Increased Cost Means “Fewer Adults Will Try to Get Their GED”

Let’s take a break from all this federal policy stuff and check back in with the looming GED disaster, by way of this article by Marc Larocque in today’s Taunton (MA) Gazette:

[Carmen] Botelho [director of the Taunton Adult Education Partnership] said that if the more costly 2014 GED exam is implemented as a standard in Massachusetts, it would also put a burden on adult education programs in Taunton and across the state.“Absolutely, it will be tougher for the program,” Botelho said. “We have funds available through the Taunton Literacy Council that we provide to students for the test, if they can write a letter to the council explaining the situation and its approved. It will be tougher for program in that way. It’s definitely going to be a challenge for the students. And the program will also face financial difficulty because there will likely be more requests for assistance.”

Botelho predicted that fewer adult students will try to get their GED if the costs are nearly doubled, as monthly bills and immediate family needs take precedence. (my emphasis)

Whatever the business rationale is for increasing the costs or otherwise making high school equivalency exams less accessible, pricing adults out of the opportunity to earn a high school credential doesn’t make much sense as a matter of public policy, does it? (Presuming we agree that increasing the number people in this country who have high school level credentials is desirable.) Yet despite two or more years of hearing stories like the one above, there seems to me to be sort of grudging acceptance in some circles that it’s reasonable to make the whole process “tougher” and more expensive, and I (honestly) don’t know why.

I realize that this is primarily a state matter but a national discussion about policies that would encourage more adults to acquire their high school diploma in light of these increasing costs (and other challenges) might not be a bad idea.

One thought on “Increased Cost Means “Fewer Adults Will Try to Get Their GED”

  1. After attending the national GED Testing Service conference, I’m feeling pretty upbeat about the big transition (and many in attendance seemed to feel the same resolve). There will be fewer testing centers in January and some discord with states going different routes for their high school equivalency exam, but I’m not sure I’d say that there’s a “looming GED disaster.” One thing that really impressed me at the conference was the technological support system that GEDTS is putting in place for everyone preparing for or taking the GED test. Test scores will be accompanied by diagnostics and prescriptions for study, links back to local adult ed programs, and possibly some periodic specials rates on retesting. Increased price can be a barrier, but increased value can be a motivator. I’m really interested to see how it the early months of implementation go. I think the results will be ‘disaster averted.’

Comments are closed.