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HIGH LIFE : Push for 14 Years' Schooling Foreseen

December 02, 1988| Youth News Service

WASHINGTON — Expanding the normal duration of formal schooling from 12 to 14 years may be on the agenda of the next Congress, according to the chairman of a Senate education subcommittee.

"Now is the time to push, and push hard, to see that we go at least as far as 14 years," said Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-R.I.), chairman of the subcommittee. The increasing demands of the workplace in the early 1900s led states to convert from 6 or 8 years of formal education to 12, according to Pell, whose "personal dream" is 16 years of education for all students.

Pell plans to investigate the idea during the 101st Congress, which will convene Jan. 3, but does not have specific legislation to propose, said a staff member of the subcommittee.

Two Orange County high school students were among 350 juniors and seniors from across the country gathered in Washington in November to attend the Fall 1988 National Young Leaders Conference, sponsored by the Congressional Youth Leadership Council, a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

Susan Dowell, a senior at Irvine's University High School, and Thomas Sohn of Seal Beach, a senior at Los Alamitos High School, attended the 6-day conference, one of nine such meetings held annually.

The conference's theme was "The Leaders of Tomorrow Meeting the Leaders of Today," and the students--who were either nominated by their high schools or invited by the Congressional Youth Leadership Council--met with leaders and news makers from government, the media and the diplomatic corps.

An estimated 11 million new voters will be added to the electorate in Brazil after action taken by the Brazilian Parliament to lower the voting age to 16, Youth News Service reports.

While many politicians praised the action, others claimed the move was made by the ruling party to win the support of new voters. Other political activists are pressuring the government to lower the age even further, to 14 years--the minimum age for work.

Children's rights activists are concerned that the lowering of the voting age will be followed by a similar lowering of the age for criminal responsibility from the current 18 years to 16 years.

"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."

--George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

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