Editorial: Driver’s license decisions best left to parents

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 16, 2003

Not allowing a truant teen to get a driver’s license seems like a justifiable measure. It’s even easy to imagine a parent telling their teen-ager they can’t get a license if they miss too much school or if their grades aren’t good enough.

But that’s part of the problem with Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s proposal. It’s something that parents should already be doing.

The obvious reply is that not enough parents are doing what they can to provide incentives for their children to put in a serious effort at school. That may be true, but the state can’t step in and take over every aspect of parenting.

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Making the situation more complicated, anybody 16 or older can legally drop out of school, anyway. That’s a double standard. If a 16-year-old can be allowed to quit school altogether, another 16-year-old should be able to get a driver’s license regardless of whether they go to school.

Similar measures may have been implemented in other states, but there’s no proof they’ve had any effect.

This kind of proposal may be good at grabbing headlines, but parenting is best left to parents.