Plans in place to curb school dropouts - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Plans in place to curb school dropouts

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The school year is in full swing with Guam's students heading back to class. But one problem remains: kids dropping out of school. And efforts are underway hoping to prevent that issue from growing.

"I see these impulsive decisions being made every single day, I can say with my utmost confidence that a 16-year-old is not prepared at all to make the kinds of decisions that affect his or her life," said John Camacho. It's a decision that Camacho, a longtime educator, says is hurting our youth.

The McCool Middle School guidance counselor says he supports newly introduced legislation that would allow students to make better decisions and think critically about their lives ahead. "I don't think I have a single friend who didn't regret dropping out now that they're 22, 23, 24, 30," he added.

"They've grown, they've matured and mentally they're in a better state or better positioned state to recognize those differences."

According to the Guam Department of Educaton, 9,312 students have dropped out of high school since 2011. Though the dropout rate has slightly decreased over the years, a measure has been introduced hoping to stop teens altogether from leaving the classroom. Senator Joe San Agustin has crafted legislation, bill 159, that would keep students in school until they reach 18. Currently, students are allowed by law to decide whether they want to finish school at age 16.

Others like Guam Community College Instructor Jean Cepeda say some students just need a better understanding of why education is so important. "What are you going to do at 16 years old? The extra two years is an extra two years of education, it's an extra two years of learning how to be an adult hopefully, and it's probably going to be an extra few dollars per hour to be an 18 year old versus 16," she said.

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