By on June 9, 2011

Given that the most dangerous part of a car is the driver, I’m basically sympathetic to the idea of some kind mandatory driver education… but I also know that my fellow Americans tend to oppose limitations on their “right to drive.” Unless, apparently, you happen to be a high schooler, in which case Minnesota and South Carolina (and possibly California in the near future) won’t let you get a license unless you can prove you are attending a high school. It’s not the only example of automotive ageism out there… and because I tend to favor regular testing for elderly drivers, it’s a little difficult to oppose this on principle alone. Except that, unlike elderly driver testing, this isn’t about auto safety per se, but about school attendance rates. Does that make a difference? Or is there perhaps a safety benefit from banning dropout drivers? Help me out here B&B (especially those with high school-age kids or experience with these laws)… does this make any sense, or not?

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88 Comments on “Ask The Best And Brightest: Drop Out Of High School, Lose Your License?...”


  • avatar
    carguy

    While it may be a motivating factor, taking the car away from dropouts won’t do much for their unemployment rate. The intentions may be good but I doubt its good policy.

  • avatar
    jjster6

    No sense at all. Being physically present in a school does not make an education. If you don’t want an education, no one can make you get one.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    Sounds like this was cooked up by the usual suspects that benefit from protecting and growing public school spending – up all the time, worse performing every year. It also sounds suspiciously like it could give local sympathetic law enforcement another tool to use against homeschoolers.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    The most obvious problem is that it is totally unconstitutional.

    The other problem is that most dropouts don’t give a crap. It is not like these are Nobel winners. These are the ones who can’t even make it today’s dumbed down public school system. You have to be a complete moron not to get thru high school today.

    Requiring an IQ test before getting a license, that is a good idea.

    • 0 avatar
      Lumbergh21

      Not all kids drop-out because they are “morons”. Some drop-out because of the moronic school system, IMO. Just because somebody drops out of school that doesn’t mean they are stupid or unmotivated. I’ve known smart good kids who have dropped out of highschool and absolutely worthless kids who remained in school.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      The most obvious problem is that it is totally unconstitutional.

      What part of the constitution would deny the states the right to regulate the ability to get a license?

      • 0 avatar
        EEGeek

        Exactly. There is no constitutional right to drive – only for equal protection under the law. I see no constitutional problem with the law, but I think it’s dumb. Licensing of drivers should be based on proficiency at driving; tying it to school attendance only serves the purposes of the education establishment who get money on a per-butt-in-the-seat basis.

  • avatar
    stuki

    I’m sure sitting around being indoctrinated by a bunch of tax feeders is exactly what is needed to make one a safer driver. Talk about abject idiocy. I guess America has now reached the point where enough of it’s citizens are little more than well indoctrinated, gullible progressives who will fall for absolutely anything, as long as some so called “expert” is saying it, and the “expert” promises them it will only hurt someone else.

    Next up is college attendance. Then the “correct” jobs. Like banking and leeching off tax payers, since that is so important, and stuff.

    And the coming caliphate looks, relatively speaking, better and better every day. No childish progtrash requirements for driving a nicely kitted out white Hilux, if nothing else.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Being a California resident, I think the point of any new legislation that would prevent highschool dropouts from having a driver’s license is quite obvious, and it has nothing to do with safety on the roads of our large state. The news is filled with stories seemingly written by the CTA and NEA teachers unions expounding the woeful level of education funding (yeah right, many private schools seem to do just fine with half the budget per student or even less when high cost sports, e.g. football, are not offered). Particularly, the stories attacking school vouchers when that was an issue put before the voters. This is 100% about protecting/increasing funding for the schools. Will it have a benficial effect on the safety of our roads as well? I doubt it. Kids that would have dropped out of highschool are just as likely to be reckless if they are forced to attend school.

    I would also like to point out that I knew three kids who dropped out of highschool when I was younger, and they were by no means irresponsible. They just weren’t a good fit for the public school system. One was quite smart (this was years ago, and I don’t know what happened to her) and the other two went to trade schools and have very productive lives. At the same time, I worked with plenty of highschool students who were completely worthless. They may have turned their lives around later, but they were much less mature as teenagers than these highschool drop-outs.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t like the idea of taking a driver’s license away from someone just because they aren’t in high school. Similarly to Lumbergh21, I have a friend who dropped out of high school for six months, after doing very poorly. He went back to school after the six months, and did extremely well. He explained to his mother that it had been boring hanging out with people who weren’t going anywhere. In other words, it was good for him to drop out, and it would have been counterproductive for society to discourage him from doing so by taking away his license. It seems to me there are probably much better ways to keep people in high school. Make it more interesting, so they want to go (I went to good private schools with teachers who taught me interesting stuff, and who I loved, as well as (just for senior year) to the school where all the Stanford University faculty brats go, which had similarly good teachers, small classes, etc. Not everyone is so fortunate.)

    • 0 avatar
      Mercury Mark 75

      To be upfront I am a public high school teacher.

      The reason that private schools can offer a good education for less money are for three reasons.

      1. They teach an academically homogenous group so you can target their needs on a whole school level.

      2. They do not offer services for students in special education. In my district the average expenditure on a student is $12,000. Their are some special needs students that are receiving $100,000 of services a year. If you excluded special education the cost of education would be much closer.

      3. Parents tend to be more involved at private schools. If you are spending your hard earned money you tend to care more about what your child is doing.

      Their are more reasons, but these are the three main reasons public schools cost more than private but get no better results.

      • 0 avatar
        chuckR

        1) Many parochial schools teach an academically diverse group that they discipline uniformly. Too bad public schools can no longer use discipline of almost any type.
        2) Many private schools try not to offer special ed services, but in my state at least, if the kid has an IEP, they have no choice.
        3) Why yes, we need to improve the parents. School is not day care. Love to know what type of incentives would work. For some parents, that might be keeping their kids from getting a license, but that is still not enough justification.

      • 0 avatar
        Lumbergh21

        1. Not necessarily true. I attended public and private schools at different times. One year I received a scholarship of sorts so my mom could afford to send me there (and I wasn’t the only one), and another year I did custodial work for the school in order to attend.

        2. My mom has taught in both private and public schools. Her most recent job was a t a private school where she had an autistic child in her class with the “normal” children. Making a blanket statement that private schools do not accept special needs children is also incorrect. By the way, their tution last year $3,600 per student. I do not know what the cost was per student in Ada county Idaho public schools for comparison.

        3. And they should be punished for this? This is also a good argument for why home schooled children will get just as good of an education if not better than public schooled children.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Some private schools may take a small number of learning disabled students, or offer scholarships to students in order to increase the diversity of the student population, but both of those groups are a relative minority in the student body.

        Logistical costs also vary wildly. The average private school student comes from a family well above the poverty line, so the school doesn’t have to subsidize school lunches or hand out nearly as many free lunches. Private schools don’t have to operate bus routes covering nearly as large a range as public schools do. If desegregation initiatives didn’t require public schools to bus kids from the suburbs into the inner city and kids from the inner city into the suburbs, a lot of money could be saved. Also, if there is a ‘special’ school for severely learning disabled or severe behavior problem kids in an area, in many cases the local district is paying to run it, at least in part. Adult education and ESL programs also often funded at least partially out of the public school budget.

      • 0 avatar
        Mercury Mark 75

        Just to answer to everyone who is saying that the US system of education is crap; when normalized for poverty we rank number one in the world in reading and science and third in math. The problem is that 20% of our schools are high poverty schools.

        Source: http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/?article=3781

        to save you some time here is the key paragraph, but I recommend that you read the whole article. It gives a good insight as to what is going on in public schools today because of political and corporate pressure.

        “To justify their campaign, ed reformers repeat, mantra-like, that U.S. students are trailing far behind their peers in other nations, that U.S. public schools are failing. The claims are specious. Two of the three major international tests—the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study and the Trends in International Math and Science Study—break down student scores according to the poverty rate in each school. The tests are given every five years. The most recent results (2006) showed the following: students in U.S. schools where the poverty rate was less than 10 percent ranked first in reading, first in science, and third in math. When the poverty rate was 10 percent to 25 percent, U.S. students still ranked first in reading and science. But as the poverty rate rose still higher, students ranked lower and lower. Twenty percent of all U.S. schools have poverty rates over 75 percent. The average ranking of American students reflects this. The problem is not public schools; it is poverty. And as dozens of studies have shown, the gap in cognitive, physical, and social development between children in poverty and middle-class children is set by age three.”

    • 0 avatar

      Doesn’t the US already spend more per student than every country on Earth except for Switzerland? 27% more per student than Germany?

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    This is a lot like suspensing driving rights for those delinquint on child support. Without a license, its increasingly difficult to get to work and without adequate transportation, one can lose one’s employment, thereby creating a situation where there is NO income from which to garnish child support. Some may say a noble intention, but an impractical, punitive, and solutionless result.

    How about offering PRACTICAL driver’s education as a means of ACCELERATING the ability to obtain full driving privilages?

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      +1000

      My kid Brother (now 33, yikes) is in exactly this situation. He is a high school dropout, but has sometimes made an OK living as a short-order cook. But with the economic down-turn, he got laid off, got behind in his payments, and Maine yanked his driver’s license. So now he is utterly screwed. he can’t afford to live in the areas where there is public transportation and/or jobs (Portland), and hitch-hiking and begging rides is not the way to a stable job in this climate. So the bill just gets bigger every month.

      I think that if you are talking about middle-class Dads with good jobs who are in a tiff with the ex and not paying, that is one thing, it is quite another to yank the license of someone who is already below the poverty line. Sad thing is that if he had custody of the kid, he would be getting all sorts of assistance. But since he is merely a cash source, he is screwed. Bad situation all around.

      While in theory I agree with the “driving is a priveledge not a right” theory, whether you have a license or not should not in any way be dependent on anything other than your driving record.

      • 0 avatar
        black turbo

        +1

        This legislation would keep my younger brother from driving. He’s one of those kids that is extremely intelligent, but finds it difficult when faced with falling into lock-step with the public school system.

        So while my brother is recently licensed and actively seeking employment in order to be a productive member of our society, the state would rather take his driver’s license, and therefore his ability to work, since he’s not going to school?

        As others have said, this has the familiar ring of the usual ‘maximize school funding at all costs’ mantra that our government has come to live (and die) by. After all, it’s for the children..

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        He’s one of those kids that is extremely intelligent, but finds it difficult when faced with falling into lock-step with the public school system.

        Life’s really going to suck for him, if he can’t even get his s*it together enough to finish high school. He’s making a really bad choice.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    I think it’s a great idea, but it doesn’t go far enough. Driving is a large responsibility, and if you aren’t responsible enough to attend school, you aren’t responsible enough to control two tons of metal at 65mph.

    As jjster notes though, just showing up does not gaurantee an education. Therefore I’d argue that all licenses for those under 18 should be made provisional. If you don’t maintain at least a passing average in your classes required for graduation, the license is suspended until you are back on track. Similarly, you don’t get to take driver’s ed or get the license until you are on track with your major classes.

    Homeschoolers do make for an interesting problem. Personally, I’m wary of homeschooling in general as most parents aren’t trained educators, and there is no gaurantee homeschooled students are receiving the same breadth of knowledge as their public or private schooled peers. I suppose it wouldn’t be hard to come up with a general knowledge and proficiency exam that homeschooled kids could take to show that they are at least on par with where students in the traditional education system.

    • 0 avatar
      Lumbergh21

      Actually, you are probably eminently qualified to comment.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I’m not sure about other states but in mine home schoolers have to pass the and those who attend the online schools have to pass the same test as students who attend public or private schools. Many school districts have home school programs for where they can go to do things like science experiments and even participate in sports and other clubs. In my sons HS we have a FIRST robotics team and we include home school students and our team is assiting them in setting up a team for their home school group.. Speaking of they have a group where they get together and share teaching plans responsibilities ect. So your concept of home schooling is a little out dated in some cases. Of course those tests have really F-up schools today as in many cases teachers teach to that test so the district and they look good not so the kids actually learn anything. In the CNN special where they followed 3 FIRST teams they spoke with a former state superintendent and he admitted that they had fixed the test so it looked like their kids actually learned something. Basically they told the public that 90% of the kids could do high school level math when the test was really only about 5th or 6th grade level.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    I think it’s a great idea, but it doesn’t go far enough. Driving is a large responsibility, and if you aren’t responsible enough to attend school, you aren’t responsible enough to control two tons of metal at 65mph.

    As jjster notes though, just showing up does not gaurantee an education. Therefore I’d argue that all licenses for those under 18 should be made provisional. If you don’t maintain at least a passing average in your classes required for graduation, the license is suspended until you are back on track. Similarly, you don’t get to take driver’s ed or get the license until you are on track with your major classes.

    Homeschoolers do make for an interesting problem. Personally, I’m wary of homeschooling in general as most parents aren’t trained educators, and there is no gaurantee homeschooled students are receiving the same breadth of knowledge as their public or private schooled peers. I suppose it wouldn’t be hard to come up with a general knowledge and proficiency exam that homeschooled kids could take to show that they are at least on par with where students in the traditional education system would be required to be at that particular point in time.

    • 0 avatar
      cmoibenlepro

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      That test is called the SATs, and homeschooled kids tend to do better than the ones that wasted a dozen years being unwilling participants in the government’s employment project for ed school majors.

    • 0 avatar
      Lumbergh21

      The three sets of parents that I know homeschool have quite intelligent children. Believe it or not, parents (particularly those that homeschool) are quite interested in their children receiving a good education, much more interested than a teacher would be. That kind of motivation can make up for a lack of training, and not all training received by teachers is good. As a matter of fact, my mom is a teacher who retires at the end of the week,a nd she can vouch that there are many teachers who are absolutely unqualified in her opinion and many more who really don’t care than to do the bare minimum to keep their jobs (which isn’t much in some jurisdictions).

      • 0 avatar

        I meant to bring up the homeschooling angle… I homeschooled from 6th-8th grade and the experience has served me incredibly well my whole life. I’d definitely oppose any legislation like this that didn’t have a waiver for homeschoolers.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        I agree that in some cases homeschooling can be effective. A parent taking an active role in their child’s education is probably the most important factor is how well that child fares in the educational system.

        There are some bad teachers, just like there are some bad policemen, doctors, accountants, or members of any other profession. Given the long hours, low pay, and beaurocratic BS that most teachers have to deal with though, I’d say that a lot of them are in the game because they care about educating their students.

        I went to a rough highschool. There were drugs, guns, thugs, etc, but also amazing opportunities to learn and enrich myself. I was lucky enough to attend HS before tracking became a dirty word, and thus being a part of the AP/honors program I was surrounded by other students who were serious about their education and who planned on attending college. My teachers were mostly veterans of the profession who had earned their place to get the most desirable classes. I had teachers who were staunch conservatives, others who were very liberal, one who was an atheist, another who was an ex-nun and still very Catholic. I had one who wrote teen romance novels, another who stocked shelves at the grocery store to earn extra cash, one who ran marathons regularly and another who built his home with his own hands. While the material that I learned might be the same as what a homeschooled student would cover, the various and contrasting points of view and life experiences of my teachers added a lot of perspective to the simple facts.

        My concern with homeschooling is that in many cases the student being homeschooled only hears things from the angle of the parent, and therefore becomes indoctrinated into that way of thinking instead of having the opportunity to see the material presented through a variety of different lenses. Again, i’m not saying this is true in every case, but especially in the situations where children are homeschooled for religious reasons, it seems that contrasting opinions are often not part of the curriculum.

    • 0 avatar
      Highway27

      A training in ‘education’ means absolutely nothing with respect to ones ability to help other people learn. And even if the parents of home-schooled children don’t know trigonometry or classical physics, that doesn’t mean they’re keeping their kids in a bubble of ignorance.

      Also, one’s ‘responsibility’ has little to do with whether they’re interested in reading Chaucer or glossing over the proximate causes of World War I.

    • 0 avatar
      ott

      Bang-on Nullo, Licensing systems like this are already in use in Europe, where a minimum grade requirement must be attained by students in order to qualify for driver’s ed. And if anyone thinks the privilege of driving/owning a car isn’t motivation enough for teenagers to do well in school, there’s always the peer factor. If a teen sees all of his/her friends taking driver’s ed and starting to drive, you can bet they will try to keep up. I would.

      • 0 avatar
        cackalacka

        Bingo. I’ll leave the ideological discussion regarding homeschooling and teachers unions aside (to say nothing of the disconnect that the public ed unions are nefariously behind this in SOUTH CAROLINA, of all places.)

        But are y’all driving on American roads here, or some mythological freeway near Galt’s Gulch? Because my commute home will be chock filled with idiots in a few moments. Hell on my commute in this morning, some teenage chickee was so engrossed in her cell phone conversation, she nearly merged daddy’s Enclave into my car on the freeway this morning.

        Anyone who has driven in ‘Yurp knows we’re far, far too cavalier with who gets the privilege to push a couple tons of steel at 70 mph. We’ve also got a solid plurality of families who are dis-interested in their kids academic success or future.

        The carrot of the privilege of driving, coupled with real instruction (and REAL license testing) would be a net positive.

      • 0 avatar
        HerrKaLeun

        where did you hear that? I got my car drivers license 1993 in Germany (moped before that) and have never ever heard of any school grade requirement. Only requirement besides passing the road and paper test and attending the classes and mandatory training drives is a clean driving record (like when you had moped license before and were speeding or drink driving before)

        Maybe you mean another country, but i really never heard of school grades having anything to do with a driver’s license.

    • 0 avatar

      We dropped out of public school because they were not teaching anything there. They were just concerned about raising good little cogs of the machine. Homeschooled kids get a better natural science education than their peers that are stuck with the la-la kumbalaya. BTW, taught our daughter to drive at 16.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckR

      -10 for the gratuitous swipe at homeschooling. I suspect the worst results produced by homeschooling parents are no worse than the results produced by many of the expensively failing urban public schools.
      Homeschooling wasn’t viable for my family. Instead, we sent two kids to grades 7-12 in private schools and spent enough to buy a damn Ferrari in order to get them a much better education than was publicly available. Public education doesn’t challenge kids, although individual teachers might, bless’em. Their stance is that they strive for acceptable grade level performance.
      What school attendance has to do with responsible driving is beyond me. If you want better trained drivers, train them, although I think it was psar who put forth some convincing arguments that that doesn’t do the trick either.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        It is not just “failing urban public schools”. My niece and nephew went to the Waldorf schools and their education seemed to be rather poor, at least when it comes to basic skills. I was appalled at some of their writing skills, and as far as math goes, forget it. They did learn to be more open-minded than most but for the cost of the schooling I’d give the Waldorf folks a D. I received a far better education at my high school, though my school was about as close to a private school that a public school can be.

        Denying a license to dropouts is ridiculous.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      +1

      • 0 avatar

        NULLMODO——-My concern with homeschooling is that in many cases the student being homeschooled only hears things from the angle of the parent, and therefore becomes indoctrinated into that way of thinking instead of having the opportunity to see the material presented through a variety of different lenses.

        I completely agree with you. Whether they are extreme right wingers or extreme left wingers or religious zealots, indoctrinating these kids and closing their minds to new methods of thinking and introspection is ultimately making America STUPID and EXTREMIST.

      • 0 avatar

        As if public schools do not indoctrinate. Laughable.

  • avatar

    The public school system is absolute bullshit. The students are unmotivated and come from shockingly negligent parentage. The teachers are being jerked around by union busting right wingers and a state administration that is busy throwing newer, more convoluted lesson plan demands from them while they aren’t busy tweeting cockphotos or touching men under public stalls. And the schools themselves are mostly underfunded and dilapidated. America is going to end up being THE DUMBEST NATION IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. Taking away driver’s licenses from kids who gave up on this pathetic situation isn’t going to help anybody. In fact, jobs they could have using their car to drive (pizza delivery for example) will only hurt them more.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckR

      Oh, please. The worst performing urban district near me spends $18K per pupil per year. Also, please take a look at the costs and performance of parochial schools and their physical plants. Then compare those physical plants to LASD’s three latest schools, which between them cost close to a billion bucks. Then compare student achievement again.

      Want to improve student performance? Improve the parents. Want to improve student age driver’s performance, improve the parents. I don’t mean their driving skills, I mean their parenting skills and willingness to set limits and impose consequences for actions. Maybe we need to take the parents’ licenses away…

      • 0 avatar

        When they talk about how much they “spend on a student per year”, one thing you need to recognie is that most of that money is on school lunches, breakfasts and meals for other programs during the day, while a large part of it is also what is spent on books (which are roughly $80 per) and energy usage costs.

        Care to break down the amount of money spent by public schools that are low bid CONTRACTS to food suppliers, Dell, Apple, etc?

        If we were really spending money on these kids wisely, America wouldn’t be STUPID. We are behind every other industrialized country in the world. Math and Science are abysmal and these kids can barely read English. Not just the kids of the illegal immigrants…the kids who are born here legally to legal parents are flunking everything too.

        And yet these IDIOTS in “education” want to start teaching lessons using cellphones because they think the kids will catch on faster? I am gonna have to move outta this country because eventually the stupidity levels will reach critical mass and a STUPID BLACK HOLE will form.

  • avatar

    As a high school dropout, my feelings on the matter obviously wouldn’t be considered to be qualified.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckR

      Thomas Edison had only a few months of formal education. He was largely home schooled. How’d he do, again?

    • 0 avatar
      MikeAR

      Was Tesla really everything he has been mythologized to be? The lone genius far ahead of his time who had his stuff stolen and ignored by people who just didn’t get it? Or was he a crank who had great ideas but couldn’t follow through? I’ve seen, read and heard about how great he was for years but it’s hard to separate the myth from the man with him.

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        It is hard to tell sometimes, and the truth is certainly somewhere in between (although Edison screwing Tesla out of $50,000, in 1908 dollars, is pretty well documented, and, well, we’re using AC for power distribution, not DC, right now), but that’s not really the point I was trying to make. Edison gets deified in the American public conciousness when in reality he was a major asshole who largely profited off of other peoples’ work, some of which was outright stolen. For instance, you can ask Georges Melies, instead, if you don’t like Tesla.

      • 0 avatar

        MikeAR

        Agreed. I’ve heard he was apeshit crazy.

      • 0 avatar
        Felis Concolor

        Considering how well the nation’s power grid has held up after decades of neglect and overloading, it is a testament to the genius and robustness of Tesla’s ideas and designs. Having worked on electrical projects involving AC and DC over the past few decades, I’m far more comfortable around AC and its inherently self-stopping design, as opposed to the truly frightening requirements for safe DC circuits in any power level greater than those used in a hand held flashlight. Gel-filled fuses to prevent arcing; large and expensive cables to minimize capacitive losses in power runs beyond a few meters; reinforced and vented concrete boxes to house battery trays and safely direct or contain the hazards of explosion, fire or flammable gas buildup are just a few of the reasons I always recommend grid-tie PV and wind projects to friends who ask about going solar, as opposed to a full off-grid battery bank system.

        It’s bad enough when you can call your car’s battery “a Hindenburg under the hood” and a metric $#!+load of them will always scare me silly, especially when used to power a motor vehicle. Even the DIY battery power vehicle kit makers are pushing AC motors for the primary drive unit as a safety and performance feature.

        Edison lived to see the 20th century but with the exception of his incandescent light bulb (and even that betrays its true purpose: first heat, then light) his ideas didn’t play much of a part in it. Tesla’s ideas are still going strong and gaining momentum, as a visit to any light bulb vendor will show. And despite being a CF and LED early adopter, I find legislating efficiency a repugnant idea.

  • avatar
    Robert Fahey

    Many dropouts would continue to drive out of sheer necessity, thereby becoming criminals AND dropouts. Down the slope we go.

  • avatar

    Abetting the death-by-1000-cuts strategy of the anti-driving forces cannot be excused. You may see a merit in squeezing “the elderly” now, but when they are done with and safely confined to public transit, the government will come for your license. There will be points and regular testing for everyone if we let this continue. For the safety of children, of course!

    Funnily enough, there is talk about removing the biennial health check for private pilots right now. Too little, too late: little airplanes in America are in a true collapse and will never recover. Don’t think that cars are safe.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      +1: The reason that you must hold the line on even seemingly-benign erosion of liberty is that the downgrade is a constant acceleration. Much like the ability to learn new things is a product of what you already know, the ability to regulate individual activity is a product of the existing regulatory establishment.

  • avatar
    Highway27

    This is the sort of regulation that has no place in society. If you want to have fewer people drop out of school, then make school more relevant, engaging, and effective. Instead, they’ve decided to attack something that represents basic freedom, and has almost no correlation to the activity that they want to promote. The ability to tolerate being in school has nothing to do with how safe ones driving is. I suspect that they are using stereotypes to cloud judgment here, since the ‘smart’ kids go on to graduate, and the ‘reckless’ kids drop out, and those reckless kids are the bad drivers. But that doesn’t mean keeping reckless kids in school will make them ‘smart’. It will just keep them where they don’t want to be, doing something they don’t want to do, and having potentially negative effects on the people who do want to be there.

    Additionally, while Ed has done a good job describing this issue, the linked article does not, choosing to focus on ‘graduation’. But then it says that the law wouldn’t apply for folks who reach 18 years old. Isn’t it the case that something close to half of the normal school population reaches their 18th birthday *before* high-school graduation? So it’s not about ‘graduation’. It’s about dropouts, like Ed says.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    Yes, let’s increase the hassle and suffering of high school drop outs. Why not make a law banning them from living within 500 feet of a school or church? That’ll really motivate them.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    This is nannyism. Pure and simple.

    I won’t even delve into how impossible this would be to enact. It would be interesting though to see how immigrants and illegal aliens would be subject to this wonderful legislation.

    Would they need to have corporations set up so that they could have said car registered in their state? Believe it or not this has taken place in the past.

    Would immigrants need to give up their evenings (what little time they have), reduce their family time, and go back to school for their GED?

    Do we really want to promote a society that promotes the belief that the only way to move forward in life is through academia? I’m sorry but many folks do fine in spite of their learning disabilities and difficult upbringings. To deprive them of a basic freedom of movement in such a car-centric society would essentially make their lives even more challenging.

    If you want to improve driver safety… make the testing rigorous and continuous. Somehow though I don’t see this as a burning issue in our society. Deaths and accidents have declined drastically through the decades and I’m not quite convinced that this was achieved through a 16 year old’s drivers exam.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The only way to move through life might not be academia, but expecting a high school education isn’t outrageous. There are also plenty of VoTech high schools in most areas of the country, so if a student isn’t planning on going to college, they can get a head start on a trade and still get the base set of knowledge that society expects them to have.

      As far as immigrants go, there’s no reason that the school aged children of immigrants shouldn’t be attending school. For adults, the point is moot, I don’t think this initiative has anything to do with those over 18 who just never graduated. As far as illegal immigrants go, personally, I don’t think they should be getting licenses at all. I’m not anti-immigration, but offering driver’s licenses, medical care, etc, to those who come here illegally is just sanctioning the activity. I’d even support an amnesty program to allow all of the current illegals in the country to register with the state, start the citizenship process, and become productive tax paying members of the community. For those that choose to continue to live under the radar though and not give back for the services they use, when they do pop up at the DMV or ER, they should be shipped right back to wherever they came from.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven Lang

        Nullo, I happen to agree with what you are saying in principle. The problem is that in practice, you have to deal with loopholes in the system. The ones related to registering vehicles can easily be enough to make this type of law irrelevant.

        You also have teenagers who sometimes need to fend for themselves. I don’t see why a kid who is already subjected to a living hell should have his opportunities restricted by a system that can’t separate the delinquent from the legitimate victim.

        Laws like this aren’t going to do a good job of dealing with these types of realities. Licensing laws should strictly be based on a person’s ability to drive and their driving behavior.

      • 0 avatar
        HerrKaLeun

        NullModo; I’m with you that ILLEGAL aliens should not get a license, just for the fact they likely don’t have insurance. (I’m German, but a legal alien…:)

        The issue of high school also would be that they needed a cutoff in age. Do they need someone at age of 30 to go back to school to get the license? Also the question of people with equivalent education that is not high school. Knowing the red tape, they only would allow a diploma that literally says “high school”. I myself have the German Abitur, a German Engineering Degree and a UW-Madison Master of engineering degree. but no single piece of paper that says “high school”. Knowing what I went through to get my PE license (since they require a bachelor degree, not a Master), I’m afraid they wouldn’t give me a a drivers license since my education doesn’t include “high school”.

        A country that follows Sarah Palin, and gets more excited about “American Idol” than the national debt doesn’t really speak for a good education system. And by education I include parents.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Steve –

        Teenagers (I’m assuming under 18 here) belong in school, immigrant (legal or illegal) or not. Our immigration laws and policies certainly have a lot of room for improvement, but for a minor illegal immigrant whose here without parents there has to be a better alternative than expecting him to work under the table forsaking an education. Yes, there are plenty of success stories from such people way back when, but times have changed considerably since the 1940s, heck, they’ve changed considerably since the 1990s. These days while it might be possible to eek out a subsistence living without any kind of documentation or education, the chances of achieving anything close to middle class are pretty slim.

        As far as actually getting a license goes, as I discovered myself FL now requires a birth certificate to obtain a license (they might accept something in lieu of this for legal immigrants with work visas, green cards, or citizenship papers, I don’t know, I never asked), even if you already have a valid license from another state. FL even requires a birth certificate to change the address on your current license (which I think is a bit extreme). With that system at least it’s pretty easy to handle the logistics – no birth certificate or other documentation stating plainly that you have a right to be here, no license.

        HerrKaLeun –

        I’m with you in that obviously an age limit needs to be set, and in this case 18 seems to make sense. If you’re old enough to vote, I suppose you are old enough to choose not to continue with an education if that is your choice. Any kind of college level degree should obviously supersede the need for a high school diploma, but again, I don’t imagine that being an issue with this kind of regulation. At least from wikipedia it looks like an Abitur is at least roughly equivalent to a high school diploma, and possibly even more advanced (maybe more like the British A-levels?). In any event, I doubt you would have any reason to worry.

    • 0 avatar
      Highway27

      The article mentions that the laws under discussion do not apply to people over the age of 18. So in the current incarnation, they are *only* targeted to people of high school age who aren’t in high school.

      They have nothing to do with the education of people, they have nothing to do with the responsibility of people, or even the ability of drivers. These laws as proposed are solely to punish those who aren’t in high school, and make a small subset of people who think they don’t belong in high school stay somewhere they don’t want to be, around people who don’t need them to be there, doing something that is of dubious value to them.

      And really, of dubious value to society. Is another 18 months of school going to transform someone who wants to drop out at 16 from a bad student to a smart one? Is it going to be the impetus to learn to read if they haven’t over the previous 10 years? Is it going to teach them some amount of social responsibility? And is it going to do that any better than experience with ‘the real world’?

      I don’t agree that ‘teenagers belong in school’. That leads to young adult warehousing. And it doesn’t make them any better or smarter when we suddenly decide at the magic age of 18 that they’re ok to be out on their own, instead of forced to go to a big government building and babysat by government employees who ostensibly have training in something different from what they’re doing.

      Students belong in school with teachers. But not every 17 year old is a student. If we’re just babysitting, that needs a lot less training.

  • avatar
    truffle_shuffle_steer

    Politician: hey guys I got another great idea to keep those annoying people that we can’t brainwash in their place- if they try to avoid the youth reprogramming programs we take away their mobility!

    Corporation: What an awesome way to continue to keep the public in our pockets! Lets do it! Quick run a billion dollars in political adds!

    Rich man: Wait so were going to get them to agree to limit the mobility of the poorest? So they’ll be even poorer and I’ll be richer by comparison?! Excellent! here’s a million dollars in funding!

    Average middle class american: Well fox news says that this “save the youth” bill is great. I don’t know why people are going on about limiting mobility- this is sbout education and saving the youth right?

    Man… this just reeks of everything that America is supposed to stand against. What the hell happened to creating a free society where everyone has the same opportunity?

  • avatar
    Mullholland

    This is a bad idea. I’m going to mashup two of the general outcomes this kind of legislation might promote. Kids will either stay in school or go to prison. Thereby keeping the state in control.
    I’m lucky. Personally, my two kids are engaged and getting a quality education at a public high school. I had this factor in mind and did my research 20 years ago when deciding where to buy a home. There have been financial and job challenges over the years but it has all worked out. My problem will be how to pay for college. There’s the real disfunctioal part of the educational system. Talk about your bubble economies. But that’s another story.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Lame. Driving is not a high priority for drop outs. Getting baked and playing video games till sunrise is. Actually my friend in high school had to drop out to help support his family including younger brothers but he saved more by taking the bus or waiting for me to pick him up. This law will do nothing as those kids with car driving ambitions also have high school graduation ambitons.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    @ 3:09 in the video, “Didn’t the Sperminator already sign into law…”
    Sorry, had to LOL. Hadn’t heard that before.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    Whatever. Today I’m reasonably successful engineer, but save for one math teacher that truly forced me to bust my rear for a lousy C, high school was an absolute waste of time. Especially senior year once I got accepted to college. Frankly, college is worthless, too, unless you choose a technical or medical profession.

    If you’re not proficient at reading, writing and arithmetic by junior high, odds are you never will be. High school social studies is laughable, and trying to teach kids about the fine arts in a confining academic environment is a disservice to the fine arts.

    So what’s the point in drafting legislation to force kids to sit a classroom they don’t want to be in, aside from wasting taxpayer dollars? Most dropouts weren’t going to amount to anything, anyway, and the rare ones that succeed probably didn’t need a high school “education” in the first place.

    • 0 avatar
      Styles79

      +1 to that, sounds similar to me, except that I did drop out and didn’t go to college, instead, those years were put into experience working and climbing the corporate ladder.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      In addition to providing an education high school is important for helping students develop a sense of responsibility. In the working world there are very real consequences for not showing up, doing your job poorly, not following the instructions of your bosses and in general acting like an anti-social jerk.

      The K-12 education system should ideally teach, in addition to the course material, a sense of respect for authority, the importance of getting assigned work done to prescribed standard inside of a alloted amount of time, the importance of timeliness and follow through on commitments, and the benefits/consequences of working constructively with others vs. acting solely for your own gain.

      Yes, it’s also important to learn critical thinking, how to think independently and non-linearly, and when it’s appropriate to question authority. However, until you have that basic understanding of what’s expected from members of a civilized society, rebelling against the system is nothing more than a whiny adult temper tantrum, and questioning authority without possessing the basic proficiency and knowledge to make an informed decision is nothing more than ignorant belligerence.

      As far as the fine arts go – everyone has to start somewhere. I know a lot of great musicians who first started playing in high school (or junior high or elementary school) band. There are plenty of painters, illustrators, sculptors, etc, who were first exposed to the craft in a school art class. A high school level art class won’t make anyone a master, but it will expose a lot of kids to a lot of different things and might make some of them decide to pursue their artistic field as a career after high school.

      High school social studies classes are limited in scope, sure, but they provide the baseline that more advanced courses can build on in college for those that go into fields where that knowledge is important. On that note, while certain college degrees may lead to greater employment opportunities, no matter what path you take the enrichment of the mind is a worthwhile goal in and of itself.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I sit here at the age of 57,a nice house,cars,wife,family. I had financially rewarding 36 years at GM. Perfect eh?

    Oh, if I could turn back the clock. The biggest,number one regret in my life, is my lack of education. I’m healthy,and I feel I still have a strong mind. Even at my age,many doors are shut,to those who don’t have high school.

    About a year ago I got to a second interview stage for a job at the GM Canada call center. I passed all the tests. I could have taught the basic auto mechanical course. I have basic knowledge of French,and can read and comprehend some,but I’m not bilingual.

    To make a long story short. The bottom line. “if your French was a little better,we could overlook your lack of a high school diploma”

    “Sorry Michael”

    I’ve heard that so many times, I’ve given up,and I’m just going to enjoy my retirement.

    My thoughts…..anything it takes to keep the kids in school is worth it.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    This would never fly in a farm state. Although it’s probably not as much the case anymore, there was a time when children of farmers were often expected to drop out of school and start helping on the farm. Also in many southern states children as young as 12 are allowed to drive on rural roads. I have grandparents in rural Oklahoma and a neighbor’s boy used to drive me all over in his dad’s truck. I was 12 he was 13 at the time.

    Besides that I’m against this for other reasons. It’s quite obvious that there are plenty of high school (and college) graduates who are absolutely terrible drivers.

    • 0 avatar
      Lumbergh21

      Absolutely. Much of this has devolved into an argument about the merits or lack thereof in the public, private, and homeschooling environments. My original point is that this has nothing to do with a person’s ability to drive. I think it is obviuos that this has everything to do with the state ensuring the kids are in public schools inorder to get more money.

  • avatar
    Gedrven

    It’s time this state and its sub-states stopped treating drivers’ licenses like negotiable commodities or waivable rights, and returned to the idea that they represent not your immigration status, your history of child support payments, your school attendance, your presence of a pulse (all you need, in some jurisdictions), but your _Ability To Drive_, nothing more, nothing less.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      An ability to drive and a right to drive aren’t the same thing. A convicted felon might be able to put five shots in the area of a dime on a target, and know every rule about firearm safety, but that doesn’t give them the right to own a gun.

      • 0 avatar
        Gedrven

        Fair enough, but the point is that the license shouldn’t reflect anything other than what’s germane to Driving, including public safety. Its presence should be an affirmative answer to the question: “Can society trust this person to drive?” The matter of what term to use to describe such a question – a right, a privilege, or an ability – is tangential and academic.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        NulloModo: A convicted felon might be able to put five shots in the area of a dime on a target, and know every rule about firearm safety, but that doesn’t give them the right to own a gun.

        The key word in your post is convicted. The person in question has been convicted of a crime, and that directly reflects on his or her fitness to own and carry a firearm.

        Dropping out of high school is dumb, but it’s not a crime, and I have yet to see where it affects driving ability.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    In general I’m against this law but for different reasons than many are stating. Plain and simple iit is the parents responsibility, unfortunately many parents today aren’t responsible. But shifting that responsibility further undermines that and we keep slipping further and further behind.

    On the other hand for drivers under 18 in my state at least there are a number of restrictions on being able to get a license and adding the requirement that they are able to show the responsibility of staying in some sort of schooling and complete the graduation proficiency exam, as lame as most of them are, isn’t that much of a stretch.

    For many kids the standard school system doesn’t work but there are alternatives in many states. Many districts have alternative high schools and more and more states have online school opportunities and if the family can’t afford a computer and internet access there are public libraries and there are some grants available for internet access and computers and/or loaner computers. http://washingtononlinehighschool.com/

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    Beginning at the beginning, keeping kids in school is one thing, and driving is another. Rules about getting a driving license should be related to safe driving – not school attendance.

    State legislators get away with this crap because 16 year olds can’t vote (and most won’t vote until at least 10 years after they are eligible). It’s up to us older folks to stand up for younger people’s rights/privileges.

    On a more personal note, my wife grew up in a 3rd world country and could not complete HS because her labor was needed on the farm. She came here -legally- in her early 30s. Should she have been denied a driving license because she had not finished HS? She was able to pass the admissions test to get into a private college and earned a degree in one of the physical sciences (For my own reasons, I don’t care to be more specific). She is now one of America’s many foreign born scientists, though she still has no HS diploma or GED.

    As an aside, it makes no sense to talk of a public school system. The US has 6,000 – 7,000 school districts. Quality varies from the very best schools on earth, to some of the worst hell-holes imaginable. Most of you pontificating on public schools really don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • avatar
    Philosophil

    I also think this kind of law is wrong-headed for a lot of the reasons noted above.

    People often learn at different rates and in different kinds of ways (e.g., books vs experience). Further, having a license is pretty much a need for many people and a basic requirement for many jobs (not to mention simple lifestyle issues like going to the store if you live in places where mass transit is not available).

    This is not to undermine the need for driver education and training, of course, but that’s a different matter.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    Here is my take. To get a license at 16, I had to prove that I was enrolled in school. Otherwise, you wait till 18. I don’t see a problem with revoking it since school is a requirement at 16. When they become 18, they can apply again.

  • avatar
    MikeAR

    I haven’t said anything about this topic yet but I don’t think it is a very good idea. But how about this for letting kids drive? I live in Arkansas. They have a hardship license program that allows 14 year olds to drive by themselves. It is supposedly restricted to kids who for whatever reasons need to get to a part time job or something and who don’t have a parent or other adult who can drive them. Guess what. in my town anyway, the streets are full of upper-middle class kids whose parents are rtying to buy the kids love driving lifted pickups and muscle cars. With the old people driving here and those 14 year olds, it’s a miracle that half the town doesn’t die in traffic accidents every year.

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