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May 30, 2022 Asked and Answered

After a not-so-great elementary school experience, teen law school grad wants career in education policy

By Stephanie Francis Ward

A good home-school program provided a nurturing environment that was lacking in elementary education, and the experience helped build confidence for law school, says Haley Taylor Schlitz, who left public school at age 10 and at age 19 may be the youngest Black person to complete a JD program.

The Socratic method was perhaps less daunting because of the emotional support that she had at home school, which included going to an actual school a few days per week, and on the other days doing independent learning, says the 2022 graduate of Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law.

Working on her own, she adds, was great preparation for meeting law school’s academic demands.

Indeed, Taylor Schlitz moved very quickly through the fifth grade through 12th grade curriculum, and she graduated from high school at age 13. That was after the public school that she attended denied her access to its gifted program.

Her mother, Dr. Myiesha Taylor, says she and her husband, William Schlitz, thought about whether it was worth it to stay and fight the school system. But they ultimately decided that it would be better for the family to move all three of their children to a more supportive environment. Her two younger children, Ian and Hana, also finished college in their early teens.

Send ideas for future episodes to ABA Journal Senior Writer Stephanie Francis Ward.

In This Podcast

Haley Taylor Schlitz

Haley Taylor Schlitz is a 2022 graduate of Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law. She is also the youngest person to graduate from the Texas Woman’s University, and in 2020, she was included as one of singer Beyoncé’s “This is Black History” honorees.

Dr. Myiesha Taylor

Dr. Myiesha Taylor is a board-certified emergency medicine physician and a mother of three children. She also founded Artemis Medical Society, which supports women of color physicians globally, and Brilliant in Color, an organization that helps engage parents and students in pursuing academic excellence.

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