[C7G] The Education of Jackson Gariety Part 1 of 6

Posted on January 10, 2014


Jackson Gariety is a seventeen-year-old high school dropout. But rather than being the “at risk youth” one might expect, he’s actually a gainfully-employed software developer. Perhaps most surprisingly, Jackson is the rare young man that is primarily interested in education for its own sake.

This proposal is broken into six separate votes. The first vote concerns Jackson and the worth of a GED. The remaining five questions are all college classes Jackson is interesting in auditing. He will enroll in the two classes with the highest shareholder vote (pending approval from the university).


Jackson Gariety dropped out of high school and never received a diploma. How important is that piece of paper? Jackson lets you the shareholder decide: If this proposal passes Jackson will get his GED.

Past Discussion

wwwhitney (3 shares, voted no)
Which classes do you want to take Jackson? Why?
stan (5 shares, voted yes)
Hi Jackson- Is the GED necessary to take the classes? Is it only required if you're a degree-seeking student? Do you intend to be a degree seeking student at some point?
Jos (5 shares, voted yes)
As someone who went to KPCC while still in HS, and who was forced to get his GED when a certain Algebra II teacher refused to pass him (despite a test average exceeding 90%) for a lousy .5 of a credit, and had scholarships to UAA put on hold because I had "failed to provide proof of high-school graduation or a GED," I'm VERY pro-get the damn paper. Especially since, with absolutely ZERO study time, a reasonably intelligent human can pass the damn thing in something like 5 hours. I did mine in 4, and that's just because I was sick that day. It's important to have, and it takes almost zero time to get. Excellent ROI and protection against unexpected downside.
Andy (16 shares, voted yes)
If Jackson is as intelligent as he is described to be, the only thing to lose by taking the GED exam is a small amount of time. The ROI is huge when you consider the number of doors closed to those without a high school diploma. He may not need it now, but now is the best time to take the exam (high school still fresh), and he will likely need it later.
Mike Merrill
We like the idea of GED as educational investment. The sooner you get it the more it can pay off for you. But also curious what opportunities are closed to a person without a HS diploma or GED. After graduating HS pretty sure no one has ever asked to see mine?
abodens3 (20 shares, voted yes)
The marketing class requires two pre-req's. Are these a non-factor if simply auditing the class?
Josh Berezin (187 shares, voted no)
One of the main things a high school diploma (and later on, a college degree) signals to employers is the ability to complete long-term goals. I would urge you to identify other opportunities to demonstrate that you have that quality. It's important. I don't see any particular advantage to you in getting a GED — you're not going to be applying for the kinds of jobs that require proof of any particular education. Perhaps the largest corporations, along with government entities, would be strict about educational requirements, but most smaller employers are going to care about your track record and your ability to get the work done.
LNSCarol (0 shares)
It's a short test in the grand scheme of things. I don't see the down side to taking it. Do it, get it done. And don't find an opportunity closed to you in five, ten, twenty years simply because the world changed and standards changed. And that will all happen. You're young now, and this won't hurt. It may be annoying to have to take the test, but not as annoying as going to high school. So do it and check it off the list of things people do in life.
Jos (5 shares, voted yes)
Direct counter-point to Josh: A GED or Diploma *IS* required if he wants to attend university. Employers won't want the GED, but they may want the university degree. Better to have the GED and not need it than to need it and not have it 5 years down the road.
Syed (1 shares, voted yes)
Stating that it's an investment assumes that there is some kind of planned return, either short-term or long-term. I don't agree that it's an investment, as very likely Jackson's path in life will be one that he creates for himself. If anything, a GED for Jackson is an option; it *may* grant him the option to attend or audit courses at university or community college. Another point I'd like to make is that a GED is an *educational* option, but we clearly see that Jackson is not concerned with an education; what he seeks is edification. The former is a formal process that bestows credentials independent of actual knowledge or wisdom acquired. The latter is what curious, contemplative folk like Jackson crave. Although I voted nay on principle, when it comes down to it, we're only talking about a few hours of time, so there's no real downside.
Mike Merrill
@Syed, If I could "like" your reply I would.
ritchey (60 shares, voted yes)
The shareholders appear to have some strange ideas about auditing college courses. English Composition?? Really??? Basic writing skills aren't something that an intelligent, enterprising young man like J.G. can learn and develop on his own? Also: Advertising/Marketing?? Those classes are a joke. We can all agree that knowing how to market yourself and/or your product is a valuable skill. The problem with these classes is that they don't actually teach you that skill. They teach you textbook pseudo-science, e.g. the "law" of supply/demand, the maxims and old wives' tales of the ad industry, etc. J.G. can do much better, and he'll be much more successful, even within the field of marketing, if he thinks for himself rather than memorizing bland adages. The "Culture and Society" class looks pretty bland, too (obviously for different reasons). Speaking as a college professor, I truly believe that the Critical Theory Seminar and Structures & Strategies classes are so clearly superior to all other courses that J.G. is considering. Both courses offer the possibility of in-depth engagement with their respective topics. No bland overviews here! J.G. will actually exercise his brain, and come away with a broad sense of key issues in Theory and Practice. Seriously! The Critical Theory Seminar is so useful, FOR LIFE. And Structures & Strategies will exercise the creative faculty in conjunction with the critical faculty. Just a great combo. As a college professor, it is my sincerest hope that my recommendations will be given serious consideration by all K5M shareholders. I urge you to change your votes!
Andy (16 shares, voted yes)
[quote="Syed, post:11, topic:8"] Although I voted nay on principle, when it comes down to it, we're only talking about a few hours of time, so there's no real downside. [/quote] Principle? I just don't get that. You agree that there is no downside, understand that at some point in his life there COULD be an upside, yet vote nay. If they're offering a free insurance policy for something has a 0.01% chance of happening, I'll take that policy. If they're willing to give me a free lottery ticket with a one in a million shot of winning, I still take the free lottery ticket. Life is long, and unexpected things happen often. Murphy's Law. If it's that easy for him to get one, this kid SHOULD have a GED. Let's not use his life to make statements about our principles.
Syed (1 shares, voted yes)
You've made a compelling argument, which has led me to change my vote. Thank you for pointing out the flaw in my thinking.
Mike Merrill
That insurance policy isn't free... it's at the cost of preparing for the GED. I'd guess not many of us here would take the GED for a "free" insurance policy on something with only a 0.01% chance of happening. I'm not arguing against the GED, I just think it's important to recognize that there is a fair amount of effort involved.