A lawyer from Nassau in the Bahamas, [Turnquest’s mother] moved the family there from Florida when Turnquest was a child. Deciding the school system wasn’t challenging enough for her bright kids, she spent several months researching curriculums from around the world, looking at which countries were doing best in which subjects and why.Then she turned all that into her own educational plan, rented space in her office building, hired teachers and enrolled her children on to a programme she named Excelsior Academy. She even made a school uniform for them. […]When Turnquest was 12, the family moved back to the US and the children went back to schools. By this time she was far ahead of her classmates.
Turnquest’s story is certainly unusual, but it also highlights a key difference between the American educational system and many others. In the UK, students can get law degrees as undergraduates, and they usually finish college in three years. Particularly gifted students like Turnquest can go even faster. In America, by contrast, one of the functions of our educational system is to make sure that the fast kids graduate pretty much at the same time as the slower ones. There’s no doubt that many students in the US could progress much faster, but there are fewer opportunities for them to do so.In the future, we are going to need a more individualized and flexible educational system. Such a system might help more bright kids rack up achievements early, saving their parents and society a bundle of money in the process.[Law scales image courtesy of Shutterstock]