EDITORIAL: Keep our kids in schools

The passage of a bill that would intertwine high school attendance and the holding of a state driver’s license is one step closer to reality.

The S.C. House last week passed the bill that would cause a teen under 18 from holding a driver’s license if he or she drops out of school or is seen as truant. Proposed by Rep. Tom Young Jr. of Aiken, the bill now needs approval in the state Senate.

South Carolina has a less than stellar history of on-time graduation, and Young and his fellow House members view this as a responsible way to fight that problem.

“The dropout rate perpetuates social ills such as crime, teenage pregnancy, infant mortality juvenile delinquency and high unemployment,” Young said. “This legislation is not the silver bullet to the problem but it is a positive step toward encouraging young people to stay in school and get at least a high school education.”

There are those who think this is a shortsighted approach to the dropout problem. It is not the only answer, that is for sure. But it is a measure that will cause some students to pause when they are thinking of quitting school. And it could be the incentive for others to go back and resume their educations if they have already dropped out.

In the 21st century, a high school diploma is the least amount of education that is needed for an economically successful adulthood. Everything possible should be done to see to it that our students stay in school until they earn a high school diploma. The S.C. Senate should quickly pass this measure and send it on to the governor for his signature.

Aiken Standard

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