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We can miss out school

(Won't that be cool?)

Why go to learn the words of fools?
The Small Faces, "Itchycoo Park"

The common attitude of many a Book Dumb character is that "cool" people don't go to school. Even if forced, they must make absolutely no effort to do well in class, because that would indicate they care about "useless" things like how to add numbers and spell correctly.

No, you're not going crazy.

The basic idea behind this trope is that there's some place called "the street" that teaches you everything you'll ever really need to know in life. If you're on this site, the closest you've ever gotten is the fabled Sesame Street.

Very often a Family-Unfriendly Aesop.

Sub-Trope of Cool People Rebel Against Authority

Examples of School Is for Losers include:

Anime & Manga

  • Half the cast of Akira fits this trope.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho. Yusuke is too cool for school, especially in the first couple of episodes.


  • The standard attitude of the characters in The Beano.
  • Creeps in around the edges of the books in the X-Men line. While the original X-Men were sometimes shown studying actual school subjects, in recent years, despite the characters often living in a school, they're almost never shown studying anything other than using their powers, fighting, and, in recent years, "superhuman ethics." The implication being that superhumans don't need to know silly things like history, math, reading, or science.
    • Of course, virtually all of the major characters are adults, so the fact that they're not students is rather less surprising.


  • Ferris Buellers Day Off consists entirely of a character with this philosophy putting it into action by treating every authority he runs into with caustic dismissal.
  • The song "The Nicest Kids in Town" from Hairspray is practically the hymn for this ethos. In universe, at least.
  • The third Big Momma movie featured the cop's stepson thinking like that.


  • Approximately 50% of the lyrics of "She's Sexy + 17" by the Stray Cats.
  • "Billy S" by Skye Sweetnam.

Live Action TV

 "College is just a place for white people to go to to get other white people to read to them. I figure I'll just buy the books and read to myself."

Video Games

  • In Disgaea 3, the Maritsu Evil Academy rewards students who act this way. But then, it is an evil academy...
    • The teachers have very practical reasons for this: namely, with no students, they effectively get paid to sit on their ass all day. At one point, you have to beat the teacher into actually showing up for a class you take.

Web Animation

  • Harry Potter says this in one of the Potter Puppet Pals skits, where he thinks he's too cool for school. He doesn't normally think this in the actual books, though; while he doesn't always like the class work, he does like Hogwarts in general.

Western Animation

  • In the Pac-Man second season opener "Hey, Hey, Hey … It's P.J.", Pac-Man's teenage nephew had this attitude toward high school.
  • The Simpsons From "Bart's Comet":

 [skinner reads newspaper which says on the front page: "Prez Sez: School is for Losers!"]

Skinner: Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!![1]

    • Another episode, Loan-A-Lisa [2], has Lisa meeting a bunch of famous successful people who are all college drop-outs.
  • The Fairly Odd Parents Back to School episode "The Old Man and the C-" revealed that Timmy's Dad didn't finish elementary school because someone told him he was too cool for school. He then became Timmy's classmate and it seemed nothing would prevent him from graduating this time until the same person appeared again.

Real Life

  • To summarize this trope, Yes, it can be Truth in Television. Note the key word--can. As with many things in life, reality is far more complex and the applicability of this trope depends on a wide array of personal and environmental factors. While it may be easy to point to the number of people who've become rather successful despite dropping out, what often doesn't get brought up are those who didn't.
  • Truth In Television. The attitude, anyway.
    • For those too lazy to read, it claims that school makes you stupid, and that the American school system was in fact created for this specific purpose. It's a masterpiece of You Fail Logic Forever (at one point it reminds us that the modern American school system was co-created by a scientist who worked on poison gas and nuclear weapons, as a subtle hint that this makes school evil).
    • Another common charge is that colleges are only really good at producing new college professors.
  • Frank Zappa was fanatically opposed to the American educational system, claiming that it was deliberately made to turn people into zombie conformists. So he pulled his kids out of school when they turned 15, and refused to pay for any college education.
    • However, Zappa's opinion isn't as much as this trope as you might think- he had no issues with book-learning, and was a genius autodidact. He was just of the opinion that the American School System was...not very good.
      • Of course, any school system is absolutely terrible... if you don't learn well the way they teach. People learn different ways (examples, theory, hands-on, group work, etc.), and the American education system typically encourages variation, at least in part for people to learn how they themselves best learn. But the variation itself can create confusion and too little of the right kind of teaching for a person can leave them behind.
  • This troper watched a documentary about a year in the life of a high school in Baltimore. Attendance was one of the school's biggest issues. They interviewed several students and their whole attitude was this trope, with one student (who was 18 and in the NINTH grade for the THIRD time) saying the following:

  "all that learnin' and s**t is for geeks and white folks. We run the halls here. I ain't learning a motherf**king here at school. F**k school."

  • A somewhat better-thought-out article expressed a similar sentiment, although it was specifically about teen angst; the merits of the education system were cited as a main cause, but weren't the actual point. To sum up, education isn't the problem, but the way in which modern education approaches the notion of being well-rounded reduces school to a glorified daycare where children are "taught" to do menial makework with little apparent (and, frequently, actual) relevance to any but the most parochial of future careers, and teen angst is a result of youngsters being aware of this; it then contrasts this with the past, when apprenticeships were more common and had young people doing work more obviously related to a future career, pointing out that teen angst didn't usually happen back then, so if nothing else, it at least proves that it's not because of "hormones" like everyone thinks it is.
  • Both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs dropped out of college. What happened to them, you ask?


  1. This being his third Big No in a row, after Bart gets the credit for discovering the comet with his telescope and letting a prank weather balloon bearing his image out of his grip, which he had just managed to catch
  2. Not to be confused with Moaning Lisa or Mona Leaves-a
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