I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Florida Considering Raising Dropout Age from 16 to 18. Could This be a Classroom Discipline "Perfect Storm"?

Some media outlets are reporting that there is a movement in the Florida Legislature to change the compulsory education law in Florida to mandate attendance in school through age 18.  Currently 22 states have laws requiring attendance until age 18;  Eight states require attendance through age 17.

Obviously we all want students to stay in school and graduate.  That's the objective, that's the goal.

But at what cost?  Will this be fully funded?

I'll be following this issue with great interest this legislative session, and the biggest concern I have is how this might create further discipline issues in the classroom. If students are 16-18 and have had limited academic successes, and want to quit, but can't--what will happen? We already have some students in the schools that hate school-they Christmas tree answers on important tests and sleep through classes in many cases.   In other instances they either do not show up, or when they do they create daily disruptions for other students and staff members who are there to do their jobs--I just can't help but wonder if this change will exacerbate this problem?

One Utah lawmaker wants to end compulsory education, for interesting reasons--many of which are valid..

This well written article gives some interesting perspective on ending compulsory education.

Locally-changing this policy could have positive and negative effects--but I worry about pressure to minimize infractions and discipline based upon who commits the offenses....This is a real concern.

And with some social justice organizations looking at our discipline statistics, already pointing fingers and making accusations of institutional racism based upon the expulsion data, I wonder if this age for leaving school change will make it even more difficult to discipline those who are actually  deserving of punishment.  What these social justice organizations don't realize (or maybe they really do and don't want to let on) is that

 the opposite of what they accuse us of is actually what is happening.

It seems, based upon what I have seen, like there already IS disparate treatment;  some white students get multiple day, out-of-school suspensions on their very first offenses --often for minor issues (like showing up after school and eating an ice cream cone), while some minority students are not expelled for various repeated infractions in some cases until they have 12, 15, 18,  20,  or even as many as 39 referrals!!

Political Correctness with respect to discipline should not occur, punishment should be metted out in a colorblind fashion--- but I know that in some cases this has not occurred locally.  This could be challenging change if it occurs....

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