Inspired by the likes of Dean Wormer, the Iowa House Education Committee has decided to amp up the vice grips on high school drop outs by proposing a nonbinding bill that would make it illegal to drop out of high school before turning 18 (HF 6). Currently, Iowa students must stay in school up until they turn 16 – or else! Or else…you know what…! The bill is nonbinding, because the bill does not contain a penalty for dropping out -- other than the implicit penalty of having to face a treacherous lifetime of paying LESS in taxes than a high school graduate. I’m sure this will make a great selling point to aspiring drop outs:
High School Guidance Counselor: If you decide to drop out, not only will your life be a living hell, but you also won’t get the opportunity to pay more taxes. Now think about it. Is this the kind of life you want to live? Huh, is it?
But the bill is not altogether about what’s best for the students, especially if you were to ask Legislative Services Agency analyst Dwayne Ferguson: “A high school graduate will pay an estimated $8,600 more in taxes than a high school dropout over a 45-year work life…”
The big question is who’s going to teach the would-be dropouts? Answer: If Governor Culver signs this bill into legislation, it’s only fitting that he should teach these kids. After all, he'll be the first to tell you that he's the only sitting Governor who has been inside the classroom during the last twenty years.
"Welcome Back (Mr. Culver)" by John Sebastian
Welcome back, Your dreams were your ticket out.
Welcome back, To that same old place that you laughed about.
Well the names have all changed since you hung around,
But those dreams have remained and they're turned around.
Who'd have thought they'd lead ya (Who'd have thought they'd lead ya)
Here where we need ya (Here where we need ya)
Yeah we tease him a lot cause we've got him on the spot, welcome back,
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back...
1st Compulsory Class of ’11: Freddie “Boom Boom" Washington (left row), Arnold Horshack (front row), Vincent “Vinnie” Barbarino (back row), Juan Epstein (right row)
First Day of School at West Buchanan High School: Civics 101
(Students strut into class as their teacher, Mr. Culver, finishes writing “Civics 101” on the chalkboard.)
Mr. Culver: Welcome, class. Welcome back to school. I would like to start off by letting you know that while you’re in here, there is no such thing as a stupid question. So, do any of you have any questions?
Horshack: (arm shoots up with dramatic flair) Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Ooh, Mr. Culver?!!!
Mr Culver: Yes Arnold?
Horshack: (lowers hand and ponders as if lost in thought) Ummm….
Mr. Culver: What is it Arnold?
Horshack: I don’t know.
Washington: (shows off slick smile) Mr. Cul-ver—
Mr. Culver: Yes Boom-Boom?
Washington: How come we gotta be here?
Mr. Culver: Good question, Mr. Washington. (Turns to write on board while rest of classmates high five him for his “good question.” Mr. Culver writes “C-O-M-P-U-L-S-O-R-Y E-D-U-C-A-T-I-O-N” across the chalkboard.) Can anyone tell me what compulsory education means?
Horshack: (Hand defiantly raised) Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!
Mr. Culver: (reluctantly) Yes Arnold?
Horshack: (pauses) I don’t know.
Washington: Is that when we gotta go to school, ‘cuz the Man says we gotta go?
Mr. Culver: That’s one way of looking at it, Boom Boom, but—
Washington: --But I thought you was the MAN, Mr. Culver?
Mr. Culver: Well yes, I am the MAN, Washington, but it’s the law that –
Epstein: Mr. Culver, I got a note for you. It’s from my mother. (He walks up to Mr. Culver and hands him the note.)
Mr. Culver: (reads note aloud) Please excuse Juan from school this year. He has a rare disease that only gets worse when he’s in school. Signed: Epstein’s Mother. Rare disease? Do you mean, Senioritis, Juan?
Epstein: Yeah, that’s it. That’s just what the doctor said, Senioritis. So if you don’t mind, I’ll be heading out to go get my medicine –
Mr. Culver: Epstein, you have to earn enough credits to become a senior before you can actually get Senioritis. (Other students collectively Oooooo…as Epstein takes his seat.)
Barbarino: (completely perplexed) I’m so confused…!
Mr. Culver: Hey, Barbarino?
Mr. Culver: Can you tell us what “compulsory” means?
Barbarino: (feigning ignorance) What?
Mr. Culver: Compulsory? What does it mean?
Mr. Culver: Not when, but what?
Mr. Culver: Well I think we’ve learned enough for today. Tomorrow we’ll pick up with the latter half of the equation: “education.”
(Bell rings as students strut out of the classroom with a new sense of purpose.)