Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed a new policy that won't allow students to graduate from high school unless they present a plan to the government on what their post-graduation plans are.
The proposal would require students to prove that they're entering some sort of educational or vocational program after graduation; a job offer or entering the military would also suffice. Exceptions are available in certain cases, such as in the case of illegal immigrant student or those who are in jail.
The proposal still needs to be approved by the city council, but if it is approved Chicago would be the first city to implement this type of policy.
Emanuel defended the proposal as necessary for students to develop a career beyond high school in a Wednesday press conference.
"Just like you do with your children, college, post-high school, that is what's expected," Emanuel said. "If you change expectations, it's not hard for kids to adapt."
Emanuel elaborated on CBS News that the city was looking to adopt "a pre-K to college model."
"Around 62 percent of our kids are already either accepted into college or accepted into community college, and our goal is to make sure nobody spikes the ball at 12th grade," Emanuel said. "We want to make 14th grade universal. That’s the new goal line."
One of the pitfalls of the new policy could be its effect on community colleges, as graduation guarantees acceptance into Chicago's community colleges. Students who are still undecided on their future could then be compelled to attend community college, therefore creating a situation where community colleges are overburdened by a vast influx of students. The Chicago Tribune explains:
The City Colleges system has continued to struggle with "softened" enrollment numbers, as the system also looks at burning cash reserves and making cuts because of the state's protracted budget impasse.
At the same time, the system has said it has seen larger numbers of incoming students "without the required academic preparation," which has led to higher demand for remedial courses and support services.
"It's going to be really hairy for the community colleges if a high percentage of these kids actually show up, because they're going broke," Estvan said.
"Just like you do with your children, college, post-high school, that is what's expected. If you change expectations, it's not hard for kids to adapt."
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Emanuel's proposal has an eerie utopian aura to it. It's not the government's business to know what a student's post-graduation plans are; that is for the students and their families to determine. If a student is unsure, then time off from school may be necessary to figure out their future plans. Forcing struggling community colleges to be flooded with students unsure of their future plans does not seem like a prudent solution.