Just days after President Barack Obama called for states to raise the minimum age at which students can drop out of high school, Gov. Pat Quinn is preparing to align the president's home state with that goal.
Quinn will propose legislation that would raise the minimum attendance age of Illinois high school students to 18 during his annual State of the State address next week, according to a release issued by the governor's office Friday.
"Every child in Illinois deserves a quality education that will serve them throughout their lives," Governor Quinn said in the release. "The best way to ensure that our children have the chance to achieve and succeed is to make sure they stay in school long enough to earn their diploma."
In Illinois, one of 29 states that currently allows students to drop out of high school before they are legally adults, students can withdraw themselves from high school once they turn 17. New standards defining high school graduation applied in October found 75 percent of Illinois high schools had lower graduation rates than they had previously reported, and statewide exams have charted a downward trend in student performance in recent years.
In his address, President Obama advised that increasing the high school graduation rate is positively linked to higher earning potential, stronger economies and lower crime rates.
"When students don't walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma," Obama said during his State of the Union speech Tuesday. "When students are not allowed to drop out, they do better."