Brown Center on Education Policy
August 1, 2012

New Paper: Compulsory School Attendance

What Research Says and What It Means for State Policy


During his 2012 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama offered several recommendations on education policy, including one specifying that all states increase the age of compulsory school attendance to 18.  Approximately 25 percent of public school students in the U.S. don’t obtain a regular high school diploma, a tragedy for them and a heavy burden for the nation and the communities and states in which they live. Certainly, America needs to address this problem, but is raising the compulsory school attendance (CSA) age a viable solution?

In a new paper, Russ Whitehurst and Sarah Whitfield perform original analysis to investigate if CSA ages actually affect graduation rates. They also address the root causes of high dropout rates, successful solutions and evaluate the additional costs for schools if CSA age is increased.

Read more and download the paper »


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