Students who drop out of high school may find it more difficult than ever to get a job in Texas if the state’s education chief Robert Scott has his way.

Scott reportedly asked a leading business group to help with the plan by implementing a voluntary restriction against hiring school-age dropouts.

Some educators have pointed out that banning employees from giving jobs to younger drop-outs would force the students to either return to school or to continue their education through alternative programs such as online classes.

Gainesville Independent School District Superintendent Bill Gravitt said he is well aware of the proposal and isn’t sure it’s a good idea.

“You have to ask yourself, ‘What are these kids going to do? It is another way of trying to get the students back into school, but it could have another consequence. The students could leave the state looking for employment. Living this close to Oklahoma, we have a lot of young people going there anyway,” he said.

Dropouts are always a concern for educators, he noted.

“It’s a really difficult situation. I don’t blame it all on the kids. I think teachers are doing a great job. We’ve got some problems, and it’s not just at the local level. It’s state and nationwide,” Gravitt said.

He also pointed out that in some cases, students who can leave school without consulting anyone, even their parents.

“Once kids turn 18 they can drop out without parental notification,” he said.

A Texas Education Agency report recently stated that 88 percent of Texas high school students graduate.

But some have questioned the TEA’s dropout reporting methods.

Texas Association of Business president Bill Hammond told the Dallas Morning News, he believes the dropout rate is much higher than the 12 percent reported by the TEA.

“Nobody believes the number the agency has calculated,” he said.

Dropout rates are important for other reasons.

The agency uses graduation rates when it determines how well as district is performing.

A 75 percent graduation rate is required in order for schools to receive a rating of “acceptable.”

Gainesville High School staff recently found out the school received a rating of “academically unacceptable.”

See a elsewhere in today’s Register to find out more about TEA ratings and the district’s response to them.

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