HB 216 (Greer), which would phase in raising the mandatory high school attendance age to 18, passed the House education committee today. The bill now moves on to be heard on the House floor. The legislation was championed in the committee hearing with testimonies from First Lady Jane Beshear, Commissioner of Education Dr. Terry Holliday and Associate Commissioner of the Department of Juvenile Justice Hasan Davis. They, like the Chamber and many other groups, support this legislation because of the devastating impact dropping out of high school can have on a person’s life.
Various studies show that people who do not graduate from high school earn far less money than those who do graduate, are more likely to commit violent crimes and are more likely to depend on social programs and government aid. It is estimated that approximately 6,000 students drop out of school each year in Kentucky, roughly 25% of students. The Chamber feels the state and business community are better served for their tax dollars to be invested on the front end of a child’s life and go towards producing a qualified workforce rather than aiding these individuals with government assistance down the road. The Chamber looks forward to seeing this bill move forward and will keep you up to date on its progress.