“I don’t want to pay taxes.”

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His name is “Emilio” — name changed to protect the guilty.

Emilio explained to me that he wanted to drop out of school. He does not like school. (Legally he could drop out at any time. He is seventeen.) But then, he explained, he would have to go to work and pay taxes. Well, he doesn’t want to work and pay taxes. Given that he has no good options, in his view, he is staying in school, the lesser of two evils.

He’s a likable kid but sometimes trouble for a classroom. Actually, he’s better behaved than most students without goals, but he doesn’t care much if he passes. Failure’s a bit embarrassing, but if he fails, he can stay in school longer. So he models laziness and off-task behavior for the classroom.

There’s something so wrong with this picture.

Eduhonesty: If a kid reaches the point where there’s no way that he or she can get enough credits to graduate in the legally allotted time for high school, that kid should be forced out of school. It takes a lot of off-task behavior to fail classes nowadays, behavior that is frequently disruptive to the education of more serious students.

We have students who are seventeen who still only have the credits of a freshman or sophomore. They interfere with other students learning while refusing to learn for themselves. These students need to be expelled.