KY House Passes Law Raising Minimum Dropout Age
FRANKFORT, KY - Students wouldn't be allowed to drop out of school before their 18th birthday under legislation that has passed the House.
The vote was 87-10 Thursday afternoon. Gov. Steve Beshear, a two-term Democrat, has been promoting the legislation for years, most recently in his annual State of the Commonwealth speech.
The proposal would increase the dropout age incrementally from 16 to 17 to 18 over a period of years, giving both students and school districts time to adjust to the change.
The legislation now goes to the Senate. The Democratic-controlled House has approved the measure in past years, but it has never been passed by the Republican majority in the Senate.
Critics fear that classrooms would be disrupted by students who don't want to be in school.
Meanwhile, local school boards could allow refugees and foreign-born students to extend their stay in high school from age 21 to 23 under a bill that has passed the House.
The vote was 71-26 Thursday. State Rep. Jody Richards, a Bowling Green Democrat who sponsored the bill, said it would help these students catch up after arriving in this country with a poor education.
Some representatives who opposed the measure said it helped foreign-born students while students with disabilities would still have to leave school at the age of 21. Other critics expressed concerns that a 23-year-old man could be attending school with a 15-year-old girl.
The legislation moves to the Senate for consideration.
The legislation is House Bill 131.