Raising Illinois’ dropout age for high school students doesn’t necessarily mean kids will stay in school, according to one person in the education community.  Illinois Federation of Teacher’s president Dan Montgomery says it’s a noble goal, but just because you change the legal dropout age from 17 to 18 doesn’t mean kids are going to listen. “I think we feel you may have to think about that one,” Montgomery said. “Legislating it is not going to necessarily keep kids in school. It’s about resources.” Montgomery says he realizes the state is on hard times economically, but says schools need proper funding.


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The governor has followed the president’s lead in calling for change to the dropout age. He wants to raise it from 17 to 18. The State Board of Education believes that would lower dropout rates in Illinois, which are about 2.7 percent today. Illinois students used to be able to drop out at 16, until lawmakers upped the age by a year in 2005.

Meanwhile, Montgomery is pleased with what the governor has done to help save and expand the MAP grant program, which helps low-income students with college tuition.

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