Editorial: Drop Out Age

Alabama should raise the legal high school dropout rate to age 17 from 16.  Bills out of committee in both houses will do just that and we encourage legislators to vote for them.

Of course, that alone won't dig us out of the bottom ten nationally in graduation rates.

Inspiring and encouraging teachers and parents need to help as well.

Enhanced dropout prevention programs like the ones in both bills will also help.

About one of every four Alabamians does not have a high school diploma.

That hurts our state economically now and will cripple it if it continues.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates says he is terrified of our workforce of tomorrow when he compares our high schools to what he sees traveling abroad.

Former President Bill Clinton says, "where once nations measured their strength by the size of their armies and arsenals, in the world of the future knowledge will matter most."

It is past time to get serious about education in our state.