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Yay or Nay? Laws To Deny Licenses To Dropouts

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On: Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 5:21PM | By: Chris Weiss

Yay or Nay? Laws To Deny Licenses To Dropouts

Apparently there's a new driving legislation initiative underfoot in states around the country. Lawmakers in some states are considering legislation that would bar high school dropouts from getting driving licenses. The legislation aims to dissuade high schoolers from dropping out by using one of the most important things to a teenager—a car.

It's an interesting idea that could potentially impact high school drop-out rates, but is it the right move? Personally, I'd argue against it. First off, you'd think that high school dropout rates were at an all time high, and this initiative was created to stem a growing problem. However, according to data from the National Center For Education Statistics, dropout rates steadily declined over the near-two-decade period between 1980 and 2008. In fact, they were nearly cut in half during that time—from 14 percent to 8 percent. So why the push all of a sudden?

Okay, decreasing dropout rates is a worthy goal and maybe we shouldn't be happy until they're 0 percent—particularly in an economy that increasingly demands more advanced degrees. But is withholding driving privileges the way to get it done?

While I'd bet that it could be effective at changing the minds of some would-be dropouts, others are going to drop out anyway, either as a personal choice or because of extenuating circumstances—family issues, the need to work full time, etc. And by disallowing them to drive, you're essentially limiting them even further. Now, in addition to not having enough education for many jobs, they don't have a means of transportation, limiting their options to those within walking/biking distance. With the intentions of helping young adults, this type of legislation could very well hurt the most vulnerable populations.

Another thing to consider—when you take away someone's driving privileges, it doesn't necessarily mean they don't drive, just that they don't have a license. By taking away a teenager's ability to get a license, you may be putting an untrained, unskilled driver onto the road, because if he can't get a license, there's really no reason to go through driving classes. But out of necessity or rebellion, unlicensed drivers may still get behind the wheel.

It's an interesting idea, but I don't think it's the best way to get things done. What do you think? Would you support such legislation in your own state/city or do you think it's a failure waiting to happen?



DipStick | 7:21AM (Sat, Jun 18, 2011)

Another useless law that will never get passed....don't waste everyone's time with these ridiculous legislations ...


Andrew3042 | 1:15PM (Mon, Jun 20, 2011)

Good - now the under educated will be under qualified for work, or worse yet not be able to work. So we reward them with welfare to stay home and play on their xbox at our expense.

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