California Assemblyman Joe Coto apparently believes that the Golden State doesn't have enough problems getting kids to graduate from high school; he wants to tack on more requirements for the diploma. That's fine when the requirements are academic. But Coto's proposal is simply Big Brotherism; he would require high school students to register to vote before they receive a diploma. (Individuals could opt out of the provision by submitting a written request to do so.) We've got nothing against voting, and Coto's heart is in the right place. But charging schools with solving all society's problems is a flawed approach. As long as we're mandating virtuous impulses, though, Gadfly has a few proposals of his own. In order to receive high school diplomas, students must: Provide proof that they floss daily (this may be in the form of a signed dentist's note, or by turning in hundreds of used strings of floss); write a one-page essay about 1) the virtues of temperance, or 2) why it's important to respect one's elders (essays may not be sarcastic); and sign pledges that they will abstain from 1) sex, 2) drugs and alcohol, and 3) wishing to emulate Lindsey Lohan. Or, in lieu of the above, students may opt to do none of it at all--but only if they put their requests in writing.
"Link diploma to voting, says S.J. legislator," by Edwin Garcia, San Jose Mercury News, February 1, 2007