by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
For years, North Carolina’s public school leaders have urged the General Assembly to raise the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 18. A new study by Grover Whitehurst and Sarah Whitfield of the Brookings Institution found that the change would not do much good. They concluded,
We find little evidence to support a causal connection between high school graduation rates and the compulsory school attendance age. Compulsory school attendance laws are honored much more in the breech than in the observance. Fifteen-year-olds who drop out of school in a state with a CSA age of 16 aren’t going to be any more likely to complete high school if the state raises the age requirement to 18. Further, state enforcement efforts have at best a small effect on this large population of school refusers.
I came to the same conclusion in 2007.