(Frankfort, Ky.) - A measure which would raise Kentucky’s high school dropout age to 18 is moving on in Frankfort.
Kentucky’s current dropout age of 16 was set almost a century ago. The House Education Committee gave the green light to a proposal to increase the age to 18 Tuesday. The vote was 24-2.
Governor Steve Beshear endorses the plan which calls for a gradual increase in the dropout age. It would increase to 17-years-old in 2017, then 18 in 2018.
“Kentucky needs an educated, highly trained workforce, and we can't have that if we tell kids it’s okay to drop out at 16. They lose their best opportunity at a productive future because they will likely earn less than their peers who graduate, and are more likely to find themselves on welfare or in prison. I look forward to continuing conversations with both the House and the Senate on this issue, and call on our legislators to pass this bill to keep our kids in school,” the governor said in a statement.
Kentucky House majority Democrats have tried to pass an increased dropout age for the past several years, but the issue has been stymied by the Republican-led Senate.
Those lawmakers against the proposal have argued that classrooms would be disrupted by students who do not want to be in school. They say schools would be forced to spend more money on alternative education programs.
The bill now heads to the full House.