By SARAH SARDER The Dallas Morning News
DALLAS (AP) — A 16-year-old Dallas-area girl recently shared her journey from home school to law school on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
The Dallas Morning News reports Haley Taylor Schlitz, who graduated from high school at 13, is preparing to attend Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law this fall, one of nine schools that accepted her, according to the American Bar Association.
“I think the entire educational experience has really helped me grow and learn who I am better,” Haley said. “A lot of people find that out about themselves a little bit later in life. My education has really helped me get to know who Haley is.”
Haley, who’s from Keller, was home-schooled after her parents withdrew her from public school in the fifth grade because they didn’t like the way she was being taught.
After high school, she began taking classes at Tarrant County College and started at Texas Woman’s University in 2017, according to her website.
She expects to graduate with a bachelor of science in interdisciplinary studies in May.
“Home-schooling helped me go at my own pace and thrive on my own terms,” Haley said. “I was able to skip what I knew and do what’s at my intellectual level.”
Haley was accepted to law schools at Howard University, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Texas Southern University, among others, but ultimately chose SMU, according to Texas Lawyer.
After their own experience, Haley and her mother, Dr. Myiesha Taylor, decided to write a guide to home schooling for black parents in America.
“The Homeschool Alternative,” which published in January, teaches families about the home schooling mindset, its benefits, what it requires and how to begin, according to the book’s website.
“I feel like there are a lot of students who can do what I did,” Haley said. “Obviously it’s not impossible because I did it, and I’m not a super genius. I work very hard, but I’m not out of reach.”
In 2013, Haley’s mother, an emergency physician, was so inspired by the children’s show “Doc McStuffins” that she sent the Disney Channel a collage of herself and other female doctors of color to thank them.
The show portrays a young black girl nicknamed Doc who treats her toys as patients.
Disney responded by casting her in a live-action segment. Months later, they also named a character on the show after her — Myiesha McStuffins.
Taylor told The Dallas Morning News in 2013 that it was “an unbelievable honor.”
“My kids identify with the Doc character so it’s surreal that Doc’s mother has my name. I feel like it’s full circle,” she said. “I started off as a little girl like Doc McStuffins and I grew up and became her mother, a doctor with children who are aspiring to be doctors, too.”
Haley initially wanted to go into medicine like her mother but now wants to become an attorney and advocate for gifted students from traditionally neglected communities. She has spoken out against systemic racism in American public schools.
“It is my hope that I can bring my passion for addressing education equity issues, and help facilitate a program that focuses on the legal advocacy needs of underserved students and their families in accessing gifted education programs,” she wrote in a 2018 Medium article. “The lack of access to these programs helps promote stereotypes and keeps students of color in our K-12 schools locked in an education system that views them as the problem instead of the solution.”
After she graduates from SMU, Haley hopes to practice law and become a judge. She said she also wants to open her own business, an organization similar to a school that would allow students to “thrive as themselves.”
One of her goals is to increase the opportunities for gifted and talented girls and students of color.
“I really want to help students realize their potential even if they can’t home-school,” Haley said. “I want to help families open their eyes to the opportunities that they don’t even realize are there.”
Haley knows her path isn’t typical.
“I understand that although my ’16’ is not the 16 most envision in their life, my version allows me to engage in the areas I deeply care about and advocate for a fully just and equal society,” she wrote in the Medium article. “I love my version of ’16,’ and look forward to immersing myself in the study of law.”