This from the Charleston Daily Mail [WVa]:
Linking licenses to grades unproven
Think tank says plan needs study, may harm education
A national think tank that studies education policy issues is cautioning West Virginia officials against tying teenagers' driving privileges to academic performance.
Gov. Joe Manchin is pushing legislation requiring high school students to make at least a 'C' average to maintain a driver's license.
Only four states - Kentucky, North Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee - have such 'No Pass, No Drive' laws, according to the Denver-based Education Commission of the States.
A commission spokesman said these laws could actually have negative effects on a student's education.
Teens who want to keep their driver's license might register for the easiest classes possible to make passing grades, said Michael Colasanti, a researcher with the commission.
"That would be perilous," Colasanti said. "Students could think to themselves, 'If I don't make a 'C' in this class, I won't keep my driver's license. So I'll take the easier math class to pass.'
"What happens down the road when colleges look at their transcripts? That's just a possibility when tying academic performance to holding a driver's license."
Colasanti also said some teachers could inflate grades out of sympathy so students could hang onto their licenses.
Those factors account for such laws not catching on in more states, he said.
In 1990, Kentucky and Tennessee became the first states to revoke driving privileges based on academic performance. Mississippi followed in 1994, and North Carolina was the last state to adopt such a law in 1997...
...Lisa Gross, press secretary for the Kentucky Department of Education, calls her state's No-Pass, No-Drive laws a success.
In Kentucky, students must earn passing grades in at least four classes to drive. Most high school students there take six or seven classes at a time, Gross said.
But Gross acknowledged that no one keeps data on how many licenses are suspended because of failing grades.
And like West Virginia, Kentucky also takes away licenses from teens who quit school.
That law has proven to be effective, Gross said.
"Our dropout rate has gone down over the last 10 years," she said. "We still have about 5,000 or 6,000 who drop out every year, which is still a lot of kids. But many students think twice before dropping out if their license is going to be revoked." ...