Tuesday, May 21st, 2013
This morning I opened my New York Times to a front-page story about the dotcom billionaire of the moment: David Karp, the twentysomething founder of Tumblr, which he’s selling to Yahoo this week for a fat chunk of change.
I expected to read a now-familiar story: socially awkward, hoodie-wearing kid holes up in his room with computer and a great idea, changes the face of the Internet landscape, goes on to collect his billions. I was expecting to read that Karp had dropped out of college, too, a la Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg.
Karp didn’t go to college. He didn’t even finish high school. But here’s the real kicker: His mother told him to drop out.
According to the Times, Karp’s mom, seeing that her son was bored with his studies at prestigious Bronx High School of Science, suggested he leave high school and be home-schooled instead. He was 14.
“I saw him at school all day and absorbed all night into his computer,” Karp’s mom, Barbara Ackerman, told the Times. “It became very clear that David needed the space to live his passion. Which was computers. All things computers.” After Karp dropped out of Bronx Science, he spent a lot of time working at MTV, building a website that went on to be acquired by Google for $50 million.
Speaking for myself, my family and I have pretty much built our lives around our kids’ education. My husband and I commute far to work, we pay too many taxes, and live in a small house, all to send our kids to good schools. These were choices we were all too happy to make, because we value our three children’s education. Even though things obviously worked out quite nicely for Ackerman’s son, I wonder if I was faced with the challenge of raising a child who was being underserved by the traditional education model, if I’d have the courage to tell my kid to give it up, and follow his true passion.
My three children still have a way to go before the high school years and making their billions of dollars (har). But this story got me thinking, and I’m sure it’s got you thinking, too: If your kid was clearly understimulated at school, would you make a move as bold as Karp’s mother did, and suggest he simply…leave?
Image: High school hallway via Shutterstock.
Friday, June 22nd, 2012
Childhood Obesity and Bullying Top Health Concerns for Voters
Amidst debate over immigration laws and health-care reform, presidential candidates may also want to put some focus on childhood obesity and bullying, according to results of a new poll showing Americans’ top priorities regarding childhood health concerns. (via Fox News)
AMA Supports Requiring Obesity Education for Kids
The American Medical Association agreed to support legislation that would require classes in causes, consequences and prevention of obesity for first through 12th graders. (via AP)
Smartphones Replacing Pacifiers? More Moms Use Phones to Distract Kids
According to a survey released by Asda, a supermarket chain in the U.K., 27 percent of mothers hand a phone over to a crying or whining kid rather than a toy. (via ABC News)
857 Desks Call Attention to Dropout Problem
On Wednesday, 857 student desks were placed near the Washington Monument to represent one of the 857 students who drop out of high school in the United States every single hour, every single school day, according to the College Board. The display was made to urge presidential candidates to put education at the top of their to-do lists. (via NY Times)
Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
In City Schools, Tech Spending to Rise Despite Cuts
Despite sharp drops in state aid, New York City’s Department of Education plans to increase its technology spending, including $542 million next year alone that will primarily pay for wiring and other behind-the-wall upgrades to city schools. (New York Times)
F.D.A. Panel to Consider Warnings for Artificial Food Colorings
WASHINGTON — After staunchly defending the safety of artificial food colorings, the federal government is for the first time publicly reassessing whether foods like Jell-O, Lucky Charms cereal and Minute Maid Lemonade should carry warnings that the bright artificial colorings in them worsen behavior problems like hyperactivity in some children. (New York Times)
10 Things Daily Deal Sites Won’t Say
1) “50% off? Not really.”
Steep discounts are the cornerstone of the pitch for daily deal web sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial , which promise 50% off or better at a local restaurant, spa, fitness center or other shop – if enough people sign up (and pre-pay) before the limited-time offer expires. But the discount may be much less once you factor in taxes, tip and any un-covered portion of the bill. (Smart Money)
Dropout Rate Was Higher, Report Finds
New York City’s high-school drop-out rate in 2008 was up to 3.5 percentage points higher than the 13% reported by the Department of Education, the New York state comptroller said Tuesday. (Wall Street Journal)