Unless the law is changed, high school students can't be required to go to school beyond the age of 16. As such, the dropout problem is unlikely to improve.
What students really need is motivation. Telling a potential dropout that he or she will make more money over a lifetime with a high school degree than without one doesn't address his or her need for immediate gratification.
What should be tried is paying students to attend after their 16th birthday. How about $100 a week, paid only on Monday mornings following a week in which they have attended all of their classes, completed all of their assignments and participated in a meaningful way with a community service organization?
Some of this money would come from not hiring administrators at $700-$800 a day (salary and benefits) to knock on doors, as the Central Unified School District recently did. The rest would ultimately come from lower costs associated with the juvenile justice system and the Department of Corrections.
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We must starting thinking out of the box.
David Paul Davenport