Hi everyone,

As part of the American Graduate reporting project to shed light on the high school dropout crisis, NewsHour reporters are doing a piece on tying kids' driver's licenses to their graduation. They are searching for guest writers and sources in the education arena with opinions on this topic - take a look at the query below from my colleague and let us know if you're interested in contributing!

The NewsHour is looking for thoughtful op-eds on the effectiveness of compulsory attendance laws to accompany a broadcast piece that will air later this month. We’re aiming for a range of perspectives, from policymakers to educators to students, who can provide insight from their area of expertise.

Below you’ll find more context to our prompt. Please contact Kelly Chen at kchen@newshour.org orcall her at 703-998-2487 if you are interested in contributing. We are happy to accommodate whichever medium you are most comfortable with in expressing your views, be it audio, text or video.

 

During the 2012 State of the Union address, Obama called for all states to raise the high school attendance age from 16 to 18.  While 21 states and the District of Columbia already require students to attend school until age 18 and 11 other states until age 17, more states are responding to the president’s call to action with pending legislation. However, is regulation the best practice to keep students in school?

The PBS NewsHour American Graduate series is looking at one such compulsory schooling law that links driver licenses with academic attendance and, in some cases, performance in a piece that will air later this month. This is just one example of ways schools and legislators are “incentivizing” students to get serious about academics. One school in Cincinnati saw a 10 percent increase in attendance within a week of implementing an incentive program that rewards students with gift cards for good behavior.

Other schools have taken a punitive approach to curbing truancy – the first indicator to a student disengaging from class. Instead of rewarding students for good attendance, students are fined for being truant. The Los Angeles City Council recently amended its hard truancy policy that critics said unfairly targeted low-income students.  

While many experts agree that there is no “one size fits all” solution to ending the dropout crisis, what is most effective – the carrot or the stick? As states continue to struggle to reform education despite budget cuts, is there a best solution to the graduation crisis? What is the best way to bridge the disconnect between regulation and reality? What other factors need to be considered? When it comes to the law, what is the best way to keep students in school?

 

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Replies to This Discussion

I highly recommend we look at what is going on inside the schools that is making students want to drop out.  See the section on "Dropping Out and Dis-Engagement" from HSSSE here: http://ceep.indiana.edu/hssse/images/HSSSE_2010_Report.pdf

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