Kentucky Governor, Education Leaders Celebrate New Statewide Dropout Age of 18

Just two weeks since Kentucky allowed school districts to voluntarily adopt the new compulsory dropout age of 18, enough districts have approved the policy to make it mandatory statewide in four years.

Gov. Steve Beshear and Education Commissioner Terry Holliday announced today that 96 districts—or 55 percent—have adopted the new policy raising the dropout age from 16, which has been in place since 1934, according to state officials.

Under Senate Bill 97, all districts must adopt no later than the 2017-2018 school year. Those early adopters that make up the 96 districts will implement the policy in the 2015-2016 school year.

“Students who graduate from an accredited or an approved four-year high school before they turn 18 are exempt from the new policy,” Gov. Beshear said in a release.

Over 20 states have a compulsory dropout age of 18, but that doesn’t necessarily correlate to more diplomas, according to this 2012 report from NPR. While educators have told WFPL (and its seen in the report) that it sends the right message, they also say it shouldn’t be considered a silver bullet.

Devin Katayama

Devin Katayama host middays for WFPL and reports on education and other Louisville issues.

@DevinWFPL

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