11-year-olds in college

Every now and then someone is impressed that I graduated college on the younger side. I would respond by pointing out that Sho Yano got his Ph.D. at age 18 and an M.D. at 21.

Cal State Los Angeles, it seems, has set up a factory for producing kids like Sho Yano: “A sixth-grader was sick of coloring. So she skipped six grades to attend Cal State L.A.” (LA Times):

With that, Mia left Crescent Elementary in Anaheim. She studied at home for the rest of the year — and then, at age 12, jumped six grade levels to enter Cal State Los Angeles as a freshman last fall.

While the admissions scandal has transfixed the nation’s attention on elite universities such as UCLA and USC, the school of choice for many whiz kids like Mia is Cal State L.A.

For nearly four decades, the campus has provided a haven where children who are academically gifted and socially mature can bypass years of boring classwork and surge ahead. Cal State L.A. is the only university in California — and one of only a handful across the country — with a program to admit students as young as 11.

The article notes that California has limited options for gifted and talented programs within its K-12 public schools. But Massachusetts doesn’t have anything at all!

Maybe you don’t want to be a father:

The family lives in Camarillo, but Shanti and Sathya stay with their father, Ramesh Raminani, at a hotel near campus during the week. He drops them off at school, drives two hours to his pharmacy business and two hours back to pick them up. … All told, Raminani drives 200 miles a day and spends $20,000 a year on hotels on top of the roughly $12,000 in annual tuition for both children.

Why is this guy being hit with tuition bills? His children would be eligible for a free education at the local state-funded public school. Until they turn 18, why can’t they take at least whatever the state would have spent on them in K-12 and use that to offset the tuition charges? Shouldn’t a family be entitled to 13 years of taxpayer-funded schooling per child? (Maybe Elizabeth Warren will fix this!)

4 thoughts on “11-year-olds in college

  1. >Why is this guy being hit with tuition bills? His children would be eligible for a free education at the local state-funded public school.

    Yeah, that’s what I asked when I had to pay to have my kids avoid our dysfunctional public schools. Sadly, government bureaucrats are not as receptive as one might hope to this line of reasoning.

  2. But if you follow some of your other posts you wouldn’t want to send your gifted 11 year old student to college since students don’t learn anything there anyway!

  3. This is great. Could even more kids succeed in this way if there was a more obvious path to do so? It seems that completing grades K-12 before starting college is just “what you do”, and in order to do otherwise you need to circumvent various standard expectations and policies.

    For some subjects, you do need to complete a sequence of learning somehow. You probably would not fare well jumping from 8th-grade pre-algebra to differential calculus. But many colleges offer courses in algebra and trigonometry for those who had a suboptimal high school math background.

    For many other subjects, why not just jump straight from 8th-grade level content to college level content? Is taking college chemistry really intractable without having taken high school chemistry first? Biology? History? Psychology? Economics? When I was in school, it was rare to even find a high school computer science class, so you could certainly jump right into that without any high school background.

    Of course, some students won’t want to apply themselves in college at that age. (Probably a large overlap with the ones who don’t want to apply themselves in high school.) But I suspect that many high school freshmen who are taking their academic studies seriously could do well as college freshmen also.

  4. Some of the high schools in Silicon Vally have Middle College programs making community college classes available to high school juniors & seniors for free.

    Then again, some of the large high schools in the area (3,000+ students) have math, science, language, art etc. programs rivaling those at many community colleges.

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