High school starts at 21

Hoping to lure dropouts back to school, Dallas now lets adults enroll in high school, even if that means a ninth-grade class could include a 21-year-old and a 12-year-old.  A Texas law encourages high schools to enroll students up to 25 years old, several years older than many new teachers.

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  1. My mom used to teach at a night and alternative high school, where young mothers and older students mixed just fine since the goal for all of them was to get the degree.

    The article had some absurdity when a mother worried about young women finding older men attractive and a teenage girls saying something about older men grabbing at young women, which shows an interesting focus on “older” men and a strange ignorance of the possible behavior of teenage boys. Still, I’d be concerned and I definitely understand the adult men and their discomfort.

    In the end, I wonder why the school districts would cut people off at 25. At the prison I work in, there are students old enough to be my great-grandfather.

  2. I hope that last sentence is ironic.

  3. No, it’s true. And I’m thirty-eight. The irony is still there, but working at a prison for the last four years has exposed me to enough irony to last a lifetime.

    I’m still working on either a book or a sitcom. I’m thinking the sitcom would better reflect the reality I see there. Think Barney Miller with half the characters in orange, the coffee’s still bad, and Abe Vigoda could play an inmate in remedial education.

  4. Whatever hapened to just writing your GED?

  5. Isn’t it scary that we’re in a society where poeple are scared about a 12-year old and a 25 year old sitting next to each other in a classroom?

  6. Amy in Texas says:

    More absurdity from DISD!

  7. Jon,

    I think we need to differentiate between a prison environment and a public school environment. While I don’t begrudge prisoners a chance to finish high school, I honestly do not want my 12-year-old in the same school building with 25-year-olds who want a second chance at the junior high experience. Let them take a GED.

  8. Michael E. Lopez says:

    This is potentially a great idea, because having adults in high school will accomplish two things:

    1) Incentives to stop treating adolescents like infants and getting rid of stupid closed campus rules, bathroom passes, and the like.

    2) It will expose adolescents to some grown ups who — if not the best and the brightest — are at least serious about getting something done.

  9. GoogleMaster says:

    Tracy W, I think part of it is because here in Texas, we keep getting stories on the news about teenaged girls running away with their 20-something “boyfriends”. This week’s case is a 15yo girl and a 24yo man.

  10. GoogleMaster – I don’t know about Texas, but everywhere I’ve lived in the world we keep getting stories about teenagers (both male and female) being killed in car crashes, sometimes a teenager was driving, sometimes a parent was driving. Yet parents will often let their kids get into cars or cross roads for reasons other than absolute necessity (for example, when I was little every rainy weekend day meant a trip to either the museum or the swimming pool so us kids would burn off energy somewhere other than at home).

    Yes, there are risks from having 12 year olds and 25 year olds together. There are also risks from having 12 year olds and 12 year olds together – I suspect most commentators have suffered from bullying at some point. There are also advantages, as there are advantages to leaving the safety of our homes. I spent a chunk of my childhood trailing around adoringly in the wake of older cousins, and was trailed around in my turn by my younger cousins. It’s nice, sort of a cycle-of-life, and it gives the younger ones a different view of adulthood and what you can do with it. And sometimes it supplies a message about the importance of staying at school and getting an education that allows you to do something more interesting.

  11. Only the Texas Legislature could come up with something this boneheaded.

  12. Dick Eagleson says:

    Depending upon the details of implementation, this could be either a very good or very bad idea. I’m curious about the timing and the motivation behind this move. Is this an attempt by a big-city school district to make up for what would otherwise be a falling enrollment of students of more traditional attendance ages? I don’t have any figures on the Dallas district’s enrollment situation so I could be off-base on this. Here in Los Angeles, though, the LAUSD is seeing steeply declining enrollments as a combination of modestly greater enforcement of immigration laws, followed by the current recession, has caused many formerly L.A.-resident Mexican illegal immigrant families to return to Mexico over the last two or three years. Dallas has also had a long-standing large illegal immigrant resident population and the DISD may be experiencing comparable enrollment hemorrhages for identical reasons as we are here in L.A. Combine this with the fact that the least well educated working poor are usually the first to be let go in a recession and you may find a school district simply interested in keeping their enrollments up by filling seats formerly occupied by illegal immigrant children of normal school ages with older dropouts who have recently been placed “at liberty” by the current crummy economy. Making “lemonade” when handed “lemons,” so to speak.

  13. lking4truth says:

    If this puts a 20-(something) year old in the same class as a 14, 15, or even a 17 year old….all the dynamics of high school change, And oh yes… this will definitely attract a certain type of adult….Who thinks up this stuff….

  14. Ms.Crabtree says:

    Of course we all want people to finish high school, but isn’t there another way? Have they exasperated all other ideas? How about placing them at a continuation school, adding bungalows to a separate side of a campus, providing online classes? Come on, at least make an effort.

    Totally a bad idea!