Obama’s School Attendance Mandate Is A Sop To The Teachers Unions

One of the most eyebrow-raising moments of Obama’s state of the union address last night (outside of proposing a defacto nationalization of higher education) is his call for a federal mandate for high school attendance until graduation or the age of 18.

“We also know that when students aren’t allowed to walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma,” said the President during the speech. “So tonight, I call on every State to require that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn eighteen.”

In a perfect world, everybody would graduate from high school and go on to a life full of prosperity. As a practical matter, mandating attendance is problematic for a lot of reasons. First, you can’t force kids to learn. Education is a two way street, and it’s a waste of time and money to try and educate a student who is intent on resisting it or being disruptive in class. It also does a disservice to other students stuck in the same class with such students.

Such a mandate isn’t good for the taxpayers, and it certainly isn’t good for education policy as a whole. But one group of people it is good for are the teacher unions. According to Bloomberg, this sort of a mandate would mean at least another $1 billion per year in education spending (take that, budget deficit!) most of which would no doubt to go hiring teachers and other education personnel who would pay a lot of dues to teacher unions who, in turn, will contribute a lot of money to re-electing Democrats.

So it’s not so much about good education policy as it is about feeding tax dollars to the liberal election machine.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Davoarid

    It’s a conspiracy!

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      No, not a conspiracy, a rather transparent move to set policy that is more to the benefit of students than teachers.

      • Davoarid

        Students get all the breaks.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          The students are the reason why we have the schools.

  • headward

    College isn’t for everybody.  Neither is (worthless) high school.

  • Wesbutte

    Another mandate????   The federal government has absolutely no business in education.  Education belongs to the state and to the local school board.     Obama needs to shut the eff up.

  • Fredlave

    Socialism always ends in tyranny. Keeping children in school until they are eighteen gives the incompetent teachers people to babysit.

  • donwalk

    H-m-m-m-, and if the teenagers refuse to attend, of which there are thosands already refusing what happens to them?
    Do they or their parents ge fined, such as individuals will that cannot afford or that just plain refuse to purchase health insurance?
    OR
    Does government or the teacher’s union hire an additional 16,000 enforcement officers to track them down and chain them to their desks also?
    As usual, all headlines with no meat or practicality from B.O.

    • Obamapoop

      Here in Jacksonville you can be fined $300 dollars after warning and can be made to attend a parenting class with your child. So, for a parent who has a 8-10 hour a day job who cannot sit on their teen all day or afford a nanny to do so, you get fined and have to take off work to go to a worthless parenting class. It gets worse. My wife and I would deliver our teens to the school, watch them walk into the classroom and then the school would call us asking where the kids went? They would walk right off campus in broad daylight. We skipped when I was a teen but it was hard to do so once you got onto school grounds.

  • DopeyDem

    Perfect. Now you can have twenty-five year old “kids” still in high schrewel and on their parents health insurance and getting 3 free meals a day at the taxpayer’s expense. They would be voting Democrat though so it’s all good. Oh did I mention the free birth control as well?

    • Obamapoop

      Don’t sweat it with Michelle’s new diet for the masses at least the adult child will not be obese.

  • http://enigma-cypher.blogspot.com/ Enigma_Cypher

    The Constitution does not give the federal government any power to meddle in education.

    • Obamapoop

      Hey embezzlement is illegal too but I don’t see anyone enforcing it in Washington.

  • Wesley Fargo

    Defiantly a pro teachers union jobs bill, the drop out rate in the minority communities is outrageous, so we could hire a bunch of staff to babysit their children, coach them into showing up, tutoring to catch them up after they cut for a week, then maybe, hire some additional staff to track their progress to see if this new program is working, and on and on it goes.  

    Or we could slash the welfare society, And setup adult ed programs that require work / study in order to participate. So that the students would have to help clean the school to learn skills they need to get a real job and feed their families

    Oh yes, we should also figure in free breakfast for those students still “up” after parting all night, as one can build up a pretty good set of munchies by 7:30 am. 

    I wonder if the cafeteria should be open till 10:30 for some of the poor dears who can’t seem to get up for class but are required to be in skule.  “they can’t learn on an empty tummy now can they?”

    Required till 18, why not like the above poster mentioned, require till age 26, that should help higher ed labor unions too!  Those that graduate early just have to get and advanced degree or second major.

    Yep that works…

  • Obamapoop

    As a parent of teens, making them go to school is easier said than done. Just making a kid go to school is no prediction of graduation, of course now they are handing out certificates of completion, which is of no value. Why would a kid need to sit in a school earning a worthless document that proves they were forced to stay breathing in a building for 12 years?

  • Obamapoop

    Let me add something else. In retrospect for me I should have dropped out of school with a GED. I currently have a BS in computer science and am doing well but for me high school was a waste and I did not have the GPA back then for it help me get accepted into college anyways. I should have joined the USMC 2-3 years earlier with an age waiver.

    • m³shelly

      I agree.  I nearly dropped out of high school cause it was a waste of time… teaching simple agebra to seniors.  I was lucky enough to get a diploma, but that didn’t help me get into the specialized engineering school I wanted to attend three years later.  I ended up waiting a year and re-applying, finally getting in as a freshman at the age of 21.  Probably because I wanted to attend a private college, and they knew it would be tough on a public school diploma.  I eventually caught up and graduated, but public schools do not teach the necessary subjects for tough, competitive private colleges.

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