All students should have the opportunity to access a quality education and earn a high school diploma. Many states have raised the minimum age at which students may drop out of high school. While a well-meaning policy, the research is inconclusive whether mandatory attendance actually increases the graduation rate.
Attendance does not equal engagement. Though such a law may encourage some students to stay enrolled longer, there are no provisions that would support disengaged students.
A more proactive approach may be to identify warning signs of dropout and craft intervention approaches around them. Schools with at-risk students should implement systems that promote good attendance, behavior, effort, and academic performance.