by Monty Tufnel
Maverick University is partnering with Starr-Bush Elementary School, outside Dallas, Texas, to offer early college credit for Starr-Bush students. This articulation agreement, announced at a press conference at the Maverick Friends and Alumni center, comes from Texas’s new legislation aimed at getting secondary education students more college credits.
The legislation, commonly known as “Leave No Kid Sleeping In The Back,” originated after Representative Donald T. Wesson, Rep., had what he calls “an epiphany” while watching “The Big Bang Theory.”
“Why wouldn’t we want our kids to be able to complete high school by age 11 and college by age 14 like Sheldon Cooper?” said Wesson. “I quickly realized that the ‘No Child Left Behind’ act was leaving smarter kids bored silly.”
Wesson presided over the ceremony, billed as a first-of-its-kind articulation signing. Maverick President Mack E. Hardcastle and Superintendent Ward Boyce-Harper, whose district includes Starr-Bush Elementary, signed on behalf of their institutions.
“We appreciate the maverick attitude toward education that one comes to expect from Maverick University,” said Boyce-Harper, clutching his MU mug presented to him at the signing. Hardcastle added that “Maverick welcomes the chance to educate those kids at S-B Elementary. We believe it’s never too early to get kids thinking about their majors and careers.”
While the full agreement has yet to be shared with the public, some key features were mentioned during the ceremony:
- First and Second Graders will have the option of taking music or art classes, which Starr-Bush had to abandon years ago to dedicate their focus on “No Child Left Behind.” These students are now eligible to take Art 201 through Art 210, informally called the Human Body Series.
- Third Graders need to take a COMPASS exam to identify where they would place in math and English classes. For students with borderline COMPASS scores, a committee made up of Starr-Bush teachers and Maverick faculty would review and determine their eligibility for Maverick college level Math and English courses.
- By the time they reach Fifth Grade, Starr- Bush students would be eligible to take any Maverick online offering, including subjects with potentially mature material that in a traditional classroom setting won’t be available to them, for instance PSYC 223: Human Sexuality. When asked to justify this difference, Boyce-Harper cited the anonymity that comes with virtual classrooms as a plus. “The students can choose to read and participate as much or as little, as they, or the parent watching over their shoulder, want.”
- By sixth grade, students can have earned 62 credits, which will equate to an associate’s degree.
- Some courses will be offered at Maverick’s campus. Students will be bussed from Starr-Bush using money available from the state.
- In some cases, the college courses will be offered at Starr-Bush taught by Maverick faculty as often as possible. Boyce-Harper anticipates being able to save on the salaries of at least three teachers once the program gets rolling. Special cases can be allowed for Starr-Bush teachers to serve as Maverick faculty, but they must go through Maverick’s hiring process and orientation, and will be paid at Maverick adjunct wages.
Representative Wesson mentioned future ambitions. “This is just the beginning. We will now work with the district’s middle schools to partner with Maverick so that middle school students can leave with a bachelor’s degree, and then with the high schools so that students can leave with a Ph.D.”
“Texas is proud of Sheldon Cooper,” Wesson beamed, “and we will produce many more of them.”
When asked if Wesson knew that Cooper was a fictional character, he snapped back, “Of course, he is. But he is based on very real prodigies all over Texas. ‘Leave No Kid Sleeping in the Back’ will save those poor kids from years of wasted days in our education system.”