Stay in School

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cecilia Rouse, professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University and recent member of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, talks about President Obama's call to legally require students to stay in school until graduation or turning 18.


Cecilia Rouse

Comments [25]

Forcing kids to stay HARMS serious students from Don't forget the motivated kids.

Forcing older teens to stay in school even if they
desperately don't want to be there can SERIOUSLY HARM
serious students who desperately WANT to get a good

These MOTIVATED students should NOT be forgotten.
When students don't want to be there, they often
cause disruption and trouble, can bully serious
students, and often slow the entire class from
progressing effectively because they don't study
or learn effectively and distract the WHOLE CLASS
from learning efficiently.

FINISH! Perhaps THIS should be addressed rather
than forcing them. (For example, if there family is
very poor and facing food and housing insecurity
naturally, one could see that many responsible teens
might rather try to work. FIXING THESE problems may
be far better than trying to force teens to stay in
school when they face survival problems - rather than
address their real emergencies.

One could separate the student who don't want to be there,
one could - ideally- try to find out WHY they don't want
to be there and help resolve some of their roadblocks,
one could offer vocationally focused programs for students
with these interests, one could offer early community work
programs or even armed forces work programs combined with
concurrent or later support in completing school,

Forcing teens is a BAD idea.

Jan. 31 2012 05:17 PM
Roy from Queens

If the school system wants more kids to stay in school, it must be reformed. Plus, it has to give some leniency to kids who have to drop out because of a family issue.

Jan. 31 2012 01:47 PM
Casey from Manhattan

I heard Eric from Inwood and agree totally with what he said.

I dropped out in the second quarter of HS when I was a senior in 1981 because I moved and the school I transferred to wasn't challenging enough. I went to work and eventually got around to getting my GED seven years later.

I continued to work, but realized that I wanted to go to college and was accepted into NYU in 1998, but circumstances prevented me from going at the time. In hindsight, it probably was for the best because the degree in the humanities wouldn't have been useful ;)

Now I'm almost 50 and a junior in one of the CUNY schools. The sad thing is that I see kids who care more about Facebook and texting rather than the fact that they are in remedial classes who all look at me like some sort of "nerd" and/or freak because I have a 3.9 GPA and am old enough to be their father. They all do the least amount of work to get by and then gripe when they barely pass. If this is what is occurring on the college level, how can anyone even think about forcing a child to stay in high school if they don't want to be there?

Jan. 31 2012 12:43 PM
Katy from New Jersey

Does this affect homeschooling? Most community colleges have set up programs for kids who don't stay in school.
The major reason children drop out of school is social reasons. I believe my sister(and many others) would NOT be alive today (teen suicide) if they were forced to stay in the poisonous social atmosphere of the American Education system. Part of the problem is that teachers and principals have such power over families.
Highschool is great for those whose parents fit in and have the finances to be in the upper heirarchy of the society.
I was in highschool in northern New Jersey at the time when a group of kids killed themselves together.
Most of us SURVIVE school, some do well, some leave and prosper.
I am a democrat, and I am VERY upset!

Jan. 31 2012 12:04 PM
Nick from UWS

The university system in this country is a massive racket linked with the banking system and have used spin and PR to brainwash the country with the idea that nobody is competent to do anything without a university diploma. It's just a racket to suck families into the student loan system. The idea of "college" has paralyzed the productivity of this country. More BS that should be torn down.

Jan. 31 2012 12:01 PM
MC from Manhattan

looks like there wil not be many blue coller jobs in the future .. they HAVE to learn period and since other states are already doing this all the noise about it not being able to be done does not amount to any thing

Jan. 31 2012 12:00 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Most jobs do NOT "need" academic knowledge. Most jobs are in retail, restaurants and eateries, sales, repairs, etc. It is simply a FALSEHOOD even now to say most jobs require "critical thinking skills." No, most jobs require people who are willing to get up early and show up on time to do a days work. Stop with all of this "critical thinking skills" nonsense. Maybe ten percent of jobs require "critical thinking skills." Most require showing up, doing the routine work from dawn to dusk, and to stop whining so much.

Jan. 31 2012 12:00 PM
Nancy Meher from Manhattan

My niece is 16 yrs. old, she dropped out of High School, The Bronx School of Visual arts, 328 students, couldn't the school do something about this. She lost her mother 3 years ago, her father works all week. Now she just sits home and plays with facebook

Jan. 31 2012 11:58 AM
John A.

I see incredible quantities of pro-drug message online. Allowing more kids to drop out would be tending in the wrong direction. Unless HS is where the dealers are (not entirely joking, unfortunately). I do like the idea of shifting towards teaching more work skills in certain areas.

Jan. 31 2012 11:58 AM

Also, have they considered how awkward enforcement is going to be? Are parents whose kids drop out of school going to end up in family court on neglect charges? Will they be criminally prosecuted? This seems a very thorny problem, given how hard it is for parents to control their teens' behavior.

Jan. 31 2012 11:57 AM

Interesting article in WSJ regarding apprenticeships as an alternative to traditional public school...

Jan. 31 2012 11:56 AM
steve e from New Jersey

You can make a kid go to school but can you force them to learn? How far should we go; is enforcement just another money drain from finite funding for those willing to make the effort?

Jan. 31 2012 11:55 AM
MP from Brooklyn

Emma, what an excellent point - this proposal does seem to grabbing the problem by the wrong end.

Jan. 31 2012 11:54 AM
Nick from UWS

"My needs. My needs." What the hell does a 16-year-old know about "his needs"? He needs to stay in school and learn how to form and write a coherent sentence. He needs to learn what the box is before he considers himself "thinking outside the box".

Jan. 31 2012 11:53 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Why always this obsession with college? We should give high risk kids more access to high-skilled, blue collar apprenticeship with private companies?

Jan. 31 2012 11:53 AM
Emma from Brooklyn

This seems an odd idea that conflicts with the research. Given limited resources, the administration should be focusing on the early years when education makes a difference. Start free, compulsory schooling at 2 or 3, and let kids leave at 16. By the time kids are in their teens, it is so much more difficult to make a difference. Also, I recommend the book "Jefferson's Children" by Leon Botstein, which discusses what an oppressive, awkward environment high school is for today's adolescents, who resemble adults in many ways.

Jan. 31 2012 11:53 AM
MC from Manhattan

The effect of this is that it keeps people out of the job market in a shrinking economy... creating less pressure on the unemployment figures

Jan. 31 2012 11:53 AM

But consider the effect on the classroom and on the committed learners in school of the presence of the unprepared and the unwilling among them. Teaching to the best in class only goes so far when you have the other pole centering the gravity in mediocrity.

This isn't about education, it's about controlling the juvenile population.

Jan. 31 2012 11:52 AM
BK from NJ

A little libertarian streak in me says that of a kid wants to drop out of school at age 16, he/she should be able to. But they should also be barred from receiving any public benefits- unemployment benefits, welfare benefits, or any other handout- for maybe a decade or so until they complete high school or GED.

Jan. 31 2012 11:50 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

So what are we going to do now, put 17-year-olds in jail for not staying in school? Is that the next liberal innovation? What schools need is to go back to the diverse, comprehensive system with more shop and hands on work rather than academics.Too much emphasis on academic work in HS. High schools should emphasize preparation for work, not for college, as was the case before the mid-1960s. Most kids 18 year old should be working and not wasting time taking academic subjects they will NEVER make use of. We are forcing academic studies down the throats of too many kids!

Jan. 31 2012 11:49 AM
Angela from Brooklyn

What about students that go on to college without ever completing a highschool diploma? Will there be an option to test out of the diploma, and would that create more of an incentive for those who do not want to stay in school (as we know highschool kids can be kind of brutal to oneanother).

Jan. 31 2012 11:49 AM
MP from Brooklyn

By the time she was 16, my sister had all but stopped going to any classes. My parents told her if she wasn't going to go to school, she had to drop out and get a job to help support herself. After several years of dead-end jobs (factory work, waitressing), she wised up and got her GED and eventually her Bachelor's degree. In her case, dropping out and realizing what it would mean for the rest of her life was the best thing that could have happened to her.

Purely anecdotal, of course.

Jan. 31 2012 11:47 AM
Helen Gibson from manhattan

I think this is a great idea. It is really sad that many of the kids who drop out of school come from broken families, where the parents don't care to motivate their kids to complete high school. I know people say it is not the governments duty to be the parent, but what are these kids supposed to do when they don't really know any better and they have no role models at home to value education. I wish we could punish the parents who let their kids drop out.

Jan. 31 2012 10:45 AM

The quality of education should be our focus not the quantity

Jan. 31 2012 10:17 AM
Brenda from New York City

I have no doubt that I need to be more informed about this issue, and will tune in. Right now, I'm having difficulty understanding how this could ever be anything but a good thing. I have come across too many high school graduates ill prepared for the workforce or college. I can't imagine that those dropping out are not even less prepared. I don't think forcing students to stay will fix the system, but allowing them to leave can't help anything. Can it? I think out loud some more here:

Jan. 31 2012 10:03 AM

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