Jun 13, 2006

Skipping grades is good for you

Ann Althouse would have loved to have skipped a grade of school, but her mother wouldn't let her.
I remember when grade-skipping went out of fashion. It was right around the time when I was in grade school. My mother told me later that they wanted me to skip, and she was adamantly against it. I was outraged that I wasn't asked and that I was stuck with a whole extra year of sitting in a classroom. She knew better. She had been skipped back in the old days, during the Depression. (She went to college at 16.) Based on her experience, she felt sure she knew skipping was bad.

My mother also went to college at 16 and spoke vehemently against the practice. I think Mom felt that her high school years were miserable because she was so much younger than anyone else there. She was bound and determined that her children wouldn't be put through the same hell.

By the time I went to school, the practice of putting fast learners into gifted programs was the norm and there was little danger that I'd enter high school at age 12. But in between my sophomore and junior years I moved from New York to Florida. Somehow, I tested out of a bunch of things and had already completed a lot of requirements for graduation so I was offered a chance to graduate early provided I spend my last semester taking nothing but gym. (I actually failed gym in 10th grade because of all my absences.) I jumped at the chance.

What Mom didn't realize was that high school is miserable, period. It all worked out the same in the end, though; It took me five years to get through college.

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