Does earning a GED mean you are not as intelligent as one who has earned a traditional high school diploma? Does it mean that you are less employable or less successful? Generally, many people view a GED as inferior or not as good as a high school diploma.

preschool-clip-art-16Is it because high school is hundreds of hours of instruction, or the fact that high school is believed to better prepare students for college, and the General Education Diploma does not? Instead of viewing the GED as second-rate, take a moment to think of it as alternative education; a way for those who do not perform well in a traditional education setting to have a second chance at achieving their goals! The 2014 GED test is a test of Reasoning, Analyzing, and Critical Thinking, with this being said, a GED student would need to have a solid foundation, and good cognitive skills in order to earn the credential. It is accepted at most colleges for college entry. Yes, there may be additional steps for one who has a GED to enter college, but it is only one extra hurdle to jump over before a person makes it to the finish line. Take for example, a participant in my GED program, Tarnesha. For whatever reason, did not finish high school, but obtained her GED. Her goal is to become a nurse. She was not able to attend the local university immediately upon earning her GED, but she doesn’t mind stacking credentials! She recently graduated from the local community college, has this credential in the medical field, and now will be working as a phlebotomy technician. In the fall, she plans on attending the university. Her cognitive abilities along with drive, motivation, and confidence have allowed her to meet targets on her goal path.

images-35Studies show that there is not a difference between the cognitive skills of those who have a GED and those who earn a high school diploma. Good cognitive skills as well as “soft skills” are what makes one more successful and more employable. If students are performing well in high school, they should stay there, but the fact of the matter is that some do not. Students have often said that they drop out of school because of things that happened in their environment or they did not have responsible parents. They have also said that they just did not do well at regular school, and sometimes there is not funding available for public school systems to offer solid, unconventional routes to educate students who have issues such as these.

Just because these students have issues, and are high school drop-outs, doesn’t mean that they are not material for success, or that they do not possess the cognitive skills needed to go on to college, become entrepreneurs, or achieSchoolkids2ve whatever success is to them.

There are excellent GED programs for those who need them, often at local community colleges. Some of these programs, like any alternative education program are designed to meet students where they are. Society, as a whole, has made it a point to look down on earning a GED, which leads to a lack of confidence in those that have dropped out. GED students sometimes do not believe they should be in a GED class. Yes, some could’ve stayed in school, but we must embrace alternative education, and celebrate with recipients of it when they do take advantage of the second chance. Society should know that there is no difference in the cognitive skills of a traditional high school graduate and a GED recipient.

––– Shamonti Mobley, Instructor

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