Should we let wunderkinds drop out of high school?

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  • freedomforthepeople Sandy, UT
    May 23, 2013 9:46 a.m.

    My one son found high school to be a waste of time and an emotional downer. He is a gifted composer and multi-instrument musician and vocalist (began composing at age 4, conducting at 5). His lack in other areas (couldn't handle fashion strategies and sports sewing, the only 2 CTE courses available to him and required for graduation) and this prevented the music department from "allowing" him to participate in certain music activities due to rules about music activities being viewed as extracurricular "fun" courses that you couldn't participate in without a certain GPA. He dropped out, took the GED just for good measure and scored in top 1% in the nation. Took ACT and scored well and entered college. High school's rigidity doesn't work for everyone, especially some of our top kids with "splinter" skills. It also has the potential to make them feel like failures if they don't fit in and progress through like the rest of the students. My other children found high school to be worthwhile and important for their development. We need to know our kids and their needs and find the best fit for them, individually!

  • Steven S Jarvis Orem, UT
    May 22, 2013 11:22 a.m.

    @the truth

    Common Core has nothing to do with this topic, nor is it a standard that teaches or holds students to the lowest common denominator. For the most part Common Core is a higher standard than the state core had in regards to math.

    If a kid excels to the point that the school no longer can serve them, then they should move on to better things like college/university work.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    May 21, 2013 6:28 p.m.

    Common Core would not allow this,
    but hold these wunderkind back.

    That's what federally dictated standards do, control and make all the same to lowest common denominator.

  • eelek62 SANDY, UT
    May 21, 2013 4:23 p.m.

    High school is not just about academics (i.e. social experiences).

  • Shimlau SAINT GEORGE, UT
    May 21, 2013 1:28 p.m.

    good comments all!

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Salt Lake City, UT
    May 21, 2013 1:13 p.m.

    It isn't a "terrible idea". Some people have different needs and different paths to take, plain and simple. Furthering education is important for everyone. Once a kids makes $20M it's not like they can't go back to school to learn. It's not like it prevents options. If anything, their new found fortune opens up doors. Money is power. It's up to you to do the right or wrong thing with it. And what the 'right' education is for people various drastically.

  • Sasha Pachev Provo, UT
    May 21, 2013 11:23 a.m.

    The freshman year of college can be handled by a properly prepared 14 year old. Not the one that has been wasting his time playing video games, texting all kinds of nonsense, and listening to IQ-lowering music, but the one who actually studies, learns the principles rather than just trying to pass off the assignment, and overall strives to achieve. If you do not believe this, try it. In our current education system I do not see how you could do it unless you home school. It will take some sacrifice and thinking out of the box. You will need a mom that stays home. You will need a dad that is there to teach the kids. You will need a shift of paradigm - teach the child to be an achiever, then watch him fly.

  • Dr S Purcellville, VA
    May 21, 2013 10:44 a.m.

    A viable option for many Wunderkinders is joint registration in high school and college. I should know since I was one of the first high school students Utah to have joint registration during my senior year (1971-72). Two masters degrees and a PhD later, I now advise the Federal goverment (specifically the military) on which psychological health research projects to fund.

    My son set the record for his first college starting joint registration at the age of 14. He went on to attend the Indiana Academy for Science Mathematics and Humanities (Indiana's governers school for gifted high schoolers). At 31 he is a software engineer who is waiting for word on his first patent.

    My daughter could not be out done by her older brother, so she tied his record, and also attended the Indiana Academy. Finished her undergraduate from William and Mary (while on deployment in Iraq) and her MS from Brown. She is now the acting director of public affairs for the DC guard.

    There are opportunities out there for those who show both talent and hard work. This is but one excellent path.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    May 21, 2013 10:36 a.m.

    Most high schools are not really modeled to help kids go to college. There are some exceptions, like NUAMES, INTECH, and other University Affiliated high schools. These schools require students to remain in difficult courses and offere concurrent enrollment and early college admission/registration to actual college courses so that the transition to college is nature. Of course they also don't have a football team and their focus is almost solely on academics beyond that of the required state standards.

    If your kid goes to the High School it's possible for him to have many of his requirements complete (like required math courses) by his senior year. That senior year, becomes a year of recreation, which then once in college turns out they no longer remember their math which is now required again and they start to flunk out in the more difficult courses because they never learned the discipline required to work hard and learn on their own.

    With Whizkids, there's an additional problem, in that they can be really good at one thing, but terrible at other subjects, and because they do something comercially viable, they start to think they don't need anything.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    May 21, 2013 10:35 a.m.


    Many home schoolers fail miserably. I have had the products of home schooling in my classroom. Some are bright and capable students with very ambitious parents. I have found that home schooling makes many parents appreciate good teachers and quality schools. Many kids are social misfits, unable to cope with basic instruction.

  • KWL Bountiful, UT
    May 21, 2013 10:31 a.m.

    What's wrong with letting bright kids graduate early? Or, if they're strong in one area and not in another, test out of classes where they have already mastered the skills?

  • Claudio Springville, Ut
    May 21, 2013 10:09 a.m.

    Re: JSB

    Painting public school, with it's classrooms and teachers, with a brush that covers it all in one stroke is the problem. It is far more dynamic. One family's experience with public education does not even approach the reality. There are many outstanding public education classrooms. There are many outstanding teachers. There are also many on the opposite side and even more that fall somewhere in between.

    Your family found a solution that worked for you. That is wonderful. It would not work in every situation, or even every similar situation. That is the point. If we truly want our kids to be educated, we need to promote solutions and actively pursue them; not complain about something or blame others.

    It is not the teacher's union's fault that our kids do not succeed. It is not the government's fault. We had the kids, we should take responsibility for them.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    May 21, 2013 9:07 a.m.

    The whole approach of the public schools stifles creativity. Bright students are bored and drop out. My son decided that his senior year would just be a waste of time, dropped out and started the university and graduated with a 4.0. and earned a master's degree from a prestigious university. One of my daughters, dissatisfied the her children's school, decided to home school. After three years she put them back into the public school. The daughter was supposed to go into 7th grade but they put her into 8th grade because she was academically so far ahead of the 7th graders. Her son, was also too advanced for 4th grade so he went to public school for some of his classes and was home-schooled for English, science and math. For bright, creative kids, the public schools are a failure with overcrowded classrooms, overworked, uninspired teachers. There are marvelous on-line home-school programs that provide children them with educational opportunities superior to anything you can get in the public schools. Unless something really changes in the public schools, home schooling will be the wave of the future.