Posted by: Jennifer | December 13, 2006

treating idiots like children

The government of Ontario has decided that the only way to keep kids from dropping out of school is to punish them for doing so. What an novel concept!

Ontario teens under the age of 18 will lose their driver’s licence if they drop out of high school under a new law passed Tuesday.

The bill passed in the provincial parliament by a vote of 61-27.

Premier Dalton McGuinty said the new law tells kids it’s no longer acceptable for them to drop out of high school and hang around at the shopping mall.

[…]The law forces teens to stay in school until 18, but gives them different ways to earn their diploma through apprenticeships and co-op placements.

This is a pretty awesome idea. The only way to keep teenagers from doing something is to use the whole “stick and carrot” method — if you do something, you’ll be rewarded or punished, depending on your actions. It’s the same way you deal with pets or leaders of state. And this is a punishment that could mean the end of coolness for a teenager. Can you think of anything more important to a sixteen-year-old than the right to drive everyone they know around town?

I suppose it’s the height of hypocrisy for a former high school dropout to spout off on how the government needs to do more to keep kids from leaving school. But in my own defense, it took me only a few short months to realize that I was not going to go anywhere without at least finishing high school. A high school diploma is important currency in the world, and we should be doing more to encourage teenagers to stick with school and get that piece of paper. This is an important first step. Hopefully it will not be the last step.

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