A bill that would increase the state's school legal dropout age to 18 was recently introduced in the Michigan Senate.
The bill (Senate Bill 522), sponsored by Sen. Alma Wheeler Smith, D-Ann Arbor, would amend the state law that allows students to drop out when they are 16. The bill is opposed by Gov. John Engler, who told The Detroit News that raising the dropout age does not address the problems of kids who want to leave school. Engler spokesman Matt Resch told The News that schools should focus on improving early education so that teens want to remain in school.
"If kids are getting the education they need, they won't be thinking about dropping out of school when they're 16," Resch said.
At least six states have considered increasing their dropout age within the last year, and New Mexico recently raised the age from 16 to 17, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Michigan is among 32 states that allow students to leave school at 16.