On Kentucky Tonight Monday, two lawmakers and advocates for and against raising the compulsory school attendance age in the state from 16 to 18 met to discuss the issue.
This is one priority that Governor Steve Beshear says is at the top of his list for the 2013 session of the General Assembly, which begins next week.
Advocates for raising the age to 18 were Rep. Carl Rollins, chair of the House Education Committee and Stu Silberman, executive director of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. They list a litany of reasons why Kentucky needs to join about 20 other states who have raised the drop out age to 18: social implications, drop outs are more likely to receive public assistance than high school graduates, and a study which reports that 82 % of American prisoners are high school drop outs.
Opponents of the measure, like Sen. Mike Wilson, chair of the Senate Education Committee and Richard Innes, education analyst for the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, report raising the age might be costly to the school districts. They also point out that evidence is not conclusive that raising the age to 18 is the way to address a multifaceted and complex school dilemma.
All of the panelists did agree the Kentucky school system has to do something to keep more kids in school; we’re losing approximately 6,000 to 7,000 kids a year by dropping out.
Innes did some additional homework on a couple of points that were brought up on the show.
His comments can be seen on his blog.
You can watch the entire hour discussion, including a number of good phone calls and Web form messages.
Monday night, Feb. 4, our topic on “Kentucky Tonight” will be hemp. Should the state have a law which legalizes the production of industrialized hemp?
Join us at 8/7 C for that discussion.