GED Changes Noted in the Wall Street Journal

In case you missed it, the Wall Street Journal published a piece by Lisa Fleisher late last week on the changes coming to the GED. It’s a pretty good summary of where this all stands at the moment:

Dozens of states are considering whether to jettison the GED, which is now going through the biggest overhaul in its 70-year history, and many are already hunting for alternatives among a growing list of new competitors.

The change may not be simple. Like Band-Aid and Velcro, GED is a brand name often confused as a generic. As states consider their options, a question is emerging: Will colleges and employers recognize an equivalency diploma that isn’t called the GED?

Meanwhile, this story in the Syracuse Post-Standard yesterday looks more closely at New York’s efforts to select an alternative test.

What’s not mentioned in either article is the hardship this change will be for those already in the process of preparing for the GED right now. Those who have completed some, but not all, of the five sections of the current test GED must finish up this year, or be forced to start all over when the new test is launched in January of 2014.

Also lost in most of the coverage of this issue is an analysis of the fundamental differences between running the GED as nonprofit enterprise and running it as a for-profit business, and whether it makes sense from a public policy perspective to shift to a model where a profit motive strongly influences the cost and availability of the test. ACE’s position—that there was no way to update the test without bringing in a for-profit partner—may be true, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it makes sense from a policy perspective. Assuming we think it’s a public good to have more out-of-school adult obtain a high-school diploma, do we think that what’s happening right now the best way to accomplish this outcome? Maybe so! But, the point is, that’s a discussion we’re not really having.

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