Monday, February 17, 2014

"I Am A Dropout"

I recently met a 16-year-old girl who has found high school intolerable. She skips all the time. She told me it's so boring it's unbearable and she finds the other students to be almost moronic.

Unfortunately she lives in a state where the police will arrest her parents if she skips too much. Now how exactly is that going to make her attend school?

I told her to drop out and get a GED. Her SAT scores are so high she'll have no problem getting into college...not that college is worthwhile anymore.

One of my friends dropped out of high school, got his GED and then became an airline pilot. Another woman dropout I know went into retail and now has some sort of retro shop in Las Vegas.

The following was written by Stephanie Shepard and is from her blog Time of Calamity, which is over there on the right side on my blogroll.

"Every time I see the media trying to portray Edward Snowden as an idiot I giggle. They want to focus on him being a high school dropout as if it actually means anything. When are people going to get past this idea that a high school diploma actually counts anymore. What they hate more about Snowden was that he is highly intelligent despite dropping out.

"I see the problem instantly with his career. I will use the Navy for this example. In the Navy the dumbest job you can have is communications. To get the job you barely have to pass the ASVAB test. They do this on purpose. The idea is have the dumbest people working with high value, high volume information. The theory is that these people are too dumb to realize what they are reading. They bet on people being dumb and not knowing how highly classified the material really is. If they are too stupid there is no threat of them talking or selling the information to other countries.

"Now think about this in the context of Edward Snowden. People are baffled that he was a dropout and had no further formal education. He worked for the CIA and the NSA both without a degree of any kinda. He was great at computers, but nobody realized he was intelligent in a way they didn't want. Without a doubt he was hired because he wasn't properly vetted. They would have known that he wasn't an uneducated man that knew what he was seeing.

"I am a high school dropout. Oddly I am quite proud of this standard 'fuck you' of the public school system. We need to get past the idea that those who actually tolerate school until the end are actually education. The situation is a lot more bleak than you would assume.

"I dropped out 6 months into my senior. Many would call me an idiot for doing this. I saw it as I saved 500 dollars not paying for the 'honor' to graduate high school. No I didn't want to pay for senior photos. No I did not want to pay for my cap and gown. And no I didn't want my parents to pay for an open house to pander to my relatives for money.

"This is just a side note to my apathy at the time. First I dropped out while I was in the middle of a trimester that I had a 3.8 GPA. This tale is going to down hill rather quickly. I was doing dual enrollment with nursing classes at the time. In the middle of my junior year is when I realized everything I was working towards was utter bullshit. So my teenage rebellion was to not keep going. At this point I still hadn't seen the movie Office Space. Otherwise I would have taken things to an extreme.

"So why did I stop going to classes? I went to school in Michigan. Michigan has crony youth employment laws. If you are under the age of 18 you cannot work more than 18 hours a week. It is a brilliant idea of making sure teenagers aren't over worked. It is also total shit when you are trying to save money for college. At 18 hours a week making minimum wage of 5.15 an hour there was no saving money. There was buying your first car. There was no being able to move out of your parents house at 18. Some just don't get this fucking of the youth. The only option at the time was go to college after graduation or get comfy living in your parents basement.

"Well I said 'hell no' to all that. I tricked my principle into saying I attended less hours in classes than I actually attended. The loop hole to this being that since half my classes were community college classes that the technical sense of the law didn't apply to me. I won and was able to work nearly full time through my last two years of high school.

"With my new found freedom of being in the adult world more I realized I was screwed. So I stopped caring. I had the manipulation of my teachers down at the time. At my school we had trimesters. Meaning we would switch to all new classes every 12 weeks. A better system than most public high schools. However, it was the greatest advantage because teachers had very little time to get to know their students. The only memorable students were the ones the were constantly in trouble.

"My wise plan that worked for nearly 2 years. I would show up the first couple of days of the new semester. Not attend for the next 5 weeks until mid-terms. I would show up out of the blue and get 5 weeks of assignments. Spend two good nights binging on coffee and complete all my assignments. With all the homework I had just made up I was prepared to take the midterm test and pass everything with an A. Then I wouldn't show up for another 5 weeks. I would always waltz in right before finals.

"This was like clockwork. I was in college, working nearly full time, and passing my classes with grades good enough for enrollment in a good state school. Well, I got fucked by the state with some new fancy laws. They had passed a socialist scholarship program in Michigan. Basically all the idiots that played the lottery started funding public schools and scholarships that you automatically received for passing stat standardized test. Up until the end of this year I still qualify for 5,000 of scholarship money in Michigan. There is no chance in hell I will go back to the shit hole for the free lunch though.

"While all this was going on the state started mandating that funding would only go towards schools based on enrollment and attendance. I had been on truancy probation in school for nearly 3 years. The way I had been getting around not getting dropped out of school is Saturday detention. I wouldn't show up 90% of the time and I would make it up my doing detention time. The most detention time I ever had per semester was 3 Saturday mornings. They lasted 5 hours and I would just sleep through them all. Not a bad deal.

"Well I got caught towards the end thanks to these new laws. The school found out how much school I had missed. Somebody learned the power of math and ran with in. I was pulled into the vice principle's office and got a stern talking to with a wage of the finger. I was told to graduate I would have to repeat my senior year to graduate because of the missed class time. I had over a 3.2 GPA. I was an honor student for a majority of my life. I told them to go fuck themselves. The school did not care about my education. They only cared about their funding.

"Despite what most people would think dropping out of high school did not hinder me in anyway. I just went and took my GED. I took a few days of my time and passed the test in the top 10 percentile in all the subjects. I took my residual SAT without studying and pass with great scores the first time. I enrolled in college and started my freshman year as if nothing had ever happened."


Anonymous said...

I am glad it worked out for you. Some people with lesser intelligence would be better grinding it out thru the school system. Some would be better off dropping out at 13 and learning a trade or working in a family business. Time to offer kids and parents more options than the traditional public school training. Which Michigan school system did you attend?

Bob Wallace said...

Actually you'd have to go to her blogroll on the right side, Time of Calamity, and write her. I just reposted her article. I didn't write it.

Stephanie said...

Thanks Bob for posting this and adding me to your blogroll. The "I am a dropout" article is an article I almost did not write. Mostly because I have received scorn in the past over the idea of dropping out. Currently most parents and grandparents do not understand the drastic changed in the public school system. They don't understand the legislative influence in their teenagers lives. Also, feel free to repost other articles anytime.

Bob Wallace said...

High school was a waste for me, I graduated with a D+++. My SAT was so high I was already admitted to college. From what I've heard, high school is even worse today.

I daydreamed my entire time through school.

Anonymous said...

Great article. I'm going to check out the Time of Calamity blog now. School was a waste of my time. Bullies, bad teaching, and busywork. I sometimes wish I had dropped out, but my father was an educator, so it was out of the question.

Keoni Galt said...

Thanks for the linkage to Time of Calamity, I just spent a good chunk of time last night reading all of Stephanie's blog.

It's been a week since her last post...hope she sticks with it, she's off to a great start.

A hui hou