Looking Ahead: Maryland’s Compulsory Age of School Attendance Rising to Support Student Success
Wicomico County Public Schools wants all
students to become college and career ready during their school years and to
enjoy that walk across the stage to receive a diploma when they’ve met
Maryland’s graduation requirements.
Right now, a small number of students choose
not to continue until graduation once they reach the age of 16. But under the
new Age of Compulsory School Attendance law (Senate Bill 362, signed into law in
2012), the age for compulsory school attendance will rise to 17 in the 2015-2016
school year, and to 18 in the 2017-2018 school year.
Students who are 14 and 15 right
9th-graders) will be required to remain enrolled in school
until they are at least 18, as they are likely to be 17 when the age rises to 17
during their junior year (2016-2017), and 18 in their senior year (2017-2018),
when the age rises to 18.
Students who are currently 13 (mostly
grades 7 and 8) or younger will be
required to remain enrolled until age 18, graduation, or an alternative
educational program or other circumstance, as detailed in SB 362.
Students who are 15 or older right now
(mostly 10th grade and above) will not be affected by the change in Maryland’s age
for compulsory public school attendance, as they will be 17 or older when the
age increases to 17 for the 2015-16 school year. They are on track to graduate
prior to the compulsory age of school attendance rising to 18 in
Maryland’s rising age for compulsory school
attendance is designed to support students in building an educational foundation
that will yield benefits for a lifetime. Students who stay in school through
graduation can take full advantage of classes, programs, extracurricular
activities and guidance that can help them be college and career
Gov. Martin O’Malley, in endorsing the
increased age for school attendance, said that dropouts in Maryland need public
assistance more than high school graduates, earn less over a lifetime, and have
poorer health outcomes than those who graduate high school (The Taskforce on
Dropout Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery, 1998). Dropouts comprised more
than 42% of those entered into the Maryland Juvenile Justice System between
school years 2007-2011 and 57.2% of adult offenders entering the Department of
Corrections in 2011 (The Task Force to Study High School Dropout Rates of
Persons in the Criminal Justice System, 2012).