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Again, With Maryland

October 5, 2009

Jay Mathews reports in “Class Struggle” on Drew Gamblin, a 16 year old gifted African American student at Howard High School in Ellicott City, Maryland who has been hampered by policy and forced to repeat curriculum (already mastered at a college level) in order to fulfill graduation requirements.

Gamblin scored in the 92nd percentile on the PSAT two years ago. His education path has been a bit untraditional – with public school, home school and a little community college thrown into the mix (not an unusual combination for PG and EG kids). Yet he is being forced by a Maryland high school into repeating curriculum already mastered.

As Mathews reports:
“Most American high schools look hard for ways to give struggling students their diplomas. Maryland let 4,000 students graduate this year by doing special projects when they didn’t pass the required state tests. Meanwhile, Drew Gamblin is told he has to listen to old lectures and take tests he has already passed in order to achieve his goal of finishing high school.”

A spokesperson for the school complains that they have already spent “an overwhelming amount of time” on this student. Here’s a thought – bend a little. Instead of forcing this square peg into a round hole – let him demonstrate mastery and move along – without forcing “seat time” in a classroom.

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