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NJ Makes It Harder for Potential High School Dropouts to… Well, Drop Out

High School Dropouts

Sorry kids, but dropping out of high school in New Jersey may soon become more of a challenge.

As of now the Garden State requires that those between the ages of 6 and 16 attend school regularly, but a new bill being discussed in the state’s senate seeks to raise the mandatory age of high school attendance to 18.

The goal of the bill is improve New Jersey’s graduation rate, which is about 80 percent and already among the highest in the country. However, a 2009 report found that when states up the mandatory school age the effect on graduation rates is minimal.

Nevertheless, the bill’s advocates believe that any gain in students with diplomas is worthwhile.

“Quite simply — and quite tragically — too many of our students are being allowed to walk away before they’ve completed their education and built a foundation for their future,” said state Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, the bill’s primary sponsor. “Futures are being lost under our current law.”

Of course one big question about the bill, if passed, is how would it be enforced. Would the state actually throw 17-year-olds, or their parents, in jail if they didn’t show up for class?

[New Jersey Spotlight]

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