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Fri December 25, 2009
Drop out age - 18 - starts with Class of 2016
By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network
LANSING, MI – Students in the Class of 2016 will be the first Michigan graduates required to stay in school until they are 18. Legislators approved a measure in the "Race To The Top" education reform package that would raise the drop-out age from 16 to 18.
Democratic state Representative Doug Geiss sponsored the measure to increase the drop-out age. He's been trying for awhile to push that legislation through, but Senate Republicans have traditionally opposed the measure.
Geiss admits keeping kids in school who don't want to be there is a tough sell for a state that is struggling financially.
"There will be additional costs - I mean if we're keeping these kids in school, each school district is going to 7500 or whatever their allotment is to keep that child in school - so there will be additional burden," Geiss says.
But Geiss says it's important to find as many ways possible to get kids to graduate. He says prisons are flooded with people who dropped out of school early, and that costs the state even more.