Obama makes education mandatory

Olivia Griffin, Staff Reporter

In an effort to reduce the dropout rate in the country, President Obama announced a proposal in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 24 to make attendance in school required in every state.

In 1970, the United States had the highest rate of high school and college graduation in the world. Today, America has fallen to No. 21 in high school graduation rate, and No. 15 in college graduation.

Currently, 21 states require students to attend high school until they graduate or turn 18. In the state of Texas, students enrolled in both public and private schools are required to attend school from ages 6 to 18 years old.

Education experts state that across the country, only 7 out of 10 ninth graders will eventually graduate from high school.

In addition, despite the No Child Left Behind act created by Congress a decade ago to reduce the racial gap in education, about 80 percent of white and Asian students graduate from high school, while only 55 percent of blacks and Hispanics graduate.

To fight this current crisis in education, many education reformers are focusing their efforts on high school students by replacing large high schools with smaller learning communities where poor students can receive more individualized instruction from teachers.

Alternatively, numerous experts who have done extensive research claim that the effort should be focused on preschool-age children. They suggest that preschool and early elementary age children should be attending preschool programs, where they are fed and taught in small groups, followed up with home visits by teachers and group meetings of parents. In addition, the education reformers are hoping to change schools nationwide by reducing class size in the early grades and increasing teacher salaries for kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers.