Legislation to raise New Jersey's compulsory school attendance age has passed a committee test in Trenton.

Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman's bill would increase the mandatory school attendance age to 18 from its current 16. She says there are a number of reasons why her bill makes sense...one reason...she says the criminal justice system is flooded with individuals that have an eighth or ninth or sixth grade education. Coleman says we can see where this has led us, and she calls her bill a move in the right direction. She added, "societal changes and the increasing demands of the labor market continue to place a premium on education."

Some concerns were raised in the Assembly Education Committee hearing that it might throw more families who fail to keep teens in school into the court system. And there were suggestions that pushing vocational training as an alternative to traditional schooling might help...even denial of a driver's license as an incentive to stay in school.

The bill passed on a vote of 5 to 2, and Watson Coleman agreed to work with those who want it tweaked to address their concerns.