Bill introduced today to raise Georgia dropout age to 17

Speaking of the president’s call last night to keep students in school until age 18:  A bill will be introduced today in the Georgia General Assembly to raise Georgia’s legal threshold to quit high school from age 16 to 17.

There have been failed efforts in the past to raise the age under the argument that a 16-year-old is not mature enough to make the decision to leave high school. But the bills never went anywhere.

Nationwide, 16 remains the most common age to legally drop out, but 15 states  and the District of Columbia require students to stay in school until age 18; nine states require compulsory schooling until age 17.

From State Rep. Rashad Taylor:

Today, State Rep.  Rashad Taylor, D-Atlanta, will reintroduce the Dropout Deterrent Act which raises the compulsory attendance age in Georgia to 17. Rep. Taylor reintroduces his legislation following a charge from President Barack Obama for states to raise their compulsory attendance age.

“We must send a message to our young people that the State of Georgia will not give up on them at 16 years old,” said Rep. Taylor.

In 2009, Rep. Taylor introduced HB 634, The Dropout Deterrent Act. HB 634 was referred to the House Education Committee where it never received a hearing. At the request of former Superintendent Kathy Cox, Rep. Taylor served on the Dropout Prevention Task Force working with education leaders to devise strategies to decrease the dropout rate in Georgia

36 comments Add your comment


January 25th, 2012
10:23 am

They should lower it to 12. Then a student can join the workforce. Education has its limits. Some are uneducationable. Get them out of the school as soon as possible. Teachers are there to teach, if the student doesnot learn, he is out.


January 25th, 2012
10:52 am

Enlighten me. How do you keep a kid in school if he decides to stay home, mom doesn’t care, and dad is gone? Do we have enough truant officers and are they well armed? Don’t about half the kids in Atlanta drop out? If they don’t want to go to school, then doesn’t forcing them to be there result in classrooms wherein those who are there voluntarily are less likely to learn due to the distractions they create or the danger they are? Is the state well funded enough to make these kids go to school? How do you find and pay people enough to have them drag these kids to school? Use the military? JUst wondering about practicality is all.

Beverly Fraud

January 25th, 2012
11:12 am

Once again the state legislature puts the “ass” is Assembly.

Why don’t we just require all students to be above the 90th percentile while we are at it?


January 25th, 2012
11:40 am

Another clown disguised as a Democrat in this state. Why is he not concerned about improving the quality of education in his city as opposed to the age of a dropout???

Thanks Rashad for once again re-affirming my decision not to vote for a democrat in this state.

Home School Drop Out

January 25th, 2012
11:41 am

At the present time if a child is FAILING; the Adminisrators tell the parents to take the child out of public school and HOME SCHOOL THE CHILD.
That way the way of NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND.

Once Again

January 25th, 2012
11:47 am

The sooner those kids who wish to be out of the prison system can get out, the better. The presence of kids who don’t want to be there only undermines the efforts of those who do, and simply provides a guaranteed funding mechanism for an education system that is clearly failing far too many.

Mandatory attendance laws are only one of the many problems the educational system currently faces. As many others have said, make the age lower, not higher. Typical big government solution – pass laws and somehow hope you will achieve your desired results. After 40+ years of the war on poverty, 90+ years of the war on drugs, and 10+ years on war on terrorism, how is that solution working out??? Government is a failure at everything it does. Put your faith in individuals without power, rather than those with the power to take your life and your freedom.

Ron F.

January 25th, 2012
12:10 pm

I have one kid now who’s about to turn 21 and he’s still trying to graduate. He just might make it by 21 if he stays focused. He’s here because he wants to be here. Mandatory attendance until 17 won’t fix the real problems (both within and outside of the schools) that cause kids to drop out. That’s just another politically easy bill to pass that sounds good at a rally but really doesn’t do a darn thing to help solve the problems kids have that result in dropping out.

Once Again

January 25th, 2012
12:12 pm

From an excellent article by African American economist Walter Williams:

“Education majors are woefully lacking in academic skills. Here are some sample test questions for you to answer. Question 1: Which of the following is equal to a quarter-million? a) 40,000, b) 250,000, c) 2,500,000, d) 1/4,000,000 or e) 4/1,000,000. Question 2: Martin Luther King Jr. (insert the correct choice) for the poor of all races. a) spoke out passionately, b) spoke out passionate, c) did spoke out passionately, d) has spoke out passionately or e) had spoken out passionate. Question 3: What would you do if your student sprained an ankle? a) Put a Band-Aid on it, b) Ice it or c) Rinse it with water.

Guess whether these questions were on a sixth-grade, ninth-grade or 12th-grade test. I bet the average reader would guess that it’s a sixth-grade test. Wrong. How about ninth-grade? Wrong again. You say, “OK, Williams, so they’re 12th-grade test questions!” Still wrong. According to a Heartland Institute-published School Reform News (September 2001) article titled “Who Tells Teachers They Can Teach?”, those test questions came from prospective teacher tests. The first two questions are samples from the Praxis I test for teachers, and the third is from the 1999 teacher certification test in Illinois. According to the Chicago Sun-Times (9/6/01), 5,243 Illinois teachers failed their teacher certification tests. The Chicago Sun-Times also reported, “One teacher failed 24 of 25 teacher tests – including 11 of 12 Basic Skills tests and all 12 tests on teaching learning-disabled children.” Yet that teacher was assigned to teach learning-disabled children in Chicago. Departments of education have solved the problem of teacher test failure. According to a New York Post story (11/14/11) titled “City teacher tests turn into E-ZPass,” more than 99 percent of teachers pass.”

Yes, clearly the problem is with Johnny wanting to drop out!


January 25th, 2012
12:12 pm

I guess Rep. Taylor thinks it alright to give up on them at 17……the statement is totally ridiculous. A 17 year-old is no more mature than the average 16 year-old. We shouldn’t be allowing any student to drop-out if he or she hasn’t reached 18. Not many options out there for an 18 year-old, but even less for someone 16-17. Surely the state of Georgia can come up with something better than moving the drop-out age from 16 to 17. This is not news that the voters want to hear!

Once Again

January 25th, 2012
12:14 pm

And his closing thoughts:

“Textbooks used in schools of education advocate sheer nonsense. A passage in Enid Lee et al.’s “Beyond Heroes and Holidays” reads: “We cannot afford to become so bogged down in grammar and spelling that we forget the whole story. … The onslaught of antihuman practices that this nation and other nations are facing today: racism, and sexism, and the greed for money and human labor that disguises itself as ‘globalization.’” Marilyn Burns’ text “About Teaching Mathematics” reads, “There is no place for requiring students to practice tedious calculations that are more efficiently and accurately done by using calculators.” “New Designs for Teaching and Learning,” by Dennis Adams and Mary Hamm, says: “Content knowledge is not seen to be as important as possessing teaching skills and knowledge about the students being taught. … Successful teachers understand the outside context of community, personal abilities, and feelings, while they establish an inside context or environment conducive to learning.” That means it’s no problem if a teacher can’t figure out that a quarter-million is the same as 250,000. Harvey Daniels and Marilyn Bizar’s text “Methods that Matter” reads, “Students can no longer be viewed as cognitive living rooms into which the furniture of knowledge is moved in and arranged by teachers, and teachers cannot invariably act as subject-matter experts.” The authors add, “The main use of standardized tests in America is to justify the distribution of certain goodies to certain people.”

Schools of education represent the academic slums of most any college. American education can benefit from slum removal.”

Thankfully not everyone is blind to the realities of state controlled education schools or the atrocious product they foist upon the children.

V for Vendetta

January 25th, 2012
12:18 pm

Hahaha! I was wondering how long it would take after Obama said 18. I guess it only took about 12 hours.

Fifth Top

January 25th, 2012
1:15 pm

Why keep them in anothe year if they haven’t learned the skills to enter the workforce? Another year won’t help and only add to the state’s expence of “housing” our eduction system failures.

Graduating or “launching” an un-empoyable is no way to run what we think of as education.

Dr NO / Mr Sunshine

January 25th, 2012
1:24 pm

Nice grandstanding there, Rashad. Now, get a job.


January 25th, 2012
1:28 pm

Remember that Obama (and others) have planted the idea that EVERYONE should go to college. I have high school students with disabilities who are reading on a 4th grade level insisting that they are going to college. They can’t even SPELL college correctly. I want them to just complete HS and get a job—-in this economy, ANY job. But forcing disinterested students into staying in school just keeps the distractions going in the classroom while the teachers are supposed to be raising the bar for success. “No Child Left Behind” is a crock of data and paperwork and CYA with statistics. I am having to take time out of instruction EVERY week just to do data assessments……

Road Scholar

January 25th, 2012
1:55 pm

Everyone should get a high school diploma. Not all are college material.

Why not take the “dropouts” and place them in military based schools, or when they get to 16, into the military? Discipline is what is missing so they can set goals and achieve.

@ Once Again

January 25th, 2012
2:09 pm

Thank you for bringing up the issues with teacher colleges and the divergence from content to psycho babble. I see this everyday, particularly with my daughter’s teacher. She actually stated that when she was younger, they “teached it to her a different way”. Yes… TEACHED. Hello? Even my daughter knew that was not a correct form of the verb “to teach.” Additionally, I have to send in little “love notes” (what I call them) every week correcting her grading errors. It is unbelievable the amount of times I’ve caught her marking something wrong when my daughter actually answered the question correctly. This frustrated me so bad, I did a little digging and found out she graduated from a teaching college in Georgia. Yes, she’s home grown. I guess that should make me feel better, but I know the truth about the crap that passes for knowledge in these colleges. Ridiculous doesn’t even cover it.

Ron Burgundy

January 25th, 2012
2:17 pm

Lets kepe kids who dont want to go to school and force them too. That will work! How about making them either go to school, if not go to a trade school, or go pick up highway trash.


January 25th, 2012
2:45 pm

If the purpose of school is to serve as a holding tank/daycare, then raise the age to 21. If its purpose is to educate, then do away with compulsory attendance laws altogether. Schools function better when everyone there wants to be there.


January 25th, 2012
2:53 pm

Schools are failing. The leadership of America is failing the children. (OBAMA). Not every child is ‘college material’. Plus, there are far too many kids going to college than can actually obtain employment from their degree. Back in the day, my college had a tough ‘teacher track’. Only 20 students were accepted into teaching college. These students were interviewed not just on test scores, but how they worked at field placements. The result, over 95% still teaching after 15 years. If you didn’t get accepted, the state college would accept you as long as you paid your tuition. The result, most ‘teachers’ left the filed after 10 years. Again, this is just one example. We should not only offer ‘college prep’ classes but also offer vocational training. Some kids would far better be served and probably stay in school till graduation, if they instead were taking some job training program.

JF McNamara

January 25th, 2012
2:59 pm

Why don’t we give a trade school option? Let people drop out at 15, but require a year of trade school making the official age 16.

If you want to ruin your life, knock yourself out. At least we can somewhat offset the societal loss by giving them a useful trade.


January 25th, 2012
3:40 pm

The idea of raising the drop out is not the silver bullet to all the woes of educational system. The President did not even come close to suggesting that it is. It is one one many actions needed to address our educational system. The president has never said all students should attend college. What he said is all kids should attend college or some vocational training school. The self serving media has dropped the last part and we have all taken the bait.

No matter what law we put in place until we get parents to accept there responsibilities our kids will continue to suffer. That said, no 16 year old is capable of making a life changing decision such as dropping out of school. We will pay for it at some point down the down. There is a certain amount of common sense in raising the age, but we need to combine this act with other reforms such as the ability to remove bad teachers, stronger accountibility on parents, teaching kids basic skills and not to a test, etc.

For the right wingers who wish to bash the President, please provide proof the NCLB had any impact besides adding more administrative reporting to school systems?

Old timer

January 25th, 2012
5:18 pm

Raising the drop out GE would only work if you could require passing work to stay and good behavior. Otherwise these people will only cause issues. Look at states that keep kids longer…..Is the actual graduation rate any better? I bet not…

Private School Guy

January 25th, 2012
5:57 pm

Raising the age limit only increases the deadwood in high schools. Let them drop out, but also let them come crawling back to get a real education after attending hard knocks university for a few months or years. Students that don’t want to be in school are a distraction to students who want to stay in school and learn. In addition there are young people who want to learn but do not want to be in a regular school setting.

Ole Guy

January 25th, 2012
6:24 pm

It would appear that Congressperson Taylor wishes to continue coddling youth. The issue should not be one of the state giving up on 16 year olds, but kids giving up on themselves. This nonesense about 16 year olds not having the level of maturity to make a decision of such gravity is nothing short of crap/horse crap, dog crap…crap is crap. If the kid doesn’t want to/won’t get with the program, he/she SHOULDN’T be ALLOWED to quit, they should be unceremonously pitched out of public-supported education…NO special programs, NO false grades in the mistaken notion that the kid will, somehow, and through some sort of mysterious psychoosmotic action become motivated. OUT!!

Long time educator

January 25th, 2012
8:50 pm

I am not sure we need compulsory attendance at all. Education should be seen as a privilege provided by society for those who apply themselves. If a student does not want to be there or his parents cannot control him, he should not be allowed to disrupt the education of those who want to take advantage of it. I do think it is important to make middle school and high school more relevant to the students we have and many of them are NOT going to college. They need a vocational track where they can feel successful and actually be prepared for a job. This will keep them in school more than compulsory attendance laws. They drop out because they feel “stupid” in a college prep track and don’t see the relevance.

To Nelson from Good Mom

January 25th, 2012
8:54 pm

At age 12, you want kids out of school.

What do you do for a living? Are you a pimp?

If you toss 12 year olds out on the street you will create a huge child-prostituion epidemic.

Dear Lord, Nelson, you must be smoking crack.

Goom Mom

To Long Time Educator from Good Mom

January 25th, 2012
8:59 pm

To Long Time No-education….

You’ve said “If a student does not want to be there ….”

A student is a child. My children do not want to go to school. They would much rather they stay home with me or go to work with me or go to the playground all day. I don’t let my children decide whether to go to school or not because they are not mature enough to make that decision for themselves.

Do you let your child do whatever the he99 he or she wants or do you have rules in place to ensure they do what’s best for them and not what they want to do?

Your comments are thinly-veiled and proposterous.

You and Nelson need to go live in a cave somewhere.

To Amazing from Good Mom

January 25th, 2012
9:03 pm

Amazing, you said it beautifully:

“… no 16 year old is capable of making a life changing decision such as dropping out of school. ”


Very well said.

To JF MCNamara from Good Mom

January 25th, 2012
9:08 pm

Hey JF MCScarus,

You said “Why don’t we give a trade school option? Let people drop out at 15, but require a year of trade school making the official age 16. ”

Please enlighten us, McScarus, what “trade” or business can be learned by a 15 year old drop out with a year of “trade” school?

What business other than prostitution would a 16 year old be able to earn a living by doing? What kind of a real trade could a 15 year old learn and master in a year?

That crack that Nelson is smoking must be pretty darn good. Looks like he gave a bag of it to you.

To Once Again from Good Mom

January 25th, 2012
9:16 pm

Yes, you’re right. My child’s teacher cannot speak simple English properly. Her typed and formal written letters, her hand written notes and her speech is embarrassing. My child comes home speaking as she does and I have to spend time trying to do damage control.

I have a box of files of her poor work at my desk and a boat load of her emails. Please tell me to whom I should send it.

Good Mom

Long time educator

January 25th, 2012
10:08 pm

@Good Mom,
My whole statement was, “If a student does not want to be there or his parents cannot control him”. My children did not decide whether they went to school; of course, I made them go. I had control of their behavior, period. I did not need the state to mandate their attendance; I saw education as a privilege and expected them to do their absolute best. Children of parents who do not value education or cannot or will not control their children, should not be allowed to disrupt the education of those who want to learn. I do not think that is “preposterous”. I am not sure how this comment is “thinly veiled” and using insulting comments like “I should go live in a cave” only reflects badly on you.

V for Vendetta

January 26th, 2012
8:10 am

Ah, yes. Good Mom is back with her “raise the child for us” mantra and apparent racism. You know, some common mistakes in the English language–one of the hardest to learn, by the way–would be perfectly acceptable for someone who was not American born or raised in this country. Your child might have a perfectly intelligent teacher for whom English is a second language. Your child might learn as much or more from this culturally relevant experience.

Or you could keep your child in a cultural bubble and make fun of people who don’t talk like you. Well done.

C Jae of EAV

January 26th, 2012
10:56 am

In my view it’s a delicate balancing act and many good points have been raised here.

The unfortunately reality is a significant number of students have dialed out by the time they reach High School. Equally as unfortunately the pressures of meeting NCLB metric improvements have created a circumstance where administrators have educated kids to the reality of law and in a lot of the aforementioned cases advocated that kids voluntarily drop out. The administrator breathes a sigh of relief their numbers will hold up for AYP, the uninterested student goes about their merry way and the school to prison pipeline perpetuates its self.

Conversely, public education system cannot be expected to baby-sit kids or serve as holding pen for those who lack the desire to engage the system for what it has to offer and put themselves in a position to succeed in life. There has to be in my view some point where the we allow for the bitter hard choice ofvoluntary disengagement to be made as appropriate.

I believe the proposal to raise the age to 17 is just. Not perfect but in my view more within reason than 16, which strikes me in the context of today’s society abit young to be allowing for such a decision to be voluntarily made by the student. I believe this issue goes hand and hand with how juvenile justice is handled in the State to some degree. For surely the avg 16 year drop-out is likely to be headed swiftly in that direction. Mind you 17 isn’t that much better but is more reasonable than the status quo or even hiking the age higher.

Hold on a second

January 26th, 2012
9:33 pm

This week’s Creative Loafing has a great article about crack cocaine and arrestees in Atlanta jails. Part of the statistics collected by the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring program showed that 35% of arrestees reported having NO EDUCATION. I don’t know about any one else, but to me it makes more sense to fund the schools better than we fund our jails and the “war on drugs” so that these kids get the attention and support they need to be functioning members of society. And letting kids drop out at any age below 18 is going to do nothing to help lower the burden that the same kids will end up placing on society as adults either through jails, welfare, healthcare, etc.

[...] Georgia General Assembly introduced a bill to raise the state’s dropout age from 16 to 17, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. According to the AJC, only 15 states and the District of Columbia require students to stay in [...]


January 30th, 2012
6:24 pm

This benefits the Unions, plan and simple. If I need to explain it, you’re teaching material.