Anytime you hear government officials mandating new behaviors to a broad swath of the population, that mandate is likely to run afoul of the First Amendment, says Sam Chaltain, a D.C.-based educator and strategist, for the Washington Post. And so it is with President Obama’s announcement in his 2012 State of the Union address on Tuesday night that all states should “require that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18.”

Although Mr. Obama made other pronouncements about education --see Dana Goldstein’s good summary analysis in The Nation — the stay-in-school mandate was the one that caught...

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