Lose Your Patience, Lose Your License

A new Illinois law punishes students who drop out of school or miss more than 18 days without permission by taking away their driver's licenses. State law allows students to stop going to school at 17, but those who exercise that option won't be able to drive legally until they turn 18. Since I'm not sure 16- and 17-year-olds should be trusted with cars at all, it's hard for me to get too worked up about this (although I guess I should be against anything that helps enforce—or, as in this case, extends—compulsory education laws). In any event, I'm skeptical that tying driving privileges to school attendance will keep many teenagers from dropping out. If a student is shortsighted enough to stop school before getting the credential that employers typically will demand, why wouldn't he just drive illegally for a year or so and take his chances? Is this idea more or less promising than paying kids to do well in school?

[Thanks to Taylor Buley for the tip.]

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  • ||

    If a student is shortsighted enough to stop school before getting the credential that employers typically will demand

    Really? Surely having a marketable skill is more important than a meaningless high school diploma, which any warm body can obtain.

  • ||

    Aside from indoctrining young minds with whatever propaganda the state thinks is good, a major purpose of compulsory education is to keep teenagers out of the work force.

    This obscene policy, which hinders young people's mobility is a blatant effort to harm them economically if they decide to start their indpendent lives "early".

  • ||

    Sinced (sic) I'm not sure 16- and 17-year-olds should be trusted with cars at all,

    I hope your libertarian respect for treating people as individuals trumps your collectivist bias about the alleged irresponsibility of adolescents

  • Travis||

    You really only need the license when you get pulled over anyways. Otherwise a car will still start, and can be put into drive w/o the license just fine. Thats the gods honest truth, no foolin !!!

  • ||

    As someone who works in HR, I can vouch that it's more important to have a HS diploma or college degree than any actual skill.

    You might have some luck working for small businesses, especially if you know the owner.

  • ||

    Let's face it: Illinois just sucks!

  • jimmydageek||

    How would this apply to home schooling?? Anybody know??

  • ||

    Most students who drop out do so in order to work--i.e, to support themselves or their families. To do so, they need cars to get to their jobs.

    For most dropouts, this will only add insult to injury.

  • ||

    As someone who works in HR, I can vouch that it's more important to have a HS diploma or college degree than any actual skill.

    You might have some luck working for small businesses, especially if you know the owner.


    And that's why people like me, who drop out of high-school at 15, avoid people like you and send our resumes directly to the hiring manager. It's worked for me for the last 30 years or so, and companies like EDS, IBM and Time Inc. are not small companies....

  • Anonymo the Anonymous||

    You really only need the license when you get pulled over anyways. Otherwise a car will still start, and can be put into drive w/o the license just fine. Thats the gods honest truth, no foolin !!!

    Dude, the only reason all cars aren't required to have a magstrip license reader that requires permission from a state database before ignition is that the idea simply hasn't occurred to the right douchebags yet. Shh!

  • Travis||

    Dude, the only reason all cars aren't required to have a magstrip license reader that requires permission from a state database before ignition is that the idea simply hasn't occurred to the right douchebags yet. Shh!


    Well put !!

  • ||

    The answer is simple.. make it illegal to work before you're 18! That'll teach'em!

  • Virginia Gentleman||

    Everything I need to know about government, I learned in public school!

  • ||

    And the relationship between school attendance and driving is what? That's right -- there isn't one!

    States are increasingly dangling the "lose your license" sword over people for all types of non-driving-related crap.

    Bonus points for whoever correctly guesses which lobby is behind this.

  • ||

    The states learned it from the Feds... "you can't have your highway funds unless raise the drinking age... unless you lower your speed limit... etc etc".

    CB

  • ||

    How hard do GED tests tend to be? The law has a GED loophole, so any kids dying to get out of high school and still drive legally have that option.

  • ||

    They already had this in North Carolina, back when I was in high school (ick!) 10 years ago. Didn't stop several of my friends from dropping out.

    One friend in particular took pride in driving around his black, mid-80's Firebird with no license and no license plate.

  • ||

    Two things:

    In Illinois, most of our high school dropouts are very urban and can't afford cars anyway.

    Any government program that raises your kids for you will be popular with voters. Which is why Illinois won't get medical MJ anytime soon.

  • x,y||

    How hard do GED tests tend to be? The law has a GED loophole, so any kids dying to get out of high school and still drive legally have that option.

    And what if they don't want to take the GED test?

  • ||

    Bonus points for whoever correctly guesses which lobby is behind this.

    MADD.

    You got dem' bonus points? Give em' to me.

  • ||

    How hard do GED tests tend to be?

    Actually, they already have a test for licenses. They are called driving tests, and tend to be a bit more topical.

  • ||

    When are schools going to cease infantilizing students? Threats and punishments that are easily circumvented by kids never work - why not just take your chances on driving without a license for a year or so until official "adulthood" sets in?

    I have been working as a volunteer with the teenage population, and soon I will enter a field most of the regular Reason-oids love to hate: I will be a bona fide high-school teacher. From the perspective of a tutor and volunteer counsellor, I think most kids drop out of school because they are bored, or no connection is made to what they are learning and real life, or they feel completely disrespected by their teachers or administrators. Perhaps kids should be treated more like the nascent, functional adults we expect them to become rather than be childishly rewarded or punished by giving or taking away privileges that are not intrinsically tied to academic performance. It makes administrators look like the overly-paternalistic, pedantic, haughty fun-stealers that kids tend to think they are.

  • ||

    And why is MADD behind this? Are they playing the superiority card again, wherein all high-school dropouts and truants (you know, the 'bad kids') are the ones likely to abuse alcohol and drive drunk if they are not kept in the safe confines of school all day?

    Most of the heavy-drinking kids I knew in high school were the over-achievers with hyperactive cheerleader-mommies pushing them into one activity after another. The poor kids were so stressed out they drank themselves into oblivion any chance they could get just to have a few hours of fun.

    The dropouts worked for a living and had more independence than the college-bound. I see some of the drop-out crowd in my hometown from time to time, they all do as well for themselves and their families as the "good" kids who stayed in school.

  • Anonymo the Anonymous||

    Bonus points for whoever correctly guesses which lobby is behind this.
    MADD.
    You got dem' bonus points? Give em' to me.


    Good answer. My first guess would be the teachers' unions - full employment, whether the customer likes it or not.

  • ||

    And what happens if the kid gets arrested while illegally driving to work? We've taken what is a necessity in today's society (driving to work) and made it criminal. We could send people to jail for dropping out of school and working. Nice. Nice....

  • ||

    "As someone who works in HR, I can vouch that it's more important to have a HS diploma or college degree than any actual skill.

    "You might have some luck working for small businesses, especially if you know the owner."

    Your employer sounds like an excellent candidate for a short sale.

    -----------

    "I think most kids drop out of school because they are bored, or no connection is made to what they are learning and real life, or they feel completely disrespected by their teachers or administrators."

    I believe you would find, in honest "exit interviews," the primary reason kids drop out is that they feel school is a waste of time. This is not the fault of the student.
    (Have I mentioned my utter disdain for the teachers' unions and "degreed educators" yet today?)

  • ||

    "We could send people to jail for dropping out of school and working."

    And then we could rent them out as slave laborers. That'd teach 'em a lesson, by cracky!

  • ||

    PBrooks,
    I would like to hear students qualify "waste of time." Perhaps they feel that way because either the teachers, the curriculum, or both, are irrelevant to the evolving needs of students, and uninspiring to their highly stimulated minds.

  • ||

    MadBiker- Education is neither unnecessary or irrelevant; I hope you didn't think that was my point. Some students are grossly ill-served by the monolithic one-size-fits-all educational model imposed from above, based more on political lobbying than a desire to serve the students and provide an effective, personalized, useful education. If it takes bringing Batman comic books into the classroom to get somebody interested in reading, then that is what should happen.

  • ||

    Since I'm not sure 16- and 17-year-olds should be trusted with cars at all

    In modern suburban America, this is tantamount to imprisonment.

    Imagine living in Dallas and having to walk everywhere.

  • ||

    MadBiker:

    My (equally anecdotal) experience was quite different. Drinking and grades seemed to have no correlation at all. (The best place for booze was the girl with the alcoholic dad. No matter how much she and her friends drank, he always assumed he consumed it during one of his blackouts.)

    I missed the ten-year reunion, so I can't say for sure how well grades correlated with later success, but those I've kept in touch with, plus a quick scan of MySpace suggests it's weak; also, that I could have made a killing taking bets on who would end up being a loser.

  • Chuck||

    My mother, who taught high school for 40+ years, used to say that we should give 16 year olds a free year. Let them drop out, get a job, get married to the BF/GF of the week, whatever. Let them try being an adult. Then, after a year, give them a mulligan and let them come back and pick up where they left off with some real life experience behind them. Totally impractical, I know. Still, it's an interesting concept.

    She hated the teachers unions. Their increasing influence was one of the factors behind her decision to retire when she did.

  • ||

    """You really only need the license when you get pulled over anyways. Otherwise a car will still start, and can be put into drive w/o the license just fine. Thats the gods honest truth, no foolin !!!""

    LOL, well anonymo beat me to it. But I add, not only will you have to insert you license, you will have to pass a biometric scan and breath into a tube for an alcohol test. Hopefully by the time that happens, cars will drive themseleves so it won't matter how many drinks I had, nor will I need a licenses since manual driving will be a thing of the past.

  • ||

    Hopefully by the time that happens, cars will drive themseleves so it won't matter how many drinks I had, nor will I need a licenses since manual driving will be a thing of the past.



    Suddenly, just as wildlife (allegedly) sense an imminent earthquake, MADD, the BMV, and local patrolmen feel a threat to their livelihoods, and get the urge to preemptively outlaw self-driving cars.

  • ||

    I've tried looking, but I cannot find any refernce to this law (or a similar law in another state) being challenged in court. IANAL, but I fail to see any valid reason why a perfectly legal act (dropping out of school) should have any state punishment associated with it. Does anyone know if one of these laws has been challenged?

  • Rhywun||

    Imagine living in Dallas and having to walk everywhere.

    Dallas has buses--you know, those long boxes that all the help take to work. And they don't just go the mall!

  • ||

    Sorry Rhywun, I had to stop and imagine living in Dallas.

  • ||

    Correction

    I had to stop at imagine living in Dallas.

  • ||

    Randal O'Toole cited a study over in his Antiplanner blog showing dropouts with a car earn more than those who have only a high school diploma and no car.

  • ||

    IIRC, Florida has had a similar law on the books for sometime, though I am not sure the cutoff was 18 years of age (I recall it being 17 instead).

  • Rhywun||

    dropouts with a car earn more than those who have only a high school diploma and no car

    Because they have to?

  • Cactus||

    I dropped out my jr. year of HS. I had lost interest in the curriculum for one. I was also living on my own since both of my parents were deceased. I was working full time and I really needed that time I was spending in an abysmal public school to be used to put food on the table and money in the bank and in investments. When I was 18 I went and took my GED exam and proceeded to work my way through college.

    Yanking my DL because I no longer was in HS would have crippled me. I had jobs all over the place that required travel. Not only that I would have been in trouble with the law because I would have just driven anyway.

    By the way this is what happens when we let the flawed notion take hold that driving is a privilege. It isn't. Was riding a horse between Boston and New York a privilege? Did Thomas Jefferson and George Washington have to get a license to operate their carriages? Did they get pulled over because it didn't have plates? Did the local constabulary have roadblocks that stopped every horse and carriage to see of the riders had their papers in order and that their steeds and carriages were safe? Did the founders ever even consider that their personal papers were not secure from from being pawed through by agents of the government in their carriages or saddlebags? Would they have imagined that they would need a license from the state to ride on the road? No. It was a given that they would not. We shouldn't have to now.

  • vedat||

    I just have download "reason adapted 3.0.5" but I don't have license number, Me need the license number, can you help me? help me please. "Thankyou"

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