Keeping teenagers in school is a goal of North Carolina legislators. They want students to get a diploma. That's why a bill in the House aims to raise the minimum drop-out age to 18. More than 22,000 North Carolina high school students dropped out during the 2005-2006 school year. That's the third consecutive year dropout rates have increased in the state. Ashley High School principal James McAdams said, "They just come in and sign out with their parents and that's all they have to do. We try to talk them in to at least going to the local community college so that they can have an opportunity to get a high school diploma." McAdams thinks raising the high school dropout age to 18 would help students who want successful careers in today's world. "They need a better education," McAdams said. College student Oneaka Moore said, "If you want finer things in life, you just have to have goals and set to achieve them." Moore says most of her cousins dropped out of high school. "That's something they have to deal with for the rest of their lives, and it's affecting them, and I'm quite sure that if they could do it all over again now, they would." North Carolina's dropout rate last year was the highest it's been in four years, and the increase in the number of male dropouts was more than twice that of females. McAdams says upping the age will get students closer to graduation since most seniors are already 18. "I don't think a lot of students will drop out that close to graduation," McAdams said. McAdams says it's important for students who drop out to at least attend a community college. If lawmakers pass the bill it would take effect July 1, 2008.
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