Alabama dropout ages changes from 16 to 17

By: Vanessa Araiza Email
By: Vanessa Araiza Email

We've always been taught that reading is knowledge and for many school officials they say it's the link to getting a high school diploma.

"It's really set by third grade, if they're experiencing reading difficulty when they're leaving third grade they're not likely to recover from that," said Michael Lenhart.

That is why Ozark City Schools Superintendent Michael Lenhart agrees with Governor Bob Riley's decision to raise the dropout age. Last week, the governor signed a bill upping the age to dropout from 16 to 17.

School officials say one of the critical times for a student is when they are in the third grade, the moves that they make at that time could affect if they graduate or not.

Dale County Schools Asst. Superintendent James Brooks says, "When kids leave the third grade we want them reading on third grade level and I think that’s going to help with that problem."

Currently, both Ozark city and Dale County schools are below the 90-percent graduation rate. But they are hopeful the new law will increase the number of students graduating.

"Changing the drop out rate to 17, I think you will see over a period of time you will see an increase," said Brooks.

Superintendent Lenhart says, “The last thing that we want to do is have a child drop out of school and so the harder we make it for them to do it the better it's going to be for the children and eventually for our country."

Even though both Ozark city and Dale County schools have not made the 90-percent graduation rates, they have seen slow increases on the amount of students that get their high school diplomas.

Under the new law, if a student does drop out he or she must attend an exit interview with a school administrator and a parent or guardian.

They also have to sign a document showing they understand the consequences of leaving school early.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by anynamous Location: Dohan on May 28, 2009 at 11:11 AM
    There shouldn't be an age set. Wether the child be 16 or 17 if the child doesn't care or want to try. In most cases it's the parents to blame. Parent not taking time to show interest in childs education. Then again the schools could offer more help for them by providing programs in areas that children struggle. If the teachers would care more about the childrens education than their own appearences. It might would help also.
  • by jessica Location: headland on May 27, 2009 at 07:03 PM
    I think it is a goodthing b/c thay may be a lower dropout ratw with the effect b/c y dropout if u have one more yearto go many are going to want to stick in it a ll longee.
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