(NEWSER) – Utah is considering battling its $700 million budget gap, and wiping out senioritis in the bargain, by eliminating the entire last year of high school. GOP state Sen. Chris Buttars' proposal to eliminate 12th grade altogether could save the state up to $60 million. The plan is supported by those who argue students goof off their last year, and that it's not needed for college. But the proposal is facing stiff opposition from parents, teachers and students.
This is your country on Republicanism, people. Read it and weep.
Er, scratch that. Just weep. Because when you shrink government down to where you can drown it in the bathtub, you get rid of stuff like schools, levees, bridge repairs. Figures this boneheaded idea would come from a Republican in the reddest of the red states, Utah.
Naturally Chris Buttars' idea has been highly controversial. Thoroughly pilloried by people who think the richest country in the world should be able to educate its kids for the full 12 years, the Republican legislator has dialed back his proposal, making it one of those classic Republican ideas that simply restate what has always been on the books:
Buttars has since toned down the idea, suggesting instead that senior year become optional for students who complete their required credits early. He estimated the move could save up to $60 million, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
But some education officials say they don't think the plan represents a change.
"We've always had an option in place for early graduation," said Debra Roberts, chairwoman of the Utah Board of Education, adding that it was OK to give students the choice to graduate early, but that they shouldn't be pushed to leave.
About 200 students a year take advantage of early graduation, said Brenda Hales, state associate superintendent.
Buttars, who did not respond to calls for comment, has said he would offer incentives to encourage students to graduate early.
Well that’s one way to boost your graduation rate.