06 Jun 2007 Family Investigated for Sending Child to College
An ace student who skipped high school to complete college was prevented from receiving the associate’s degree she earned while still a teenager. Because the child prodigy was not 19 years old, state education regulators in New York did not allow her to sit for a G.E.D., which the college required in order to award the degree.
Family Investigated for Sending Child to College
When child prodigy Angela Lipsman graduated from the eighth grade at New York City’s Public School 187, she immediately began taking full-time college-level courses at the Borough of Manhattan Community College and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Although the 15-year-old earned enough credits for an associate’s degree, her father, Daniel, became subject to an investigation for alleged educational neglect because Angela skipped high school to go directly to college.
Angela and her father live in the Washington Heights neighborhood. Daniel had vowed that he would “go to prison before my daughter goes to a city high school.” Local high schools suffer from overcrowding, and the educational environment is so poor that Washington Heights’ George Washington High School saw just 37 percent of the student body graduate on time in 1998.
New York Education Department regulations require children to be enrolled in school until the age of 17, and say that Angela cannot get a general equivalency diploma until she is 19. Even though Angela had maintained a 3.84 grade point average in her collegiate classes, the college would not give her the degree she earned because she never received a high school diploma. Daniel filed an age-discrimination lawsuit challenging the age requirements, but New York State Supreme Court Judge Bernard Malone ruled that Angela should not have been allowed to skip high school – even if it was to go straight to college.
Daniel Lipsman asserts that the state should not dictate what age a child must be in order to move on to the next level of schooling: “If the kid can demonstrate the achievement, give him or her the credential. She has a birth certificate. A G.E.D. is not a substitute birth certificate. This law is irrational and serves no legitimate governmental interest.”
Angela had to travel to New Jersey in order to take her GED test. She then faxed the results to Excelsior College in Albany. Ironically, she received her associate’s degree a week before she got her GED. In January, 2005, Angela received her bachelor’s degree with a 3.87 G.P.A. from her 53 undergraduate courses. She has completed four graduate courses and plans to earn a master’s degree before she turns 18.
Sources: New York Daily News (July 16, 2003), New York Post (July 16, 2003), Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Lipsman
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