

  • sarcasmic||

    I never thought I had anything in common with that blowhard.

  • Rich||

    The question here is not whether most students are better off finishing high school; it's whether the kids who otherwise would drop out are better off being forced to finish high school.

    Also: The kids who *want* to finish high school are better off when kids are allowed to drop out. (Modulo, I suppose, the benefits of exposure to "cultural diversity".)

    Serious question: Anyone here know of scientific data for this view?

  • db||

    I don't know about scientific data ( I would hope someone has studied this formally) but anecdotally, speaking to several family members and friends who are teachers, the amount of time and resources spent by teachers on low performing and uninterested or incompetent students has a significant effect on the effort they can expend on good students. From ehat I understand, schools are under pressure to minkmize stratification in student performance and so the students who should truly excel get very little opportunity to do so because of slower studrnts getting more attention and more tailored lessons.

  • Sparky||

    under pressure to minkmize stratification

    So, what, they send in a bunch of weasels to chase the kids into the proper classes?

  • db||

    Fargin' autocorrect.

  • ||

    I dunno, I think Sparky might be onto something. Go Autocorrect!

  • db||

    Later in the year, the Home Ec students get to do a project converting the weasels into fashionable coats for Mom to wear.

  • illini||

    Come up with a better topic next time, you moron. Yes, it's a good idea to force an otherwise ill-informed child (yes child until 18) to finish school. Contrary to popular belief, a 17 year old kid is still developing and is unable to grasp the consequences of dropping out of school. Did you really compare struggling high school students to struggling politicians to make your contrarian, stupid point?

  • "Eggs" Actley||

    Contrary to popular belief, a 26 year old kid is still developing and is unable to grasp the consequences of dropping out of the health-care system.

  • db||

    Is a 17significant year old kid unable to grasp the consequences of selecting a major course of study at the college level? Are you seriously making the argument that they need to be told what their next move should be? If it had been up to my high school guidance counselors I would have gone to college in some sort of music program. I laughed in their faces and became an engineer.

  • Brian D||

    Actually, it's not. You might be able to handcuff a teenager to a chair until their 18th birthday, but you can't force them to give a shit about the subject matter being presented. There's a huge difference between a 'struggling high school student' and a disinterested prisoner. The former is worthy of additional attention, the latter is a distraction to students who want to learn and a waste of time and resources for teachers.

  • Bee Tagger||

    Contrary to popular belief, a 17 year old kid is still developing and is unable to grasp the consequences of dropping out of school.

    If that's your criteria for when the government can force behavior, then what can't the government force 17 year olds to do?

  • Rich||

    I'm aware of some anecdotal evidence for this. "I hated it at the time, but it put my life on the right path and so, in retrospect, I'm grateful."

    Again, however, serious question: Anyone here know of scientific data for this view?

    I would also ask illini: If 17 year olds are so clueless, should they really be allowed to drive?

  • ||

    If 17 year olds are so clueless, should they really be allowed to drive?

    Aren't states working towards not letting anyone drive until they're 18 already?

  • johnc||

    If there were no drinking age we wouldn't need a driving age. Oh well.

  • Llama||

    Because there's some magical switch that gets turned on in a person's brain the day he turns 18 that makes him suddenly able to reason and use logic, and all of a sudden make good decisions.

    Not everyone needs to go to college, and not everyone needs a high school diploma. Some people are better served by trade school. We should bring back old-fashioned apprenticeships- kids who struggle in a classroom would have other options out there, beyond stay in school (which you hate and suck at) and get a piece of paper that no longer even means you're literate, or drop out and have a hopeless future.

    You really can't tell yourself or anyone else that it's all for the good of the children anymore, when there are so many other options to the standard path. It's just about slavish devotion to the current broken system.

    I also can't understand how people wail about the state of education in the US and how our public schools are failing, and then propose to keep kids locked in the same failing schools until they turn 18. The absence of any logical reasoning in that statement gives me traumatic brain injury.

  • Bill||

    The parents have to sign off on it now for it to be legitimate, brainiac.

  • ||

    One of the smartest guys I know dropped out of high school to work as a butcher (in Sweden). He later became a professional college student. It's really not a tragedy to drop out, wish I'd done it.

  • ||

    It's a jobs program for teachers, and nothing more.

  • Bee Tagger||

    And a DIY demagoguing project for Obama.

  • ||

    DIY

    At least he saved some money by not hiring contractors.

    CMON PEOPLE, HE'S TRIMMING THE BUDGET!

  • thirtyandseven||

    plus, "cutting expenditures in the tax code"

    and

    "dieting by chasing down those chips ahoy with a V8"

  • ||

    Right, I think if we raised the drop-out age to 25 or 29 we would make a major dent in unemployment.

  • Venezuela||

    Just mandate employment already, dammit.

    How do you think we became the largest economy on the planet??

    Fucking amateurs...

  • ||

    "One of the best things you can do for students who want to do the right thing is to remove those who would rather goof off or make trouble."

    I've heard opponents of vouchers make essentially the same argument.

    They'll typically argue that one of the reasons private schools outperform public schools (often at a lower cost per student, too) is that private schools routinely kick out problem students.

    Making it easier to fire problematic teachers, like private schools can, is surely one of the ways to improve our public schools; making it easier for public schools to kick problematic students out of our public schools is surely another way to improve our public schools as well.

    Once again, the Obama Administration takes yet another step in the wrong direction.

    Makes me suspicious that, once again, that he doesn't even believe his own BS. He's simply batting for his cronies again, this time in the teachers' unions.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    They'll typically argue that one of the reasons private schools outperform public schools (often at a lower cost per student, too) is that private schools routinely kick out problem students.

    I've never really understood why that is an argument against vouchers.

    After having read a lot about school funding, I can only conclude that public education issues bring out the worst demagoguery and class envy in people. If the Rich Suburbs can afford a nice theater or athletic center, the poor folks would rather see it burn than scrape up the cash to get their teachers chalk or books.

  • sarcasmic||

    "I've never really understood why that is an argument against vouchers."

    Because it's not fair that my tax dollars fund a voucher to put your kid into a private school that kicked out my kid for being disruptive.

    It's not fair!

    Not fair!

    Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

  • ||

    it's almost as if it's unfair to use my tax dollars to provide someone else's kid with any sort of school.

  • sarcasmic||

    The public schools are more fair because they let my Johnny distract other students and annoy the teachers without giving him the boot.

    If they didn't then I might have to spend money out of pocket to make up for my failure as a parent, and that just isn't fair.

    Why should I be punished for my dearth of parenting skills while others are rewarded for bringing up their children right?

    That's not fair!

  • Bill||

    The unstated argument is that it makes sense to have every SINGLE school equipped to deal with every single type of disability so that everyone is mainlined and everyone is equal. In reality that is extremely wasteful and can be disruptive to learning.

  • sarcasmic||

    But anything else is unfair!
    I mean, it's just not fair!
    Not fair!
    Not!
    Fair!

  • Mainer||

    You're being sarcastic, but that really, almost literally becomes the position some people take if you really push them on their opposition to anything that would change the public schools.

  • Sku||

    It's not an argument against vouchers so much as an argument against the idea that private schools are better than public schools in and of themselves (better teachers, better curriculum, etc.) - private schools, they argue, just have better STUDENTS, and that is the sole reason that your average private school student outperforms your average public school student. It's not because the private school uses a systematic phonics education while the public school is teaching creative spelling. It's not because the private school starts teaching kids the Shirley Method of grammar in kindergarten so they can diagram sentences by 3rd grade and the public school doesn't introduce grammar until 5th grade or 7th grade. It's because the students are already better and smarter. That's all.

  • ||

    It's also typically cited as the justification for why private schools cost less per student.

    One of the best arguments for vouchers is that private school education typically costs less than putting a kid through a public school. People think, I guess, that public school education is free just because public schools don't charge tuition, but the cost of private schools actually costs less on average than what the taxpayers pay to put a kid through public school.

    Teachers' unions will often argue the high costs of public education per student are becasue public schools have to take everybody, even the problematic students, where private schools typically kick problematic students out--and keep them out.

    So the question remains; why don't we kick the problematic students out of our public schools?

    ...especially now that there are so many homeschooling and online options available. Society may, I repeat, MAY have an obligation to teach your kid how to read and write, but there's no reason why that can't be accomplished outside of a school.

    Even if you don't have online access, there are still correspondence schools. GED programs.

    If kids have a right to an education, then non-problematic students have a right to be educated without interference from problematic students, too.

  • Matrix||

    I consider public education as a form of child abuse, so Obama was to mandate child abuse until 18. Fantastic.

  • sarcasmic||

    It's not clear that laws like this will even work.

    But, but, but... Laws are magic!

  • Bill||

    Only good intentions count.

    Ever!

  • ||

    What critical life skills do you think are actually being taught in high school?

    To OBEY.

  • sarcasmic||

    +1

  • johnc||

    They're doing a piss-awful job of that. Have you met a high-schooler?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    They tend to not become devoted servants to The State until their freshman or sophomore year of college, after their Soviet-nostalgic profs and hipster graduate assistants fully implement the requisite brainwashing. High school does a fairly decent job of laying the "FUCK YOU DAD!" foundation, though.

  • J_L_B||

    Many teenage kids regard school as the functional equivalent of prison—where they are forced to endure oppressive rules, bad food, and unpleasant company.

    That fact that the original article neither bolds the last part nor prints at seven times the font size of the preceding two attributes is unforgivable.

    If nothing else this is the reason to oppose the policy; avoid tainting the children with promise by having them sit next to the children who lack it.

  • Artie||

    Babysitters need shovel-ready jobs, too.

  • ||

    Those guys really seem to know what the deal is. WOw.

    www.pc-anon.tk

  • ||

    There is absolutely NO voter I.D. protests in Mexico since voter I.D. is required but in the United States, Democrats fight this requirement tooth and nail. The reason: They must want voter fraud is the "only" explanation:

    http://www.steinreport.com/arc.....einReport+(Stein+Report)&utm_content=My+Yahoo

  • Concerned Citizen||

    Minors can't enter into a legally binding contract? WTF?? Ever hear of Socialist Security? Nowadays kids are signed up by their parents in order to get the tax deduction. And it's a contract you can't get out of. But let's not discuss that, let's worry about Iran! And as far as school goes, I learned typing pretty well, and chose to blow off the rest, to my detriment. But I would not have left early, as I graduated in 1981, at the height of the designer jeans fad. Some of those girls filled out those jeans something wonderful.

  • mgd||

    Social Security isn't a contract. But I'm with you on the girls fitting in jeans just right. My weakest area in mathematics is geometry, because of the jeans in the seat in front of me. Or more exactly because of the seat in the jeans in the seat in front of me.

  • ||

    Are any of you (commenters) from large urban areas? It seem as though most of you disagree with this just because it is an extension of the government, but not because it won't actually help. Here in Chicago we have a murder rate that is ridiculous, and I have to think that keeping some of these 15, 16 year olds in school longer will only help those kids have a fighting chance to land some sort of job versus no job, which is what most of them face because they are unemployable without at least a high school diploma. I'm sorry my fellow libertarians, but I think this may help over the LONG-RUN in a place like Chicago where most of the shootings occur at the hands of kids aged 14-18. Just food for thought.

  • Ayn R. Key||

    Another law, targeting the young for the crime of being young, by those who wish they were still young.

    I wish I was still young too, but you don't see me making it a crime.

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