Jorge Rivas, Colorlines | July 18, 2011
Thirteen-year-old Autum Ashante is a child prodigy. She could read at age 2, and by 3 she was writing and performing poetry. Less than ten years later, at the age of 12, the Bronx native graduated high school and is now widely known as a poet, United Nations youth ambassador, speaker, and activist. But now it’s her poetry that conservatives have latched onto and made a fuss about. And in the hoopla, the teenager’s college dreams may be at stake.
Earlier this year Ashante was accepted at the University of Connecticut, where she planned to study medicine starting this August. Her single father, who home schooled her and recruited retired teachers to tutor Ashante, planned to move to Connecticut this summer before she started her college career.
“What she’s doing is groundbreaking but this is not about vanity,” Ashante’s father told NY Daily News. “It’s about setting the tone for other black and Latino children who will come behind her. They’re always being told they are underachievers. We want to show this can be done.”
But two weeks ago, the University of Connecticut rescinded her acceptance, declaring her not “academically ready”— although she has an IQ test score of 149. (The average college graduate has an IQ score of 115).