Thursday, October 08, 2009

A homeschooler getting the run around

Jay Mathews reports on a sad story about a Gifted Student Is Being Held Back By Graduation Rules:

Anyone who wants to appreciate how strong a grip high school has on the American imagination -- and how clueless some school districts are about this -- should consider the story of Drew Gamblin, a 16-year-old student at Howard High School in Ellicott City.

Drew, a child so gifted he taught himself to write at age 3, craves a high school education and all that comes with it -- debate team, music, drama and senior prom.

After a series of inexplicable decisions by Howard County school officials, such as requiring him to stay in a Howard High algebra class he had already mastered, his parents decided to home-school him and put him in college classes. But Drew insisted on his high school dream.

So he is back at Howard, although it's not clear what grade he is in, and the school district is making it hard to enjoy what the school has to offer. He is being forced to take a world history course he already took at Howard Community College and a junior-year English course he took at home, as well as classes in other subjects he has studied.

Drew said he hopes that school district superintendent Sydney L. Cousin will use a state regulation that would allow him to create an alternative way for Drew to graduate without so much course repetition, but it doesn't look good.

Drew could go to college right now. He passed the Maryland state High School Assessment test in sophomore English at the advanced level (Howard refuses to give him credit for the course) and did the same in American government. Two years ago, he scored in the 92nd percentile on the PSAT and placed in the top 4 percent of all African American students who took the exam.

I wonder what the school officials are thinking?

Here we have a young man who clearly has an education. He just wants to have the public school experience. (Which personally I think he is getting. If it were me, I would just move.)

I wonder why are the bureaucrates dragging their feet? They should welcome him back in. They could even play it up a little, hey look a homeschooler wants to come to government schools.

But no, they are shooting themselves in the foot. They come across as petty people, imposing rules which make no sense, and losing some of the little good will they have left.

I wonder who will flinch first? Will the Drew Gamblin just dump it all and move on? Or will the public outcry be loud enough that the administration will do the right thing and let him take reasonable courses, and graduate.

Technorati tags: children, education, government schools, children, public school, public education


Susan said...

Reading the comments from the teachers and current Howard County families, I don't see public pressure going Drew Gamblin's way.
Status quo seems to be front and center in this issue.
I'd be outa there too. But I said the same when 2 of our kids decided they needed the high school experience too.
In their early 20's now, they regret that decision.

Anonymous said...

I'll tell you what this is about--it's a power play, pure and simple. First of all, it's some petty bureaucrats enjoying the power that they have, but also, and maybe more importantly, it's a demonstration showing all the other parents in the area what woe will betide them should they dare to think of homeschooling!

Anonymous said...

Very sad that the people in charge of education our kids, don't give a darn about them. This shows us why homeschooling will be the right option for my family. And we wonder why public school has a bad reputation.

An almost former public school teacher who is tired of fighting the system

purelabor said...

My son who is now 30 was a prosuct of
Public school. He was in the honors class in HS. We had to buy his books. The students in the special ed. had their books bought for them. But the advanced students had to buy every thing they needed.