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Driving Not Easy for Teens

Governor George Allen of Virginia has unveiled a plan that would deny driver's licenses to students who fail to pass tough new standardized tests. His proposal will be sent to the Legislature in January.

"One thing that's a motivating factor for teenagers in high school is getting those wheels," Allen said at a news conference last month.

Virginia is thought to be the first state to propose linking driving privileges to performance on a standardized test. Thirteen states have laws denying driver's licenses to students with poor attendance, Kathy Christi, a spokeswoman for the Education Commission of the States, said.

Governor Allen said his pass-to-drive idea is part of an effort to improve academic performance and boost test scores among the state's one million public school students. Some high school students say that tying the right to drive to academic performance is unfair.

They argue that denying licenses to those who fail the tests would only make students more nervous during examinations.

The state school board recently approved new academic standards, and it plans to devise tests based on those goals and to begin testing in 1997.

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