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Too Cool for School

I Hate School: How to Hang in and When to Drop Out
Wirths and Bowman-Kruhm

Submitter: And they do have serious discussions about the dropping out option, because “school isn’t for everyone.” So you’re advised to at least have a full-time job lined up first and to consider taking the GED. If you need to drop out in order to help support your family and don’t actually hate school, consider combining a day job with night classes. If you’re just tired of school, shake things up by getting a part-time job and taking an extra year or two to graduate. (Note this is for junior high and up.)  Also, if you would prefer to graduate but school is totally uncool to your friends, get a younger sibling to smuggle your books home every day. “Carry papers in your boots.” The artist feels your pain. “She says her favorite subjects were lunch and boys.”

Holly: This book, in its day, seems like it was much more useful than just helping kids decide if they should drop out of school.  The problem is, with a title like this they wouldn’t know it can help them with the underlying reasons why they hate school.  I am a little worried about the “groups listed in the last chapter of this book” because they may not exist any more, or have been re-named, or have new contact information.

0 Responses to Too Cool for School

  • I could tell this book was from the 80’s just by looking at the illustrations. I like the peer pressure angle (school is, like, sooooo uncool) as well. Is there a more recent edition floating around? Something with updated contact information for those groups.

  • Actually, the advice the books gives is not so terrible, maybe a little outdated. It may work better as a social service pamphlet than a book. I don’t know of many public schools which still offer night classes. I’m not so sure about telling kids to have a full time job lined up before taking the GED. If anything that needs to be reversed.

  • i had a choice?? who knew? apparently, this book was checked out when i was perusing those library shelves so many years ago.

  • I’ll probably get in trouble but I think this type of book is really excellent: formal education really is not the best choice for everyone!

  • I worked in a GED tutoring center for almost a year before I got a library job. There are many high school students for whom dropping out is a totally valid option–even the best one. On the other hand, the popular perception of the GED is that it’s soooo easy, so kids who are just a little bored with school think they’ll just waltz in and pass it on the first try. Many of those find out they’re not as smart as they thought they were, and it would have been much easier for them to just coast until graduation. I’m all for anything that clearly and honestly addresses these options before they make such a life-changing decision. But yes, this one is definitely outdated!

    BTW, I found that while male students had all kinds of reasons for dropping out, almost all the girls and women we tutored were there because they got pregnant. Some were still high school aged and scrambling to pass the GED before the baby was born (these were the students I admired most, for their foresight), while others had gained perspective from a few years of trying to support a kid without a HS diploma or equivalent. I wonder if this book addressed pregnancy at all?

    • Yes, why is the GED looked down upon as a lesser degree than a high school diploma? It’s not the same as taking all honors classes, but for the struggling student, the GED is much more challenging to get than a diploma. Plus it shows maturity that someone would go back and finish up their degree. I’ve never understood the general attitude towards a GED.

      • I don’t know why people look down on GED grads, but I must admit it gets my back up a little bit when they do! I worked with plenty of kids and adults who certainly didn’t deserved the “loser” stigma–in a lot of cases they just got hit by life stuff that could happen to pretty much anyone.

        I forgot to mention in my original comment that the GED test is normed on graduating high school students. The 67th percentile of those scores is what the actual GED grads must reach in order to pass. In other words, 66% of graduating seniors score lower could not pass the GED (on the first try, without studying).

  • Because being honest means professing your love for coked-up, guitar-playing cats. Follow your bliss!

    I think when the book was published you could drop out and find a decent-enough job to support yourself, but those days are over with the move from manufacturing to a service and information-based economy. Now a college B.A. is the new high school diploma.

  • Sadly, this book looks like it could be more helpful than my school’s guidance department. At least it doesn’t come with a crabby secretary.

  • Reading a book? That’s exactly what kids that don’t like school want to do…

    • I beg to differ . . . Often the kids who love to read are the ones who hate school the most – because they’re bored and unchallenged.

      • Kids who drop out of school do not do so because they are bored. That’s an absurd rationale. That’s what “dropouts” tell people so they don’t have to own up to the truth: being a student, doing work, pushing through, is hard. And some people simply don’t have the ability to do anything that’s hard.

        Some people look down on students who drop out of school because they admire those who are able to finish something that’s difficult, that they find challenging. It’s hard to look up to someone for saying “This is stupid,” and dropping out.

  • I too want a shirt with a picture of a cat playing the guitar on it.

  • I think we had this book in my high school library. I remember seeing something like it. (This would have been about 4 years ago.)

  • I have no idea why this book exists. Do you really have to give someone reasons why they should considering quitting? How can a sibling sneak home school wook? Sooner or later they will notice you are not there, even if your homework is.

    Doesn’t sound like any research when into this.

    I did like his next book, “The Pocket Guide to Petty Crime.” Someone has to teach the kids when and where to steal.

    • The “have your sibling sneak home school work” isn’t for students who are truant. It’s for the ones who enjoy school and want to do their homework but they don’t want to be mocked by their friends for doing so.

  • This title really makes me laugh right now as I struggle with the back-to-school blues. I love my job, but giving up sleeping in is always a struggle. When I no longer love being a school librarian I’ll have to hang it up, because I love it and it’s still hard to get up at 6:30 and go do it.

  • The book is definitely outdate, but libraries should offer some sort of materials to kid who are struggling in the traditional schools. As a former inner city high school teacher, I witnessed too many students just give up and quit with no plans.

  • I hear people recommend a GED, or kids say they want to take it, but they don’t usually realized in a lot of state you have to be 18. Or have a letter from a college or the military, or be near to 18. In fact, in my state, if you pass it at 17 they won’t even mail it to you until you TURN 18! They send a letter stating you will be getting it. So, actually, you can’t just “drop out” of school that easily.
    While this particular book is dated, and laws have most likely changed, a library, especially a high school library (where the teachers are NOT apt to tell students their options!). As someone already mentioned, a formal education isn’t for everyone, even these days. My own daughter took our state proficiency exam at 16 and started college that next fall. There have to be options for students, and they need to be able to find information on those options. Schools, as I stated, will not tell them. They don’t currrently tell any parents that standardized testing is not mandatory, they can opt their children out with just a letter to the principal.
    At least the correct and current information is on the Internet.
    If someone is over 18, I would sugggest, rather than a GED, they go to diploma classes at their school district’s adult education department.

  • Oops.

    I messed up the HTML – the title is supposed to be, “SurThrival Guide for Under 18ers.”

  • What I’d like to know is why I didn’t know about the extistance of books like this until now? Growing up in the 80s and 90s I was told by adults that drop outs always become drug addicted hookers and die horrible deaths. And school was so blasted annoying between being bullied and the fact, despite my terrible grades, I often knew and understood the material better then the teachers did.

    I want a time machine so I can go back and give my younger self this book.

  • I helped my (then) 9-year-old daughter “quit” school and we’ve never looked back! My 1-year-old son will never set foot inside a school (unless he wants to) either. We are radical unschoolers, and live with so much joy! My daughter’s love of learning has returned, and we enjoy happiness and harmony in our family life. School is certainly an option, but not for our family.

  • Do the illustrations remind anyone else of Doug?

  • I think this kind of book is very helpful . . . I’m a serious grown up professional-MLS holding librarian now, but 15 years ago I was a high school drop out. I had family issues, personal issues, it was a rough time for me and I would have loved this book. For me, dropping out was the right choice and a wise decision– the person upthread who says: ” being a student, doing work, pushing through, is hard. And some people simply don’t have the ability to do anything that’s hard.” School was as easy as pie for me and I had great grades. Dealing with everything else was hard and I’m glad I took the time I needed to get my self together. I ended up leaving high school early in my sophomore year and I didn’t return until I was a senior– I made up all my credits and graduated on time, 2nd in my class.

    Just like grown-ups, kids sometimes need space to sort out their lives. Not everyone gets a the Cleaver family and some of us have to cope with tremendous family challenges.

    • The very beloved family member who raised me did what you did, as well. In the other Great Depression, c.1937. Her MOTHER was pregnant, sick and unmarried, and my ‘mom’ dropped out of school, where she excelled, to move out into the middle of nowhere to take care of her mom and then the baby. She went back and graduated maybe a semester late, got a great job in Atlanta that led to a great 30 year career. They then raised me and they ROCKED!

  • In reply to Sara: Yes, some people do drop out because they “simply don’t have the ability to do anything that’s hard.” And other people do drop out because they are bored and unchallenged by school. For many people, especially those with high intelligence and/or high creativity, sitting in a regular classroom is akin to running in a hamster wheel – mind-numbingly boring and pointless. I’ve never understood why so many people, including many educators, think that enduring boredom and completing assignments that provide no challenge “builds character” and is to be admired. I greatly admire those who make a rational decision that school is not providing what they need and find other ways to gain an education.

  • Honestly though, it’s not surprising how many kids hate school. Half the stuff feels completely irrelevant to them.