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Bill would Increase Dropout Age in Kentucky

By: MacKenzie Bates Email
By: MacKenzie Bates Email

The senate education committee approves a bill that would eventually increase the dropout age from 16-18.

Last year, nearly 65-hundred students dropped out of school in Kentucky. If the bill is signed in to law, the changes would begin in July of 2015.

Last Year, Perry County Schools had 33 students drop out. The Chief Academic Officer says that's 33 too many.

“It is our job to ensure that schools are a place that are preparing students for life after high school,” Jonathan Jett says. “And if we're doing our job in that aspect, then we shouldn’t have many students dropping out.”

Jett says even though the state might increase the dropout age in Kentucky, there are many factors that lead to the decision for students to drop out of high school.

“Bad home lives, not fitting in at school, failing at school, Jett says. “So those are some of the things that we have to address as educators making sure that all students are successful.”

The current dropout age in Kentucky is 16 which was adopted back in 1920. Back then, kids would drop out to work on farms or in coal mines. But Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear says passing this bill is the right thing to do.

“It's an opportunity for us to give all of the children of Kentucky the opportunity to reach their potential,” Beshear says.

The original measure, which cleared the House earlier this month, would have implemented the change in 2013. The Senate change approved Tuesday would raise the dropout age from 16
to 17 in 2015 and a year later it would go to 18.

The first lady says she would like it to be sooner.

“The most important fact is we made the change and if that's the difference between being able to pass the bill or not pass the bill, then I’m ok with that,” Beshear says.

Beshear says the Senate should vote on the bill soon.

The first lady believes the passage of this bill will strengthen Kentucky’s chances to get millions of education dollars from the race to the top program.


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