Legislator flunks with effort to tie school attendance to driver’s license

The South Carolina Legislature is looking to become the latest state linking the right to drive for a person 16-18 years old with whether they’ve stayed in school.   The Digitel reports that:

A new bill proposed by freshman lawmaker Rep. Tom Young and co-sponsored by 45 House members would punish teens who drop out of school or habitually skip their classes by taking their drivers license away until they’re 18.

Young is calling the bill “a short-term solution to the state’s long-term problem of too many students not graduating.”

At least 20 states have passed similar laws, but a House Education panel postponed voting on the bill last week stating that too many questions remain.

It’s good that they’re asking questions. Several points came to mind for me: 

In most states, by dropping out after age 16, they’d be doing something legal, although I’m not sure if the action requires a parent’s consent. Ultimately, it should be left up to the parent whether they want their child up to age 18 to continue in school or drop out. So if you’re wanting to insure that students all graduate, then make the compulsory age of attendance up to 18 and don’t link school attendance with getting a driver’s license. There’s no logical legal connection. If a parent wants to take away a child’s driving rights for disciplinary reasons, they’re free to do that at any time. The state shouldn’t have the same leeway just because the young person is doing something the state doesn’t approve of but that also is not related to their ability to drive safely on government streets.

This seems to be simply another way for the state to secure its monopoly on education and its control of individuals. Callers to the Don and Roma Show on WLS-AM, where I heard about the proposal Monday morning, emphasized that we have to do something to improve the education of our children and keep them attending school longer. The problem is most kids do graduate from high school, but that doesn’t seem to help matters at all. That’s because our public schools are failures. Keeping students in them a year or two longer isn’t going to help the U.S. public education system–or help the children. While I prefer that young people get a 12-year education through either home schooling or a private school, I have no problem with them dropping out and trying to learn on their own through working in the real world. This is how things in our society worked before the “teen-ager” was invented. People went from being children to being adults through the acceptance of responsibility for their lives.

Enough mandates, already.

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More on public education

Voddie Baucham posted this recently about public education (emphases mine):

Education is discipleship; whomever we allow to educate our children is discipling our children.  “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40 ESV). 

If I knew for a fact the school down the street could ensure better test scores for my children, I still wouldn’t give them my children!  I am commanded to bring my children up in the nurture and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4), and to do so by teaching them God’s statutes when I sit in my house, when I lie down, when I rise up, and when I walk along the way (Deut. 6:7).  I am also admonished not to place myself, or by extension my children, under false teaching (Col. 2:8), or to expose them to teaching that undermines God’s Law (Matt. 5:17-20).  Instead, I must teach them to “take every thought captive” (2 Cor. 10:5), to refuse to be “conformed to the pattern of this world” (Rom. 12:2), and meditate on God’s Law day and night (Ps. 1:2). 

Yes, the academic argument is a potent one.  However, it pales in comparison to the biblical/theological argument for Christian discipleship through education.  Still, one wonders how any parent who truly loves his or her child and wants the ‘best’ for them could look at a study like this and still drop them off at the local government indoctrination center later this month.  But anyone who has been engaged in this discussion longer than a few days knows exactly what the answer to this charge will be… “OUR SCHOOLS ARE DIFFERENT!” (I even heard this argument from a woman in a school district in Georgia that had lost it’s accreditation!)

Parents do love their children.  Unfortunately, many parents are simply misinformed, and quite inert when it comes to the education question.  Prayerfully, studies like the “Progress Report” and updates like “The Continuing Collapse” will open a few more eyes.  In fact, I have met and/or corresponded with at least half a dozen families this summer who decided to leave government schools as a result of information they have received from these and other sources.  It seems there are some minds ready to “unplug from the Matrix” after all.

The study he refers to in the third paragraph is here.