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Ask your readers: Should 18-year-olds be able to drop out?

AR-301269956President Obama during his State of the Union Address Tuesday called for not allowing students to drop out of high school until they are 18 years old. The proposal prompted a backlash from some Republicans, who promise a battle.

From Obama’s State of the Union: “We also know that when students aren’t allowed to walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma. So tonight, I call on every State to require that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn eighteen.”

Some states have already raised the age to 18.

From the New York Times: “While state legislative efforts to raise the dropout age to 18 have spread in recent years, many have had trouble winning passage. Last year, for example, such legislation was considered in Alaska, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland and Rhode Island — but only Rhode Island actually changed its law”

Some Republicans argue that keeping teens in school who do not want to be there can be disruptive and drain resources.

From “Phil Gingrey, a Republican from Georgia, agreed, saying students should have the right to leave if they want to. ‘To require them to stay in high school to age 18, those who have absolutely no intention of getting an education or value an education are disrupting the other kids in class. I think it’s just a government misguided run amok quote honestly,’ Gingrey said.”

More from Yahoo: “Regulations on school attendance varies from state to state. Twenty states currently meet Obama’s standards by restricting students from dropping out before they turn 18-years-old. Some states allow students to drop out at 16 with parental permission and others require an agreement from the school to let them go. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 8.1 percent of students nationwide dropped out of high school in 2009.”

Some ideas:

What is the dropout age in your state. What are the dropout rates in your local schools and how do they compare to state and national averages?

Do your schools have programs to prevent teens from dropping out?

Speak with students, teachers and administrators. What do they thing of Obama’s proposal?

Be sure to run an online poll, asking for reader reaction.

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