New KEA President Believes Higher Drop Out Age May Require Additional Support

Jul 8, 2013

Credit Kentucky Education Association

The new president of Kentucky’s teacher union indicates educators are ready for a tougher minimum dropout age.  Many school districts have already acted to increase the minimum from 16 to 18-years-old.  Kentucky Education Association President Stephanie Winkler says teachers see the higher minimum drop-out age as an opportunity.

“I think teachers just simply want to teach and I think that’s what we’re focused on.  We’re not necessarily worried about bills.  We don’t think about where funding comes from.  Teachers in the trenches simply teach.  They work to make relationships with students, help every student they can to find their path to success,” said Winkler. 

Winkler says, among the challenges might be older, unruly students who act-out in class.

“I think it could be in some cases, but I also think that school districts need to have support to work through how to handle students that are challenges and sometimes that takes more staff,” added Winkler.       

Winkler, who teaches elementary students in Richmond, says additional help could come from governmental, private and non-profit agencies, as well as social workers.  Once 55 percent of school districts adopt the older age, it will become the statewide minimum four years later.  For those acting now, it goes into effect in the fall of 2015.