Mass. considers raising school dropout age to 18

Arada Adobe, a 17-year-old Amherst high school dropout, talks about why she 
supports the bill to raise the Massachusetts high school dropout age from 16 to 18.

If you drop out of high school, you are more likely to depend on welfare, get divorced and possibly end up in jail, according to researchers from Northeastern University.

But state officials are trying to prevent that by making sure Massachusetts students stay in their classroom seats.

On Thursday, the legislature’s Joint Committee on Education voted in favor of a Dropout Prevention bill that would raise the age to voluntarily leave high school from 16 to 18, in phases, while putting prevention measures in place to help motivate students.

“If anyone can solve the problem of student dropouts, it’s us here in Massachusetts,” said Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, the bill’s lead sponsor.

Chang-Diaz said the comprehensive bill would place graduation coaches in schools with steep dropout rates and study why kids ditch class.

In Massachusetts, roughly 8,000 students dropout every year, imposing a net fiscal burden of $118,000 to taxpayers for each individual, according to reports.

“We have a responsibility to make sure successes are meeting all our students. … The economy depends on the next generation of skilled workers,” said Chang-Diaz.

The bill will move forward to the Senate Ways and Means Committee, who will determine how much it could cost the state to add the proposed dropout prevention methods in schools.

From there, the bill will head to the House and Senate floor for a vote.

Members of the education committee said they had concerns about the potential costs, but still voted in favor of the bill.

“I have concerns about the funding mechanisms, and I hope [Ways and Means] can address those concerns,” said Rep. David Vieira during Thursday’s hearing.

Keeping it classy in Massachusetts

Voters favorably reacted to the dropout bill Thursday. Here are some challenges the legislation hopes to curb:
   
8,000 students drop out of Mass. schools each year.
   
Average dropout creates a $118,000 fiscal burden on taxpayers.
   
Dropouts make up 70 percent of the state’s jail population.
   
The average cost to house a prisoner is $46,000 per year.
   
The dropout age has been raised to 18 in 21 states.

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Apple says its systems not to blame for…

By Edwin Chan and Christina FarrSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The week before a crucial launch of its new iPhone, Apple Inc said intimate photos of…

Local

Tallest residential building planned for lower Manhattan

A residential tower planned for lower Manhattan will soar 1,356 feet in the air -- just 12 feet shy of 1 World Trade Center. When…

Local

Bronx man commits suicide by decapitation

A Bronx man committed suicide Monday morning in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx by decapitating himself. According to the NYPD, the 51-year-old man…

Local

Top cops enroll in Twitter course at John…

NYPD officers are reportedly getting a lesson on the best way to use 140 characters or less. The New York Post reported Tuesday top officers…

Arts

Pop culture and prostitutes: New Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at…

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec documented the cult of celebrity and the rise of pop entertainment in his prints, posters and lithographs — now on display at MoMA.

Arts

PHOTO: Extreme artist Eskil Ronningsbakken balances unicycle on…

Extreme artist’ Eskil Ronningsbakken balances on the edge of a cliff face at 4,600 feet – on a unicycle. The Norwegian travels across the globe, balancing over vertiginous ravines, tall…

Music

Hear two previously unreleased Adele songs

Missing some Adele in your life? Two previously unreleased songs from the singer have appeared online.

Music

Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…

NFL

10 storylines to watch for the Giants this…

The Giants rebounded from an embarrassing 0-6 start last season, but not well enough to make the playoffs.

NFL

Michael Vick set to be weekly guest with…

Mike Francesa may need to backtrack from his harsh commentary of Michael Vick now that the Jets backup quarterback will be a weekly guest on his show.

NFL

Jets expect to make playoffs after sitting on…

The same pundits who predicted the Jets would be woeful a season ago are now eying the playoffs for this revamped team.

NFL

Antonio Allen returns to practice after concussion

Antonio Allen was cleared to practice again following his concussion two weeks ago.

Parenting

In defense of making a mess during playtime

"Recipes for Play" authors Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener think playtime should involve the five senses and making a mess is part of the fun.

Wellbeing

Jason Hope helps push anti-aging efforts forward

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article When it comes to age-related illness, the direction of modern medicine seems more reactive than proactive. In…

Wellbeing

Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…