With all the news about Elon Musk that involves rocket ships and flamethrowers, it’s easy to forget that the superstar entrepreneur is just like us – a parent who wants a good school for his kids.
And of course you wouldn’t expect Elon’s five boys – a set of twins born in 2004 and triplets born in 2006 – to go to just some regular old school, would you?
Ad Astra is the name of a somewhat secretive school established at the SpaceX compound that is both founded and funded by Musk.
Enrolling 40-something 7 to 14-year-olds, Ad Astra’s curriculum is a bit unorthodox because Musk reportedly feels that today’s schools aren’t offering the kind of coursework he thinks that they should. So why not do it yourself?
This means the elite group of students studies things like robotics, nuclear politics, space exploration, and the rise of artificial intelligence – and skips traditional gen eds like music and language. Problem-solving is the underpinning of this self-described “laboratory school,” and the staff hopes to instill a lifelong love of learning in its students, who themselves are responsible for choosing about half of the curriculum’s subject matter each year.
Admission to Ad Astra is supposedly so elusive and competitive that some 400 families toured the school last year in a battle over 12 available spots. Its current pool of students includes Musk’s children, and some children of SpaceX employees, among others.
And despite the fact that Ad Astra is onsite as SpaceX’s LA campus, even some of the rocket maker’s employees say they don’t know how to get their kids in the door of the ultra-competitive school.
Two slots will open this fall when Musk’s twins move on to a more traditional high school, so one wonders how much focus he’ll continue to have on Ad Astra after all of his children have completed the program. But, meanwhile, the incubator for tech entrepreneurs continues to thrive. And the administration has committed to appeasing letdown students and parents after they’ve received their rejection letters. The curriculum is reportedly open sourced to every family who applies for admission.