Staying in School until 18 – No

Forcing students to stay in school until they are 18 years of age is part of why the education systems in North America are experiencing so many problems.  Children in many parts of Canada and the United States are forced to “stay in school” until they become legal aged adults, even if the students have no interest in being there.  Some children have a larger destiny than just sitting in a four walled classroom and being forced to study information that they may never use in their daily lives once school is over is not helpful to them.  Children should not have to wait until they are 18 years of age before they can take steps to pursue a career that they are qualified for.  Many children work as child actors, models, Olympians in training, child journalists and more.  If these children were forced to delay pursuing their individual destinies due to being forced to stay in school, these children could end up resenting the education system when they become adults. 

Students living in other parts of the world are only usually only required to attend school up until the ages of 16 or 17 at the MOST.  By the age of sixteen, some people have a strong sense of who they are and what they want to become.  Forcing these confident young people to “stay in school” until they turn 18 could actually be deterring them from achieving their career and life goals.  While it is true that not every 16 year old is completely confident about their career path, there is no reason to force ALL 16 year olds to stay in school longer than they need to be there.  The best ways to figure out what kind of career to pursue are through education AND experience, not ONLY through education.  

In Caribbean countries it is common to graduate high school by the age of sixteen. Children typically start high school at the age of eleven because there are no grades 7 and 8 after primary school.  Despite finishing high school two years earlier than North American students, Caribbean students still acquire the same knowledge and the educational standards are of high quality.  North American schools teach plenty of subjects and grades that are useful, but grades 7 and grades 8 are very unnecessary and could certainly be eliminated.  The course material covered in grades 7 and 8 could be covered in the earlier grades and students could graduate high school earlier and get on with their lives.

Every person is different and education is not a one size fits all success story.  College is not for everyone, working at a trade is not for everyone and being a stay at home parent is not for everyone.  Schools try to provide the “same” education to all of the students attending, but not all students are going to make use of all of the mandatory subjects they need to study.  Some students are disruptive and cause drama for other students in attendance, and public school officials do little to intervene because they want every student to have the “right” to receive an education, even if other students are suffering from being bullied, harassed and distracted from learning in the classroom. 

Education can be acquired in many different ways through private schooling, homeschooling, public schooling and through experience.  The child actor who learns the importance of being accountable and responsible on the job is receiving a different TYPE of education but they are learning techniques and information that they should not have to wait until they turn 18 to learn.  Students who are able to accelerate their learning by graduating high school early or taking high school equivalency tests to get their GED certificates should be given the free choice to do so.  Students should not be forced to attend school until they are 18 because education comes in different forms besides sitting in a four walled classroom for 8 hours per day.