Delaware Lawmakers Eye Raising Dropout Age to 18 - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Lawmakers Eye Raising Dropout Age to 18

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State Rep. Tim Dukes (R-Laurel). State Rep. Tim Dukes (R-Laurel).

DOVER, Del. -- Delaware lawmakers have introduced a bill that would raise Delaware's dropout age to 18 years old.

House Bill 55 was introduced Wednesday and, if passed, would increase the age for mandatory attendance in Delaware from 16 to 18. The move would occur over a two-year period and students would be offered alternative paths toward obtaining a degree.

Rep. Tim Dukes (R-Laurel) had proposed a bill that would have raised the drop out threshold to 17 years old, but tabled it during an House Education Committee hearing because he is supporting HB 55. He said his bill would remain as a potential backup plan, should Rep. Debbie Heffernan's bill fail to receive enough support.

"This raises the bar, gives another year, possibly two years in that process. Hopefully something will click so they can continue school," he said.

Delaware's high school dropout rate was 2.1 percent in the 2013-2014 school year.

Tina Pinkett, an assistant principal at Dover High School, said she thinks the bill could be helpful because it can already be difficult to identify the cause of why a student drops out.

Some students leave school because of an issue at home or needing to work to support family or someone else, though Pinkett said she and other educators try their hardest to keep kids in the education system so they can be successful in life.

"Every child that walks through this door, that's our future and I'm invested in our future," she said. "That's why I'm here."

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