I can't be griping all the time. Here's some great news for homeschoolers—and others who don't fit in the standard school model—who have suffered, as we did, from age discrimination by community colleges. Here are some excerpts from the encouraging story in tomorrow's Orlando Sentinel. (I know. Don't ask me why a column dated February 19 is available on the 18th, but it is.)
Two years ago, [Lake-Sumter Community College] refused to admit as a dual-enrollment student a then-12-year-old Center Hill girl who was more than academically qualified to study at the two-year community college. Instead of enthusiastically embracing Anastasia Megan, a brilliant young woman home-schooled by her parents, college administrators took the most backward stance imaginable and fought to keep her out.
The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights in Atlanta, to whom Annie's family complained, recently closed the matter after LSCC eliminated its age requirement, trained employees to stop discriminating and offered Annie a chance to apply.
However, by the time LSCC offered to consider Annie in July 2011, it was clear that her course of study already had outstripped what the community college could provide. Starting in August, Annie, now 14, and another of the triplets, her brother Zigmund, will attend Queens University in Ontario, Canada. She was among 300 successful applicants to the college of business and commerce from a field of 5,000. ... Annie's brother is entering the university's engineering school (Annie's second choice), and the third triplet, Elizabeth, is enrolled in a high-school International Baccalaureate program.
[S]uch a ruling by the Office for Civil Rights is likely to have an effect on community colleges statewide. It's all about access in community colleges, and that's the way it ought to be. The Megan family neither asked for nor received a nickel in damages. The Megans didn't hire a lawyer. LSCC, however, spent about $12,000 on attorney fees fighting to discriminate against a kid whose achievements were remarkable. Asked why the college ever would fight to keep any student out, [College President Charles Mojock] said: "That was then, and this is now. We live and learn too."