Dropping coin

A statewide task force in Maryland recommends requiring youngsters to stay in school until the age of 18 (today's pupils can leave legally at 16). This move, promises the task force, will keep more Old Line State students from dropping out, which may or may not be true. What's jarring is that the report's recommendations are being attacked not because of their validity or soundness, but because of their potential price-tag. According to the Baltimore Sun, "Baltimore lawmakers have been pushing the change for four years, but it didn't get to a vote in the General Assembly because of concerns over what it would cost." Maryland factors dropout estimates into the amount it budgets for education; hence decreasing dropouts means increasing costs, and apparently that doesn't sell in Annapolis. What a joke! Tax-paying Marylanders should take note: Their state is opposed to keeping kids in school because, well, it's more expensive than letting them hit the streets. Sheesh.

"Dropout Rate Targeted," Baltimore Sun, Ruma Kumar, February 11, 2008