Lawmakers in several states are looking for ways to keep kids in school. The latest idea is to ground them! According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Alabama, Iowa, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia are currently trying to pass laws that would take away a student’s driver’s license if they dropped out of school. The South Carolina bill goes as far as taking the license away if a student misses seven days of school without an excuse. They hope that it’ll encourage students to stay in school. Keeping kids in school is important because dropouts are more likely to be unemployed, earn lower wages, are more likely to be single parents, and have children at a younger age. Even scarier, high school dropouts are almost four times more likely to be in prison at one point in their lives than those who get a diploma.
However, not all experts agree with taking away a dropout’s license. Jay Smink is the executive director of the National Dropout Prevention Center at Clemson University. He says these types of laws won’t solve the problem because they’re not addressing the reason why kids are dropping out. While it may get some students back in school, many of them will end up facing the same problems that made them leave in the first place, and they’ll dropout again and just drive without a license. He says the trick to keeping kids in school is making sure there are plenty of resources for the students, like counseling and smaller class sizes. Pennsylvania State Representative Thomas Caltagirone disagrees. He thinks that these types of laws are the best way to get student’s attention because if there’s one thing they really love, it’s the freedom to drive.