Under a new Kentucky law, students around the state will have to stay in school until they either receive their high school diploma or turn 18.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, First Lady Jane and Education Commissioner Terry Holliday praised school boards around the state for rushing to adopt the “Graduate Kentucky” standard, which can become law in four years.
The new state law, Senate Bill 97, allows local districts to voluntarily increase the dropout age. Once 96 districts in the Bluegrass State approve the policy, it will be mandated statewide in four years.
“After five years of hard work by Commissioner Holliday, the First Lady and others to implement raising the compulsory graduation age to 18, I am overwhelmed by the support our school boards have shown by racing to adopt this policy,” Gov. Beshear said, according to 14News.com.
More than 20 school districts that hadn’t acted on the policy were slated to meet this week. WFPL has confirmed that several of those districts planned to adopt the policy.
“We achieved our goal much faster than we anticipated,” Mrs. Beshear said. “The effort speaks so highly of the dedicated school boards, administrators, parents, teachers and communities who have made high school graduation a top priority for our students.”
Just two weeks back, leaders launched the “Blitz to 96” – the effort to get 96 school districts to adopt the new dropout age. Within the first week of the campaign, 75 districts had already done so.
Research shows that graduates of high school live longer, are less likely to be teen parents and are more likely to raise healthier, better-educated children. Graduates of high school are also less likely to commit crimes, rely on government healthcare or use other public services.