Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Jay Mathews: School Rules Stifle Gifted Student

Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews penned a piece recently on the struggles of Drew Gamblin, a 16-year-old gifted Maryland student who wanted the "real" high school experience after being homeschooled and taking courses at a local community college. His family's attempts to get high school credit for his various courses (and to show that he's fulfilled certain requirements) will, I'm sure, sound familiar to Gifted Exchange readers who've tried to carve out exemptions from usual school policies. In defense of Howard High School, it is tough to have one student do things differently than everyone else. But as Mathews points out, the state of Maryland regularly allows students who don't pass their high school exams to do special projects in order to graduate. It's unclear why creating an exception for a young person who clearly can (and has!) done the required work is so much more difficult.

Have any readers fought City Hall, as it were, in this kind of situation, and won?


Anonymous said...

Hi Laura,
This piece reminds me of the one on MCPS homeschooling rules.

I don't understand why gifted children and their parents are seeking legitimacy from systems that are not set up to acknowledge their needs to begin with.

In order to become a successful gifted adult, wouldn't the emphasis be better placed on teaching your child to be an autodidact, self-motivated, self-reliant and able to negotiate with bureaucrats and conformists who get in their way? Parents may be able to ease their child's passage now, but they will encounter the exact same problems in the workplace.

Why not use these dilemmas to teach your child how to be self-employed? Just because Drew doesn't attend public school doesn't mean that he can't have friends there or attend most of the events. Why not take advantage of the resources that ARE available to you to craft your own experience, take what you need, yet remain separate from a system that inherently doesn't suit you.


din819go said...

There are two sides to this story -- apparently this family has refused to do some things the district is recommending. Why this kid, if he truly has done all that is stated in the article, wants a high school experience is beyond me. Nor do I believe the school has to accommodate him after he has refused to do certain things. Tell him to move on -- Jay Matthews posted the response from the district. Yes, there are still unanswered questions, but...geez...get the kid out of there...