Right now, the state of Montana requires children to receive an education until the age of 16. Denise Juneau, the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, plans to ask the next legislature – which convenes on Jan. 3 – to raise the age to 18. She asked state Sen. Taylor Brown to introduce a bill, and he obliged with Senate Bill 44.

In a meeting with the governor yesterday, Juneau said she plans to ask legislators to dedicate more money for K-12 education. And speaking of money, a state fiscal analyst predicts raising the compulsory age from 16 to 18 or “upon graduation” could keep about 1,000 more kids in school – and cost about $1 million.

Juneau’s office, on the other hand, says that some three-fourths of prison inmates are high school dropouts. Recognizing that correlation is not causation and all that, I wonder how much we might save by keeping 1,000 more inmates out of Montana prisons.

Something to ponder, perhaps, as this discussion moves into the legislative session. Here’s a link to Senate Bill 44. Read Juneau’s case for raising the age requirement on the Office of Public Instruction website.

– MM