The Alabama Legislature has given final approval to a bill raising the school dropout age from 16 to 17.
The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur, says 16 is too young for students to make a decision that will have an enormous impact on the remainder of their lives. He says raising the age one year should provide some maturity and help increase the graduation rate.
His bill, approved Friday, now goes to the governor for signing into law. It would take effect with the upcoming school year.
Earlier in the session, the Legislature created a task force that will make recommendations early next year about how to lower the dropout rate.