Gov. Lynch Applauds Senate for Passing Legislation Aimed at Increasing NH ' s Graduation Rate

From The Office of Governor John Lynch

CONCORD - Gov. John Lynch today applauded the state Senate for its strong vote in support of legislation aimed at increasing New Hampshire ' s high school graduation rate.

As part of an overall statewide strategy to increase New Hampshire ' s high school graduation rate, Gov. Lynch, and a bipartisan coalition of legislators, proposed the legislation increasing New Hampshire ' s compulsory attendance age from 16 to 18. The bill, SB 268, passed on a voice vote. It will now go to the Senate Finance Committee.

" For our state to compete and for our children to succeed, more young people must graduate from high school. Last year an estimated 2,300 of our students dropped out of high school. We must make it clear to our young people that we are not going to give up on them, or let them give up on themselves, " Gov. Lynch said. " We must change the law and require our children to stay in school until age 18.

" I thank the state Senators for supporting this important legislation and helping us move forward toward reaching our goal of making sure every New Hampshire child receives a high school diploma, " Gov. Lynch said.

" Increasing the compulsory attendance age to 18 is a critical first step in an overall strategy to dramatically cut our dropout rate. It forces all of us - parents, teachers, elected officials, students, business and community leaders - to work together to make sure our schools work better for all of our students. And this legislation gives us a deadline we have to meet, " Gov. Lynch said.

The legislation would go into effect in the 2008-2009 school year.

On Monday, Gov. John Lynch brought 250 people together - including educators, business people, community leaders, law enforcement and elected officials - for a statewide summit in Concord to discuss strategies for not only keeping New Hampshire ' s young people in school, but making them want to be in school. The Department of Education is writing a report on the recommendations of the summit, which will be used to help implement additional measures to help young people stay in school.

In a recent report, the Gates Foundation, a leader in high school reform and education efforts, recommended increasing compulsory attendance ages as part of efforts to increase high school graduation rates.
In a statement released Monday, John Bridgeland, author of the study, The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Dropouts, said:

" Governor Lynch is showing terrific leadership in ensuring that state law is consistent with our financial and moral commitment to educate young people through the 12th grade and in bringing leaders across the state together to discuss how we can support these young people, offer them a variety of options to keep them engaged in school, and increase graduation rates. "

The sponsors of the legislation are Sen. Dick Green, Sen. Iris Estabrook, Sen. John Gallus, Sen. Sylvia Larsen, Sen. Maggie Hassan, Sen. Bob Odell, Sen. Lou D ' Allesandro, Sen. Andy Martel, Sen. Joe Foster, Sen. David Gottesman, and Representatives Ken Weyler, Rep. Jim Craig, Rep. Steve L ' Heureux and Rep. Clare Synder.