HOUSTON -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry says students who drop out of school shouldn’t be able to get a driver’s license and he called for new legislation to enforce his plan to keep kids in school.
“If you are of high school age and you are not in a bricks and mortar or virtual school, you’re not going to get a driver’s license, it’s that simple,” Perry said during a press conference Monday. “The fact is, a single drop out is too many, so we’ve got to continue pursuing sensible, proven options and give every Texan an option at a better life.”
Perry said the idea shouldn’t be considered punishment, but an incentive to stay in school.
“It’s going to take a member of the legislature to introduce it and it’s going to take massaging to get it through the process, but I hope they see the incentive and the wisdom of using that incentive approach to keep our young people in either a virtual high school or a bricks and mortar high school,” he said.
The majority of teens at a Safeway Driving School class in Memorial Wednesday night liked the idea.
“I think it’s a really good idea ‘cause when people are in school they get more informed about their surroundings,” said high school sophomore Sydney Keller. “If you’re informed of your surroundings when you’re driving you will be able to prevent wrecks, because you’ll know what to do to prevent certain situations.”
But not everyone was in favor of the proposal.
“Just in general, imposing, forcing people to fit specific parameters is something I’m usually opposed to,” said high school junior John McAvey. “In general, just saying no, you have to go to high school in order to get your license, I think that is generally a bad idea because it doesn’t incorporate all the odd scenarios like, ‘oh we’re about to move, so oh I can’t get a license,’ or, ‘I have to go to work because my mother’s gotten ill or something like that.’”
A spokesperson for Perry’s opponent, Bill White, called the idea nothing more than a career politician trotting out election year sound bites.
“Students are slipping through the cracks every day, and Perry still refuses to provide a solution for the 3 in 10 Texas students who don’t graduate on time or ever,” said Bill White’s campaign spokesperson Katy Bacon. “He's shown Texans over and over again that he's only in it for himself and those who give him campaign contributions.”