2017 Session - MONTANA 

Bad Bill Bob's Commentary on LC0162

This is not a new bill. This is the SIXTH STRAIGHT session this bill has been introduced.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
(And seven sessions TOTAL)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
If passed students will be required to stay in school until they are 18. The idea behind                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
this is that to solve the high dropout rate, all we need to do is increase the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
attendance age.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Montana is not unique in its 7-16 complusory attendance age law. Many other states                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
have a higher age cutoff of less than 17.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
It was interesting to hear comments at the 1999 hearing and committee discussion. It                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
was very apparent that this bill was not coming at the request of the teachers. Many                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
teachers had commented that they did not want students in their classrooms that                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
had no interest in school. They would only disrupt the classroom and interfer with                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
other students that wanted to learn.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
This bill will not solve the dropout rate. It will only turn the schools into holding tanks                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
for kids that do not want to be there. Thus disrupting the education of those that                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
really want to learn and enjoy school.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
In 1999 it was interesting to see that most of the proponents to this 'education' bill                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
were law enforcement folks and truancy officers. The education community did not                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
come out 'in force' to support it.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Again, the solution is to do what is now being done. Examine the program and do what                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
needs to be done to attractive interest in not dropping out. Already in MT the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
graduation rates have climbed in many districts due to changes in instruction.