Should we let wunderkinds drop out of high school?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

It's one thing to say tech geniuses don't need degrees. After all, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg all dropped out of college.

But now we've got David Karp, who doesn't even have a high school diploma. Karp, 26, founded Tumblr, the online blogging forum, and sold it to Yahoo for $1.1 billion.

Which raises the question: When is it OK for a wunderkind to drop out of school?

Some folks in Silicon Valley and elsewhere say a conventional education can't possibly give kids with outsize talents what they need. Others, like Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Stanford Law School who teaches and advises startup companies, say dropping out to pursue a dream is like "buying a lottery ticket - that's how good your odds are here. More likely than not, you will become unemployed. For every success, there are 100,000 failures."

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