NJ teens may have to stay in school to age 18

In Uncategorized on October 24, 2008 at 12:32 pm

Day by day our rights get taken away……..

NJ teens may have to stay in school to age 18
(Published: Thursday, October 23, 2008)


New Jersey teenagers may soon be required to stay in school until they’re 18.

An Assembly committee on Thursday approved a bill raising the age of compulsory education in the Garden State from 16 to 18.

New Jersey is one of several states looking at raising the age to reduce the number of high school dropouts.

“Too many of our students are being allowed to walk away before they’ve completed their education,” said Assemblywoman Nellie Pou, D-Passaic, a co-sponsor of the bill.

Assembly Democratic Leader Bonnie Watson Coleman, another sponsor, said the change would help ensure students get an education that sufficiently prepares them to make a living in today’s world.

New Jersey has one of the lowest dropout rates in the country, but about 17 percent of students do not graduate. That means about 19,000 students failed to graduate last year.

Earlier this month, the state kicked off a yearlong program to improve dropout rates. “The New Jersey High School Graduation Campaign” focuses on Newark, Camden and Jersey City, and is part of a national project to improve graduation rates headed by Alma Powell, the wife of former U.S. Secretary of State Collin Powell.

New Jersey law currently requires children between the ages of 6 and 16 to regularly attend school.

Statistics show students who do not graduate are twice as likely to live in poverty, three times as likely to be unemployed, and eight times as likely to end up in jail.

The high school dropout rate is 30 percent for all U.S. students, 42 percent for Hispanic students and 47 percent for black students.

Elsa Candelario, executive director of the Hispanic Family Center of Southern New Jersey, said her organization supports the bill because “a child at the age of 16 is not equipped to make the decision” to drop out of school. She said such a choice leaves the child unable to grow up to support or sustain a family.

She said the dropout rate in Camden, where her center is located, is as high as 60 percent, according to some estimates.

Mandatory school attendance varies from state to state, generally starting at age 5, 6 or 7 and ending between ages 16 and 18. Some allow students to leave school before they reach the state’s required age with consent of a parent or principal.

The bill, released by a vote of 8-2-1, now heads to the Assembly speaker, who can post it for a floor vote.


  1. The solution is not raising the ages but rather reforming the delivery of education to those students in our inner cities.

    They make up the vast majority of high school drop-outs, further moire those that do graduate are require remedial math, science and English when they go to our community colleges.

    Keeping children teens in school until legally adults will not correct the problem.

    The problem stems from poor performing schools starting in grade school and following children all the way through their public school experience in high school.

    What to do about it?

    How about breaking the monopoly of public schools by allowing parents the opportunity to place their children in alternative environments such as private, charter or parochial schools.

    Using vouchers, scholarships education grants or what ever you want to call them, will certainly empower the poor to better determine their children’s future than insisting that their teenagers stay in a dysfunctional high schools until adulthood.

    Until we face the facts that public schools no longer serve the public’s best interest in our urban schools, all else will be throwing suburban taxpayer’s good money after bad.

  2. How can any serious person argue that keeping minors in school is a bad idea? Seriously people, this is common sense. Minors should be in school – I think it’s ridiculous that 16 years have legal rights to drop out!

    and vouchers? please take that argument to another town where it has some relevance – Ridgewood is one of the finest districts in the state. Maybe we give those vouchers to Paterson or Newark students to come to Ridgewood. I doubt you’ll hear the radical right of Ridgewood put that to practice.

  3. 1558 yes Mein Fuhrer……its spring time for …..

  4. radical right of Ridgewood ,,,snore ridgewood is a lemo liberal town been one for some time take the day off you need a vacation

  5. The solution is not raising the ages but rather reforming the delivery of education to those students in our inner cities.
    …. folks its called the internet public education is dead!

  6. I agree 1136. Also public schools simply brainwash our kids these days and no real education is actually given. Look at the curriculum (eg. TERC) and even stuff like AP Economics. All they do is memorize a few definitions and follow what the teacher tells them to do. No real thinking involved.

  7. Speak for yourself 10:58! I have three children in the RPS. I think the voucher idea is just what this district needs. I would choose to send my elementary aged children to a different elementary school within Ridgewood, than the present one they attend. All things are not created equal in our village. Our elementary schools offer very different content. The quality of education our children receive is poor in some schools, Travell, for example and better in others, Hawes, for example.

  8. yes the fuhrer says you must be educated by the state !

  9. 12:50 ~
    you don’t need a voucher to send your children out of your district.
    Just get a variance from the board of ed. It’s easy, and they are very willing to do it.
    (well, they used to be, anyway!)

  10. The RPS does absolutely nothing for students who are not academically gifted or special ed.. They actively encourage them to go else where. Look at the bottom third of each class and you’ll see what I mean. These kids are left out in the cold because they do not fit into the RPS’s image that they want to project. Do the schools have any other alternatives other than college prep? No, nothing. It’s pathetic to see these children’s spirits crushed because they are taught that they aren’t smart enough for college. Well, what is so prescious about a college degree when everyone has one? Nothing really. They could set their sights to work on Wall Street – HoHo. They’ll have to move to London or Shanghai to get anywhere.
    College = four more years of adolescence and is basically irrelevant. Which , in turn, makes all lower institutions that specialize in college only preparation irrelevant.

  11. 442 the RPS system does not benefit the gifted children. AP programs are for high acheiving students who are willing to spend time learning vast amounts of materials, however, many students do not find this kind of curriculum interesting as they prefer creative thought rather than knowledge. A high acheiving student will learn and know the fundamental theorem of calculus whereas a gifted child will prove the fundamental theorem of calculus. The lack of logical and creative thinking is one of the biggest flaws of our school system. I think there are tons of gifted students in Ridgewood who can reason logically and creatively but are not given the chance and do not care because the curriculum teaches them otherwise.

  12. 4:42 PM: ditto

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