ERIC Number: EJ973147
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Feb-8
States Mull Obama's Call to Raise Compulsory-Attendance Age
Maxwell, Lesli A.
Education Week, v31 n20 p1, 18 Feb 2012
President Barack Obama's call for every state to require school attendance until age 18 may spark a flurry of action in some statehouses, but changing attendance laws will do little by itself to drive down the nation's dropout rates, experts on the issue say. In his State of the Union address last month, President Obama said states should require that "all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18," and said that when students aren't allowed to drop out, "they do better." Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia already require students to remain enrolled until they are 18 years old, while 11 others require attendance until age 17, according to the Denver-based Education Commission of the States. The other 18 states still use the traditional age of 16 as their attendance requirement, though lawmakers in several of those states have tried unsuccessfully in recent years to raise it. While bumping up the compulsory-attendance age in state laws sends a strong message to students and parents about the obligation to remain in school, experts and educators alike say that states and districts won't make much of a dent in their dropout problem without comprehensive strategies for making school engaging and relevant and for spotting and addressing early signs of dropping out. Whether President Obama's exhortation to states will gain any traction remains to be seen. Setting school attendance requirements has traditionally been the purview of states and local districts, and many efforts have run into fierce opposition to budging from an attendance age of 16. A major reason is cost and issues around local control of schools.
Descriptors: Presidents, Compulsory Education, Age, Attendance, Compliance (Legal), School Attendance Legislation, Dropout Rate, Dropouts, Goal Orientation, Educational Attainment, Secondary Education, Educational Certificates, High School Equivalency Programs, Academic Achievement, Systems Approach, Learner Engagement, Student Motivation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States