Some of the 17-year-old students who drop out of school have academic, health or family problems.
Some of them have jobs, car payments and children. They see little advantage to being in school.
But school is just where they need to be if they hope to cope with problems, get better jobs, pay their bills and care for their children.
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South Carolina legislators are being asked to approve a bill in this session to raise the legal dropout age to 18 — similar to a previous bill that died in a committee. They shouldn’t ignore it again. …
Currently 24 states and the District of Columbia have a dropout age of 18. In 11 states, the age is 17 and in 15 states, it’s 16.
In 2012, President Barack Obama called on states to raise the dropout age to 18. And the National Education Association thinks the age should be 21, but that’s unrealistic.
The more education students get, the better prepared they will be for life — including those 17-year-olds for whom life is already overwhelming.
And the more productive the adults in South Carolina are, the better it will be for all.
Post & Courier
The headlines from the road are focusing on gasoline prices and how low they may go. Sadly, the bigger story is traffic fatalities — and how high they will go.
The year 2015 was horrific on the roads and highways of South Carolina.
The preliminary numbers from the S.C. Department of Public Safety show an increase of more than 15 percent in deaths for 2015 over 2014. In real numbers — real lives — that is 129 more people killed. The total number of deaths stands at 952, compared to 823 in 2014. …
And mirroring the trend from previous years, nearly half of those killed in motor vehicles as of Dec. 28 (320) were not wearing seat belts. That statistic is particularly relevant because research shows nearly half of those who died while not wearing seat belts would be alive today had they buckled up. In real lives, that is 160 people who did not have to die.
Times & Democrat
Agree or disagree with her tactics, Gov. Nikki Haley on Wednesday night made a strong statement about the need for South Carolina lawmakers, particularly senators, to finally pass meaningful ethics reform in 2016.
In the middle of her State of the State address, Haley asked senators to show their support for greater ethical accountability.
Haley justifiably expressed exasperation over the Senate’s continuing failure to pass meaningful ethics reform. “Last year I told you I didn’t know what else to say about ethics reform,” she said. “Yet here we are again.”
She listed the two main priorities as requiring public officials to disclose the sources of their income, and having independent investigations of legislators rather than having legislators investigate their own colleagues.
She then asked senators to stand if they supported each of these issues.… Yes, there is a reasonable argument that the State of the State is not the proper venue for political grandstanding and that Haley was out of line to use this tactic.
But there’s a stronger and more compelling argument — bolstered by the number of ethical problems elected officials in this state have faced in recent years — that justifies Haley using this forum to call out lawmakers who have repeatedly refused to pass ethics reform that is perfectly reasonable and offers real protections to the people who put those lawmakers in office, pay their salaries and rely on their integrity.