You Must Be This Old to Drop Out

Lawmakers want to Increase School Drop Out Age

If you're thinking about dropping out of high school, you'll have more time to mull it over or suffer the consequences if a Connecticut lawmaker has anything to do with it. He wants to boost the dropout age from 16 to 18.

State law currently states that a student can withdraw from school with a parent or guardian’s consent at 16. But legislation has been introduced that would increase that to 17 in 2010. By 2011, it would be 18, the age at which many students graduate from high school.

“This legislation seeks to ensure each child has a fair chance to graduate from high school,” said Rep. Jason Bartlett, one of the authors of the bill. "With today’s daunting economy, youth face a particularly competitive environment to find jobs. An education is crucial.”

The legislation also requires schools to refund a portion of an Education Cost Sharing formula grant to the state if a student drops out during the year. A district's ECS funding is based on enrollment after the first two weeks of the school year.

“The fact that many students drop out well into the school year and into the spring leaves no financial incentive for school administrators to encourage students to remain enrolled,” Bartlett said. “I have personally been aware of situations where administrators actually encouraged problem students to drop out. This financial paradigm must change and a student’s retention must be a component of the state’s financing of education.”

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