Jack Hatch, the Democratic candidate for governor, says it’s time to change state law and require 16, 17 and 18 year olds to stay in school.
“Why would we give up on this age group?” Hatch says. “And what happens when they quit high school? They join an undistinguished pool of 40,000 unemployed Iowa adults that don’t have their high school education.”
Current Iowa law requires children to be enrolled in school from the age of six until they reach 16. Hatch says it’s no longer acceptable to let Iowa teenagers drop out of high school.
“You need a high school education diploma or an equivalent degree to apply for the global jobs that are in front of our advanced manufacturing, information technology or financial services industries of this state,” Hatch says.
Hatch says if he’s elected governor, he’d support increased state funding for alternative high schools that help drop-outs get their GED.
“We will not give up on those kids quitting school,” Hatch says.
The state law governing school attendance also stipulates that high school drop-outs cannot get a full driver’s license until they reach the age of 18. Sixteen-year-olds can be required to stay in school until the spring if their 16th birthday is on or after September 15.