Why not let bright students take GED at 15 or 16 and then take college courses? Everybody wins and it costs less.

A reader sent me this note suggesting that the GED should be used to leapfrog high achieving kids into college-level courses. I thought the ideas were worth sharing.

Here is the reader note:

Consider some facts. First, community colleges and vocational schools (both of whom offer A.A. and A.S. degrees in Georgia) only require a GED for admission. Second, a significant percentage of college-bound high school students are capable of passing the GED by end of their junior year. Not a few are able to pass it by the end of their sophomore year. (Some by the end of their freshman year.) Yet many of these students spend their last year or two in high school taking AP courses and extraneous electives.

Why not open high schools – either charter schools or magnet schools – where the GED is the entrance examination?

You pass the GED, and you’re in. You can then spend your remaining 1, 2, 3 or even 4 years as a public school student working toward an A.A. or an A.S. degree (in general studies of course … the intent is not to compete with or replace the community college or vocational/technical system). Once that’s done, you’re off to finish your BA/BS at a 4 year school, or to enter the job market directly. This approach would expose the “college prep/AP/international baccalaureate/magnet school” stuff for the obsolete ideas that they are.

Put it this way: if you are able to gain entrance into UGA, Georgia Tech, Georgia State etc. at 18, chances are you were able to pass the GED at 15 or 16. (This is also the case for the superior students at Georgia Southern, Valdosta State and any of a number of other schools.)

So, what is the purpose of further high school level instruction beyond compiling an academic record necessary for competing for scholarships and entrance to selective universities? Not only is that not a state interest, but it would be cheaper and more efficient to send such students to more specialized high schools (instead of the “one school fits all” high schools) and let the cost of their education be borne by local school districts so that they will then need only two years of (much more expensive) college education. If nothing else, it is an idea that would totally transform the HOPE Scholarship debate (and financial crisis).

It is amazing that more people – especially charter school enthusiasts – haven’t come up with this idea already. Some of the for-profit charter schools have emphasized the GED for underachieving and low-income/disadvantaged high school kids as a good way to get them into the job market. But the GED should be used as a way to facilitate beginning college instruction earlier for the high achieving kids.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

99 comments Add your comment

West Georgia Geezer

December 10th, 2011
5:26 am

I like your idea although I don’t think it is new. My family moved from south Georgia to Ft. Lauderdale in 1967 during my junior year and I stayed behind to finish up the year. My home town had a junior college, as they were termed then, who had already admitted several people who were a year short of high school graduation. I applied and was accepted but my parents did not go along with my scheme to stay in Georgia. If you go to college early and graduate why would anyone suffer from your lack of a high school diploma? I am willing to bet the most resistant groups to this kind of path to college would be schools and teacher’s organizations who would stand to loose the best and brightest students to institutions of higher learning.

Parent of a dual enroller

December 10th, 2011
5:29 am

I think for some students this would be an answer to boredom at some schools. I will say that peer group is important in junior year as they are thinking about college etc. There is not as much personal mentoring that goes on at the college level that younger/less mature students would really benefit from. There is real value in having these students take AP level courses with their peers in a supportive setting first before they go off and venture into the less supportive arena of college. There is a leap to be made.
Students who may at first appear to be really mature,having been successful at two years or three years of high school. may find it emotionally very hard to handle the first ‘B’ grades of their careers in college. That is to be expected but not all driven sophomore level students can handle that blow to their ego. There is some down side to this potential that if parents should be aware of if they opted for this for their kids. Students can be intellectually above their peers but not always emotionally mature beyond them. Not saying this would be the case for all students, just some.


December 10th, 2011
6:46 am

One potential flaw could be age. Could my bright twelve years old child apply and if they pass (however the America Council on Education defines pass) the test, they’re in? Also the GED by itself has come under fire for being too easy, meaning that even if students did pass they may not be as prepared as if they went through high school. Then what, back to eighth grade? And how do you quantify non-successful? To me, the most potential weakness of this going widespread is social growth……it’s challenging for students to fit-in/socialize with others not in their relative age group.

This idea has merit, but as a standalone it seems to have many unattended consequences. A GED component would maybe need to be combined with other contingencies like an IQ and/or age for instance.


December 10th, 2011
6:57 am

Bright students can already take courses at the college during junior and senior years, either through dual enrollment with high school and college, or early enrollment in college. The advantage to this idea, if I’m reading it correctly, is that students would be at home and with their peer groups during their junior and senior years of high school, but instead of ‘normal’ high school courses the charter/magnet would offer the actual core courses most students take during the first two years of college.

I like it. Actually, it sounds a lot like what many European and Asian countries do – if you want to go to the college preparatory high school, you have to show that you have the skills and motivation to succeed there, or you won’t be admitted.


December 10th, 2011
7:01 am

I also think that those students who, by the end of 8th grade, cannot show that they have the skills or motivation to succeed at high school level work should be sent to either a remedial program to attempt to gain those skills, or a vocational program or apprenticeship program to learn some sort of valuable job skills.

Let the students and their parents choose which program the child attends – but if the child fails to progress due to lack of effort, perhaps a “Job Corps” like program would be more appropriate.


December 10th, 2011
7:06 am

Schools get Federal money for the number of enrolled students AND the number of students classified as “gifted.” This is referred to as FTE money.

When students are no longer enrolled, the amount of FTE money schools receive will decrease.

Again, any idea, no matter who poses it, or how it might benefit students, that doesn’t factor in FTE money, is an idea destined to go nowhere.

Former Teacher2

December 10th, 2011
7:23 am

Why not open up the GED option for all high school students in all high schools? Students have a variety of reasons for wanting to move on faster. Even the less academically motivated might put forth the effort to get the GED and go. Some young people aren’t interested in the “high school” environment of high school. Some need to get a job and get on with life. With the GED in hand, they could experience the work world. Some will soon see the need for further education and return to junior college. Less energy will be expended to keep lower performing students in high school and those students will have more options available than dropouts will. Add GED prep classes to the schedule and require them for struggling students. It might resolve a lot of issues for both teachers and students.


December 10th, 2011
7:25 am

Follow the money. The school systems would scream foul over losing money based on average daily headcount. It’s all about the money, not about educating children.


December 10th, 2011
7:26 am

I think it’s a great idea, BTW.

Beverly Fraud

December 10th, 2011
7:28 am

Maybe they can pilot this at Westlake High. If anything, being allowed to enroll early appears to exponentially decrease one’s chances of having one’s jaw broken during the school day.

Not True

December 10th, 2011
8:00 am

Not everyone wins as you would like us to believe. You need to be aware of all involved when students drop out of public schools and enter a GED Program. To begin, the schools will be the loser. With AYP and the No Child Left Behind Mandate, students who leave our public schools and obtain a GED are still considered dip-outs and it reflects on the schools AYP.. In essence, the schools will fail due to this data alone
Please be better informed


December 10th, 2011
8:04 am

I had quite a few dual enrollment students in a freshman English class this semester. They were not what I would call high achievers by any stretch, but they will all pass the class unless they fail to show for the final exam.


December 10th, 2011
8:05 am

This is a great idea. Unfortunately, we live in the State of Georgia where great ideas are seldon implemented.

bootney farnsworth

December 10th, 2011
8:13 am

most 15 year olds are not ready for the rigors of college – no matter how bright they are

hell-most 18 year olds aren’t

Beverly Fraud

December 10th, 2011
8:19 am

Well rest assured bootney, with systems like APS promoting rigorous rigorousness with a rigorous degree of rigor, most students will soon readily, if not rigorously, embrace the rigorous rigor needed to successfully manage the rigors of college.


December 10th, 2011
8:21 am

Most students who take the GED are not the academic achievers and most likely will not end up in college. Are you going to put them in the work plsce at 15?

Most college bound kids are not ready for college at 18 because they have been babied and spoon fed through high school. And you think 15-year olds are ready? Maturity wise, they are NOT regardless of their academich ability. And please don’t all of you write in and tell me that your little darlings are an exception. They are not except in VERY RARE cases. Maybe one or twp per school are ready.

God Bless the Teacher!

December 10th, 2011
8:25 am

Why not let the students who are 16 or older, who,take the GED, and pass it go ahead and leave the high school setting altogether. Those who qualify to attend Technical school could go ahead there and move on with their lives. Those who intend to go to college could go to the aforementioned academic academies. Both categories of students would be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities to an extent. Loss of FTE money may mean cutting some instructional or (God forbid) administrative positions, but RIF would be necessary if fewer students are on campus. If enough students chose to exit the location school system, then redistricting could take place to allow one or more of the now empty high schools to be turned into the academic academies. That or the facility could be bought or leased by a technical school or college as a satellite campus, maybe even hiring displaced or interested and qualified teachers to teach as faculty of the technical school or college. Why not even begin sports academies that would help feed college and/or pro sports programs. Pro teams could sponsor/lease/buy the academies as training grounds for all of the future pro atheletes. You wouldn’t need FTE funding if pro teams took on the costs of such a facility.


December 10th, 2011
8:31 am

I don’t understand what “problem” this proposal is supposed to be addressing. As some have pointed out, Georgia already has the “move on when ready” program.

As “parent of a dual enroller” wrote above:

“There is real value in having these students take AP level courses with their peers in a supportive setting first before they go off and venture into the less supportive arena of college. … Students can be intellectually above their peers but not always emotionally mature beyond them.” or as bootney put it “most 15 year olds are not ready for the rigors of college – no matter how bright they are.”

In the current system, bright 16 and 17 year-olds may spend their last two years of high school taking college level (AP or IB) courses with their peers in the more sheltered high school environment. In previous blog discussion, it seems to be quite widely thought by people who have experienced both, that actually AP courses tend to be more difficult than freshman classes at most local colleges. So the students aren’t wasting their time; they’re furthering their education in a setting that’s developmentally appropriate for most.

For those who are very mature and ready to move on out of the high school environment sooner, there’s dual enrollment already available.

The original piece includes the statement “This approach would expose the ‘college prep/AP/international baccalaureate/magnet school’ stuff for the obsolete ideas that they are.” All I see changing in the writer’s proposal, however, are the labels. Apparently if we changed the course labels from AP and IB to A.A. and A.S., that would be an exciting new idea? I don’t see it.


December 10th, 2011
8:32 am

My concerns are two: The GED is not an indicator of college readiness. It is a minimal test. (The GHSGT was also). So you could easily have kids GEDing out who are not ready for college.

Second, many kids, no matter how bright, are not ready for the level of work that some colleges demand. So you have kids taking college courses that are even more immature than the ones we have now, and possibly with even poorer skills. How is that working out, given the rate of remedial work we have in colleges now, with kids who “should” be more skilled/ready?

Now, I would support kids who have no interest in school, or whose only interest is causing trouble, to GED out. Unfortunately, these kids are highly unlikely to be able to.

I don’t think HS’s AYP or funding should figure into this at all, but of course among the decision-makers, it will.

mountain man

December 10th, 2011
9:08 am

I don’t think this is a reasonable idea. Most “high achiever” high scool students are not going to want to go to a Tech School or other institute which will accept a student with a GED. You will not get into UGA or Tech with a GED. The GED program was created as a way of channeling kids who drop out of school back into a program that will get them a minimum qualification high school diploma equivalent. Make no mistake, in the eyes of an employer, it is NOT the same as a high school diploma (as if that is worth anything). There is more to graduating from high school (and college for that matter) than just knowing the very basic facts. High achievers should rather explore first the AP courses the high school offers, then joint enrollment at a local college. Beware, in case anyone hasn’t told you, colleges such as UGA look more favorably on high school AP courses than on joint enrollment courses at a college(i don’t know why). My daughter took joint enrollment because our small town high school did not offer many AP courses. UGA wait-listed her een though she was an honor student and had many joint enrollment credits, as well as a host of extracurricular activities.


December 10th, 2011
9:21 am

I too am skeptical about this proposal due to the students’ possible lack of emotional maturity. College is definitely more rigorous, and on top of that, there’s the whole adjustment to living on campus or being thrust into different age-appropriate situations (e.g., 16 year olds along side 22 year olds? Not sure about that).

Also, another question needs to be asked: why are students in such a hurry to leave school? Will the economy be able to absorb all these new job applicants?


December 10th, 2011
10:01 am

I had a Gifted student who started in DeKalb but moved to Gwinnett during her high school years. She had a problem with Gwinnett letting her do a joint enrollment so she took her GED at 16 and went to Harvey Mudd (excellent college) with a scholarship. Subsequently, she got her Masters in theoretical chemistry (at a different college). This worked very well for her. I know many students who did joint enrollment, but they were ready to go to college at 15 or 16 so this seems like a year of marking time to me.

Same Old, Same Old

December 10th, 2011
10:12 am

Meanwhile, reality finds — For the second time in a month, a Westlake High School student has sustained a broken jaw during a fracas on the south Fulton campus.

reality 2

December 10th, 2011
10:16 am

Is there any study that shows the success rate of people who obtain GED in obtaining an Associate degree and beyond?


December 10th, 2011
10:29 am

“The GED is not an indicator of college readiness.”

And the fact that kids spend one or two more years in high school is? I don’t think so, anyway it depends on the kid.

If someone wants to move on, they should be able to take the GED and go. As far as age is concerned, if they pass the GED at a young age (15, 16, 17), they stay home and attend a local college for a couple of years and then transfer.


December 10th, 2011
10:30 am

You naysayers are overlooking the main component of the idea: it IS NOT talking about sending kids to college after passing the GED. Instead, it is about opening a new style of alternative high schools. Currently, alternative high schools exist for delinquents and low achievers. These would be alternative high schools for bright kids and hard workers: high achievers. The GED would only serve as an entrance test to the alternative high school, which would be a charter or magnet school. It would still be a high school, but rather one that would replace the college preparatory or AP courses and unneeded electives for a curriculum that would lead to an associate’s degree.

A charter high school that does this already exists. It is in Cobb County and cooperates with Chattahoochee Tech to allow its kids to get associates degrees and technical certifications while still in high school. That charter school is very popular with a waiting list a mile long. Why not replicate it?

Yes, dual enrollment exists, but it is only available to or used by a small percentage of kids. Plus there is no need for dual enrollment if an alternative high school can take up the functions of an alternative general purpose community college merely by eliminating a lot of unnecessary courses and functions.

As for the maturity issue: well the kid is still going to enter college at 17 or 18 like always. The difference is that the kid will enter college with an A.A. degree and be 2 years from an undergraduate degree. The remaining 2 years – presuming a 4 year college experience as a norm – could be used to pursue a master’s degree. 4 years instead of 6 at less cost to the parents and to the state.

This is merely taking what is already being done on a piecemeal basis already and making it widely available.


December 10th, 2011
10:54 am

Former Teacher2: I love your comment.

One more thing, colleges need to stop requiring Gen Ed courses unless they pertain directly with the student’s interests and/or major/minor. Waste of time and money.

Tired Teacher

December 10th, 2011
11:05 am

We’re told that if a kid drops out to get a GED, it hurts our graduation rate. Even if the kid continues on to community college and beyond. So, instead, you have a kid sitting in your class, miserable, and do they really need to read Macbeth to be successful? Also, I myself, have made my daughter get a GED; she was gifted, but the high school was too filled with craziness. She is successful now..straight A’s in college. I’m now considering pulling my son out. The fights everyday; the profanity; the disrespect…why should he witness this? Once you leave high school, so much of that nastiness disappears. There is a world out there without the vulgarity. I live it. It’s just when I’m in my local high school teaching that I experience the HUGE disrespect, the lack of basic skills, and why should my son sit in a room where the poor teacher has to deal repeatedly with discipline, and then find materials that meet the extremely low reading levels of students? Bring back alternative schools. AND quit assuming that it is the teacher’s fault for not engaging the kids. If I get one more evauation that addresses my not engaging students who are failing every class and cuss me out daily, I too will go teach GED classes. At least there, I will teach those that truly want something.

NW GA Math/Science Teacher

December 10th, 2011
11:37 am

You have broached the idea, here, of an entrance exam for high school! Schedule me for an interview now – I want to teach there!

Private schools work

December 10th, 2011
11:43 am

That’s an interesting take. Not sure if it’ll work but at least it’s an idea. Bright kids, whose parents can’t afford private schools, are often kept in classes with idiot kids with idiot parents.

The only other thing to do is to eliminate the department of edumacation because it is the BIGGEST waste of tax dollars and has driven our schools into the ground.


December 10th, 2011
11:52 am

First, we’d have to change (again) the funding for the university system. Right now, there’s absolutely no advantage to one of the flagship schools (or any USG school) to accept these students and every reason to want to discourage this. Let me explain:

There is no state funding to colleges and universities by enrollment (FTE). As of this moment, FTE funding still written into the law but was not funded by the legislature this school year. Word is that it will be taken out of the funding formula altogether this spring. So, that means no money per student.

What there is/ will be instead is money for graduation rates, and, perhaps, for retention. The devil in the details is that no transfer student ever counts toward a college’s or university’s graduation or retention rate. Those are calculated only for each cohort of “first time, full time” students. Graduation is the number who receive a bachelor degree (at the same institution as the one of first enrollment) within six years or an associate degree within three years. Only the first-time, full-time students who come in with no college credits are counted.

So, a program like this? If the flagships are smart, they’ll try to discourage it, because it will drive down the quality of those first-time, full-time students by attracting the best students from the traditional high schools and putting them into programs that guarantee those students can never be any help, funding-wise, to a college or university.

And how would the flagships go about discouraging such programs? By limiting the numbers they accept, or by not accepting them at all.

If you like this idea, talk to your legislator about the funding for colleges and universities. It’s not set in stone yet. If we all want to be innovative and flexible at both levels of education, our colleges and universities have to be credited for all the students they serve.


December 10th, 2011
12:04 pm

Why don’t we change the funding methods?? Why don’t we change how we evaluate the grad rates? Let’s say a junior is passing his/her classes, opts to go the GED route, passes it, and enrolls in college – that should be a win for the school, not a loss – that school (and student) did what needed to be done.

I think it’s a great idea – I think more flexibility is needed – education shouldn’t be one size fits all based on the day you were born.

There is a state that was considering changing the funding of its schools to better facilitate ideas like this – I want to say it was Idaho or Oregon…can’t remember, and don’t have time to look.


December 10th, 2011
12:47 pm

As others have stated, there are programs already in place for the truly advanced student to begin college enrollment early.

At some point, those in charge are going to have to acknowledge that taking vocational training out of high schools was a terrible mistake. Even students whose ambitions include college can benefit from vocational training. I’ve used the three W’s (welding, wiring, and woodshop) a heck of a lot more than calculus in my adult life.

Isn’t that what high school is supposed to be about – preparing me for my adult life?

What schools need to do is to develop programs to get the bottom half of the student population prepared for life. The fact that a good percentage of them are sitting in high school performing at an elementary grade level is a crying shame.

These kids need basic household finance instruction such as balancing a checkbook, concepts of compound interest, and how “zero percent financing” really isn’t. They need to know how to read and write at a utilityman level.

Let’s face it. These kids are not going to college. Doubtful many of them can get into a technical school. Public schools hand them a worthless diploma and pat themselves on the back for their “high graduation rate.”

That has to change.


December 10th, 2011
12:48 pm

The students who are above average in their studies are already well prepared for college with the AP & dual enrollment classes that are now in place as several have stated.

The students who would benefit the most through a program change would be the kids who have ability but little interest in school. Why not allow these students to work at their own pace in an adult GED setting for their basic classes for 1/2 a day and spend the other 1/2 of the day teaching a technical skill that they can use to enter into the workforce. Florida offers this to high school students but only after they have demonstrated they are failing. Why wait until then. Many of these children are capable and interested in being successful in their lives. They simply don’t function in the model current public schools provide. By the time a student reaches 9th grade everyone associated with these children should have a good idea where their future is headed. Put them on a track to success instead of the Highway to Hell!

If public education is worried about funding being lost why not include these programs in the high schools. We offer college prep directed studies but little else for the rest of the students. Show them the way. That’s what you’re there for.

Forward March!


December 10th, 2011
12:54 pm

As a college instructor who teaches joint enrollment students and a parent of a high school junior that takes AP classes (and plans to do joint enrollment his senior year), I can promise you that not all high school AP / IB classes are as rigorous as college classes. I’ve had students who earned an A or B in AP Calculus barely pass my College Algebra class. It depends on the system and socioeconomic level of the community the student is in. The ugly truth is, if they can’t earn a 4 or 5 on the AP exam, their grade is likely inflated.

I’ve also taught joint enrollment students who were the only As in the section of College Algebra or Precalculus… some students are just more mature at 16, both academically and emotionally, than their peer group.

Considering that the core curriculum of the first two years overlaps about 75% with a good college prep program, there really isn’t a need for both of these. I’d be more than willing to take the capable juniors and seniors of the high school into my college classroom and let them get done two years earlier but as someone has already noted, it’s all about money.

Incidentally, the problem with the high school diploma is there is a big difference between the students who barely get it and the ones that are good students but not honors material. When the former get to college they usually are the ones that dropped out because they should’ve never graduated in the first place–they come face to face with how little they actually learned in high school and are unwilling to actually learn it the second time around.

my own two cents

December 10th, 2011
12:59 pm

s2k, FTE money comes from the state of Georgia, not the Federal government.

The GED is not an indicator of college readiness. I don’t have any hard facts in front of me, but what is the graduation rate from college of students who obtain admission based on a GED? Instead of using the GED, why not let students take the EOCT in each course and if they pass it with a certain percentage, let’s say 80%, why not give them credit for the course? These students can graduate earlier and go on to college with a true high school diploma. A true high achieving students would be able to get 80% and the 80% level would weed out many of the students who just Christmas tree the test and manage to pass it.
Of course that would require the state to develop an EOCT for EVERY required academic course and I am sure the multi-billion dollar testing industry would love that.

My idea is not fool-proof, but I think it is better than giving the students a test that is normally given to people who are not smart enough or just don’t want to do high school level work.

A teacher

December 10th, 2011
1:04 pm

This is a bad idea simply because there is no substitution for a high school diploma. It is common practice that college enrollment boards seek those students with a high school diploma for admittance and save all applications where the student received a GED to be considered after all other diploma-bearing students and internationl students had been accepted. If the GED were of the same quality as a high school diploma, I think it would be a good idea, but even the military sees the GED as an inferior option and requires it’s soldiers, who went the GED route, to obtain a higher percentage on the same test than someone with a high school diploma and, once the test is passed, to be admitted into the military at a lower rank than a high school graduate.


December 10th, 2011
1:09 pm

I’ll add there’s a lot more to high school than just the classroom. My son plays two sports, performs in plays as part of the drama club, and is involved in the business-oriented club DECA. These things make him a better person: he is more well-rounded, is open to more ideas, interacts with a diverse group of people, and keeps him physically fit. Having students progress more quickly through their academics in a laudable goal but there’s more to adolescence and preparation for adulthood than just what’s studied in class.


December 10th, 2011
1:09 pm

The underlying assumption is that the GED would measure college readiness. Another assumption is that by “passing” this test, the student would demonstrate mastery of enough content to be deemed ready for college. There are several points of faulty logic here.

1. The GED does not measure a person’s readiness for college. By passing the GED, the only thing demonstrated is that the student meets minimal competency in the rudiments of math, science, English and social studies. I shudder to think that this level of performance is satisfactory to others and deemed college material.

2. The students who fare well in college have gained not only content knowledge from high school courses, but has also developed successful work habits. The best college candidates have taken the toughest high school courses, learned how to write papers, work well with peers, think critically, and read. They usually have a strong work ethic and understand that a certain amount of sweat goes into any worthwhile undertaking.

3. There are many social aspects of college life that 15/16 year olds are not ready to deal with.

There are many possibilities for students right now to become joint-enrolled in college and technical schools. The students who are motivated and ready have these options. There may be some ways we can make it easier for them, but giving the GED is not an appropriate option.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

December 10th, 2011
1:20 pm

Substitute the SAT and several of its subject matter tests for GED.

By the way, if the “cut score” on the GED remains at the point at which 30% of the graduating high school seniors in the sample population scored below that point and if our graduating seniors function academically below national norms, more than 30% of our state’s graduating seniors would not meet the GED “cut score.” By the way, the GED “cut score” used to be set at the 8th grade-level.

Does everybody understand now why GA educ-RATS wanted to opt for a HS “achievement” test(the GHSGT) other than the readily available, much cheaper, valid and reliable GED Test?


December 10th, 2011
2:06 pm

Anecdotally speaking, AP classes at a strong high school are usually more challenging than community-college courses. Plus, you’d be breaking up a group of gifted peers who stimulate each other intellectually and throwing them into an environment where they’re surrounded by less capable, albeit older, students.


December 10th, 2011
2:21 pm

Substituting the GED for a high school diploma is a terrible option. The GED is so minimal, it is not accepted by a lot of schools, and the schools that do accept it have low graduation rates. Passing a GED does not mean you can succeed in college or the work world. Let’s improve the high school education and experience, and also develop more option with in high schools. We can develop more tracks, raise the quality of education for the high achievers, and strengthen technical education options for those who are interested in that track. There is so much to learn during high school beyond just studying and passing tests or the GED. Why are we trying to rush our youth through these years? Some educators advocate taking a year off between high school and college, providing our youth (especially our boys) with time to mature, develop their interests, and experience life, which often leads to a more mature and focused college student.


December 10th, 2011
2:58 pm

Why not let the dumb kids take the GED and get out of the wsay for the smart kids to learn?

Public HS Teacher

December 10th, 2011
3:13 pm

College is an environment for mature young adults. 15 and 16 year olds are far from mature. Their brain has not even finished growing/maturing by far. Even if they pass the GED I fear that they would fail in such an environment. Sure, there are the rare exceptions, but to make this “mainstream” would be dangerous.

I do like the idea mentioned by “roughrider” here. Why not offer the failing kids the chance to pass the GED. These kids are the ones that simply do not want to be in school, so why force them? Let them get out and find a job. Maybe in their future they may want to return to the classroom, but for now it just isn’t for them.

Career & Technical Education

December 10th, 2011
3:16 pm

There are parts of this worth discussing and others that are completely absurd. Not all kids need a 4 year degree or even an A.A. Some just need technical training. That can be offered in high school or technical college. We have wasted too many years telling all students to go to college. College is way overrated. Lets have both college bound and technical oriented students take a combination of academic classes and career & technical classes so that they can ALL be ready for work.

A kid with a 4 year college degree is useless. Thats why many of them go back for technical training after they have gotten that crappy college degree. Less AP and more technical is the way!

Tony R. Vaughan

December 10th, 2011
3:22 pm

I like the idea, but expect teachers and teacher unions will oppose it. I would also like to see H.S. students be able to take CLEP test both for H.S. credit and college credit. Many states have passed laws prohibiting the granting of H.S. credit for CLEP test. Take a guess who was behind that little piece of legislation.


December 10th, 2011
3:38 pm

“Anecdotally speaking, AP classes at a strong high school are usually more challenging than community-college courses.”

I suspect this is true. The average community college classroom is a real mixed bag of students who are ready and able to do the work, students who are able but not ready, and students who are neither ready nor able.


December 10th, 2011
3:39 pm

Sounds like a good idea at first , until you start thinking about when these kids do apply for jobs college degree or not and they have to put GED there is a stigma that people who get GED’s are uneducated that is not true at all but it is a stigma that still unfortunately remains.


December 10th, 2011
4:22 pm

I took the GED right after I turned 16, and I started college. The GED had an advantage. Since it’s a scored test, I was admitted without the need for taking an SAT. My GED scores were high enough that I could start college right away. I didn’t have any social problems in college because I was there to study and get my credits. After a year, I joined the Army, at a higher rank than I would have had as a high shook grad, and I was stationed in Korea when my class graduated from high school. I don’t think the GED ever held me back. I’ve gone on to finish college, I have a fairly successful career, and I’m in law school.

I think a GED and college is a viable option for some. The one thing I’d be concerned about is students getting a GED without a plan for afterwards. Having nothing more than a GED without a realistic career plan seems like a disaster in the making. The GED is a minimal standard that covers core topics. I don’t know that high school is going to give anyone a great deal of career prep, but if college, tech school, or a solid career plan isn’t in a student’s future, they need everything they can get from high school.

I every high school student should graduate with some sort of technical skill. It won’t hurt the college track nods (who could test out with a GED and go to college early), and it would make a normal high school had employable.

Ole Guy

December 10th, 2011
5:00 pm

On the surface, this sounds like a great idea…saves time; saves money; saves, saves, saves. However, employing the same reasoning, why not send “promising” kids straight to the OR/Operating Room? Why waste all that time and money on med school, internship, etc. If the kid’s smart; wants to be a doctor…WHAM! “Scalpal please”…the answer is quite obvious; an answer which I have advocated all along…DISCIPLINE…the discipline to absorb a lot of stuff and spit it back out; the MENTAL DISCIPLINE to apply one’s self to short and long-term goals. For this very reason, the GED is nothing but a short cut to psuedo achievement.

Remember those ole Alka Seltzer commercials…”Plop plop/fiz fiz. That, of course, is fine for what ails ya; it also reflects the contemporary version of instant this and instant that…instant gratification. IT SIMPLY DON’T WORK.

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, regardless of short-term objectives…college, trade school, the work world…needs to acquire the discipline, honed through a standard high school education steeped in the sciences (which includes advanced mathematics), some biosocial studies (so that maybe, just maybe, we’ll start seeing a few generations who ar4e somewhat semi-aware of themselves, eachother, and the world around them.

Now tell me…do you really think the smartest kid can acquire those values in a gd GED?