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yvonne

GED - Why not?

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Asking for a friend whose senior year son is has been at a small private school for 11th & 12th. It's not a high end private school, so they don't have any real college advisors like other private schools might.

Her son is failing two of five classes this year. He had a similar record last year. He won't read the books assigned for English, claiming he can just read summaries. He won't do most of the work for his English class. He's very bright, but stubborn and angry. I don't know what's behind the anger.  He chose to continue with a second year at this private school when he could have returned to public school. 

I know.... the big issue here is the anger and attitude, but life goes on and while they're working on that, they need to figure out what to do about school. Early on, in middle school through maybe 9th grade, he had wanted to go on to a top 4-year college, but that's obviously not happening now.

My friend mentioned today that she's advising him to take the GED and go to community college for a year or two while working. Given that he will probably fail 2 of 5 classes because he is not willing to do the work, I guess getting a GED might be the only way forward? 

I know a GED is a distinct disadvantage if one plans to go into one of the services, but he has a physical condition that rules that out anyhow.

Are there other disadvantages to having a GED?  I know it is generally considered to be for kids who've had problems, which he has. But does a GED limit a person besides as far as the services?

Thanks!

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I don't know of any specific disadvantages.

I do know that my sister's DH got his GED.  After getting his GED, he spent a few years working various full time jobs before starting in on his BS in accounting.  For like 6ish years, he worked part time, went to school full time, and dealt with life in the process.  Lots of life, including marrying my sister.  Once he graduated college, he worked in accounting for probably a decade.  He has now gone BACK to school this year for a BS in Electrical Engineering.  

 

All of which to say, I don't think it's really held him back much.  I do think his drug convictions (from what is now almost 20 yrs ago) have caused more problems, but really that's only in being turned down for a few more positions than he might have otherwise been rejected for.

 

All of which to say.....a GED is good enough for most entry level positions, and it's certainly good enough to get into college.  Probably not going to get someone into a highly selective school, probably not going to get someone into a top level program anywhere, but once you get into a pretty typical college, and especially once you graduate, no one cares about your diploma, whether it's GED or average high school.          Well.............Amazon required proof of my High School Diploma in order to hire me full time, and wouldn't accept my BS in Elem. Ed.....but they would have accepted a GED lol

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Thanks for your bil's story! It sounds like he really turned his life path around! I'm hoping my friend's son is able to do the same because it's not looking very bright right now. Not a drug issue for him, as far as my friend knows, but he's wrestling with other problems.

That is interesting about Amazon requiring proof of your high school diploma (or GED) despite the fact that you had a BS!  Wouldn't one HAVE to have a high school diploma to get a 4-year college degree??  I don't think I could even find my HS diploma anymore! What did you give them?

 

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I asked a question like this in a FB group not that long ago. My state requires a GED for homeschoolers to get 2 free years of community college which made me consider it. I got a lot of responses as this is still a hot issue. My takeaway was people who didn't have any experience with the GED thought there was a huge amount of stigma attached and advised against it. The vast majority of people who actually got their GED and went on to attend college, didn't have a problem with it and most said it was no big deal because they got their degrees. Only 1-2 people that went into certain career fields said it was a huge mistake. It seemed to me the mythos surrounding the GED was much worse than reality. Personally, I would say a GED is better than nothing. 

With regards to my situation, I was told I could issue a homeschool diploma and have them take the GED for any required hoop jumping.The homeschool diploma would be the default and the GED could be explained if asked. One question that did come up is if it would show up on a background check for jobs that require it. In which case, both should be on the application and explained. 

The GED has changed and depending on the score and college, one can even get college credit. ACE credit is the same college credit system study.com uses. ACE is not accepted everywhere, so your mileage may vary.

https://ged.com/educators_admins/program/college_readiness/adoption/

https://study.com/academy/college-accelerator-hub/what-is-ace-why-accreditation-matters.html

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First, here is the GED website, for further research.

Second, re: the backstory
From your OP, you explain that the student is "... failing two of five classes... He won't read the books assigned for English, claiming he can just read summaries. He won't do most of the work for his English class. He's very bright, but stubborn and angry..." This screams out to me of the possibility of a previously undiagnosed issue, such as dyslexia, stealth dyslexia, vision convergence, or a processing issue. Students with issues OFTEN mask disability with anger and stubborn refusal -- because failure by their choice seems to them to be a better option than people finding out that they can't read at this age. My first suggestion would be to get him in pronto for testing to rule potential issues.

Also, as a side note, anger and work refusal can be a symptom of anxiety or depression or other mental health distress. Or, a reaction to disruption in life circumstances -- such as physical/emotional abuse of the student; a parent having an affair that is discovered; parents divorce; a death of a friend or relative; etc. So that would be another thing to definitely get checked out ASAP -- make sure everything is okay both learning-issue-wise, and mental-health-wise.

Third, rather than go straight to GED (which WILL require a good amount of study/prep that the student may be unwilling to do), I'd first look into the possibility of doing credit recovery for the failed credits. Perhaps streamline the last semester to just the credits needed for actual graduation (so, maybe 3 classes??), and then spend the rest of the day on credit recovery of the English credits, and any other credit that looked like he was going to fail and needed for graduation.

I know NOTHING about these or if they are any good or not, but here are some credit recovery programs: Apex Learning, Edugenity, The Virtual High School, The Keystone School

Fourth, for the English credit, I'd specifically look for credit recovery that focused on very practical skills of reading and writing that would be used in the general workplace. It's possible that this student may be angry and stubborn about the English because he is a very "black & white" thinker and just does not "get" the discussions on theme and the depth in literature -- that can make B&W-thinking students feel extremely frustrated (to the point of refusing to do the work, if the teacher keeps talking about all these "things" that are indirectly embedded in the work of literature -- things beyond plot, and what is directly stated in the text -- and the B&W student literally can't see it.


Fifth, My thought (without knowing more about the student, the school, or the situation), is that since he's already in school, and only has the spring semester of 12th grade to go, perhaps it's better to keep going with the little bit of momentum and routine that there is, and stick with what is a known quantity (high school), plus have the school help with credit recovery -- rather than dropping out just a few months shy of graduation, and STILL needing to study in order to take the GED.

Also, if dropping out and getting the GED IS the plan, what is the plan after that? While having a GED is better than NOT having a high school diploma, If going to the community college is the goal, I think it is VERY important to sit down and look realistically at what the community college programs require. Even an AAS (the Associate's degree that is "direct to work") WILL require 2 semesters of English (focus is on writing, but there IS reading of literature and then writing about it). Plus several courses in the Social Sciences, which often require a lot of reading and then writing of papers. If a student has been balking at high school English to the point of failing, how likely is community college to be a good fit or next step?? 

All that said, some general pros and cons to the GED:

Cons:
- there still can be some stigma about having a GED in some workplaces (see some of those linked threads below)
- it has become extremely difficult to enter the military with a GED -- so NOT a good idea considering the military in the future
- the GED was revised in 2014, and has become much more difficult -- so it WILL require a good amount of study/prep

Neutral
- it does cost to take the test
- you must be 18yo (or older) to take the test (a "neutral" that might turn into a "con" if there is a lot of "down time" between dropping out and becoming old enough to take the test)

Pros:
- a GED is accepted by universities, community colleges, and by trade schools
- a GED can help an older student who is just "done" with high school and needs to get moved on
- a top score on the GED can award some college credit (sort of like how CLEP tests can earn credit through testing)

Below are a handful of the close to 2 dozen past threads with discussion about the GED, all linked towards the bottom of PAGE 2 of the big pinned thread "High School Motherlode #1:
GED? (what is it, how to prep, is it a good idea)
s/o GED stigma?
Beyond dual enrollment: GED? Homeschool diploma? (which is better)
Getting a GED at 16 and then heading to Community College - pros and cons?
Early graduation/Community College online and GED? (includes general GED discussion)
GED advice
Looking for online GED prep course for somebody who left high school 7-8 years ago and never finished
Best prep material for GED? -- AND -- same thread X-posted


BEST of luck to your friend and her family, OP! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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On 12/1/2019 at 7:54 PM, Lori D. said:

 Students with issues OFTEN mask disability with anger and stubborn refusal -- because failure by their choice seems to them to be a better option than people finding out that they can't read at this age. My first suggestion would be to get him in pronto for testing to rule potential issues.

Also, as a side note, anger and work refusal can be a symptom of anxiety or depression or other mental health distress.  



Neutral
- it does cost to take the test
- you must be 18yo (or older) to take the test  

I second getting things checked out, particularly for a student who used to do well in school and who showed interest in higher ranked colleges. Sometimes high intelligence can mask learning differences, until suddenly it can't. 

The age requirement varies by state; you only have to be 16 in mine. 

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1 hour ago, katilac said:

... The age requirement varies by state; you only have to be 16 in mine. 


Thank you for the correction -- I didn't realize that when I did an online search, it automatically linked me specifically to *my state*. 😉 Here are the requirements by state -- even some of the states that require a minimum age 18 appear to have exceptions with additional documentation to test as low as age 16 or 17. 

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On 12/1/2019 at 1:44 PM, yvonne said:


My friend mentioned today that she's advising him to take the GED and go to community college for a year or two while working. 


If in California, I would look at doing the CHSPE and to take advantage of the two years of California College Promise for free two years of community college. That way he can work if he wants to but not because he has to work to pay community college tuition and books.

  • FREE tuition and fees for TWO years, for all eligible students
  • PLUS: $1,000 toward books and materials ($500 each year)
  • Free transportation with the VTA SmartPass, too!” https://www.deanza.edu/promise/

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I wouldn't listen to somebody who is in their 40s -- I think the GED has lost its reputation more recently.  I would not be surprised at all at someone my age saying "it was fine."  

For someone younger -- if they are actually going to get a 2-year degree, I think it is totally and completely fine.

If not -- I think it is better to have a high school diploma.  

I think also, I hear that the GED got made easier to where it was less prestigious, but then it was made harder again?  There is a young man at my church taking GED classes who did not complete high school, and is going back, and he is not having an easy time with it.  I think right now it is harder, but the reputation is still that it is easier.  

But for someone in their 40s -- yeah, I don't think it was the same, I think then it was known to be reasonably hard and had a decently good reputation.

I know that is all very gossipy ------ but bottom line, can he pass the GED?  And will he actually get a 2-year degree (if not more?)?  Because I do think it is not totally easy to get a GED right now, and also, I don't think it is equivalent to a high school diploma, depending.

If he is definitely going to get at least a 2-year degree, it is just that high school is stupid, etc, ------ then I think it is totally fine.  

If he might have a hard time with either of those, I think he needs to suck it up and get his high school diploma, even if he does the most minimal credit recovery or summer school or online options.  I think they can be easier than the GED test.  Though I am not sure if maybe it has been made easier again?  It's hard to say.  I think the young man at my church also could not pass the Algebra exit exam for high school, and he is on the troubled side beyond just thinking high school is stupid.    

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Really I have heard that here, passing the math section is a problem for people.  I don't think it is necessarily that it is so hard, but that the same people who couldn't pass the Algebra exit exam have a hard time with the GED math section.  

If your friend's son passed Algebra in 9th grade then this is a non-issue.  If this is one of the classes he has been failing -- it could be an issue.  

It is definitely one of those things -- to one person it might seem really easy, but to another person, it might seem really hard.  

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I have a son who is in 9th grade and is very much on track to pass the Algebra exam at the end of this year, and in his class it is treated like a joke.  But he has other friends who are not taking Algebra I, they are behind in math and got placed into a track of Algebra A and Algebra B over 9th and 10th grade, with taking the exit exam at the end of 10th grade.  And if they don't pass they have a tutoring class they can take to study for the exam.  

So I think it makes a big difference if he is caught up in everything and is just bored or thinks it is stupid, or if he is actually behind in some area.  If he is behind he will probably be in a remedial track in community college, which can be really demoralizing and also can be really difficult classes to someone who is already weak in that area, and then in a class that moves twice as fast as in high school.  

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If he is likely to do well in community college, I do think it sounds like a non-issue.  

I know a decent number of people who are scared to take the English and math requirements for transferring to a 4-year college, which are slightly harder than what is needed for just a 2-year degree.  

If that is not who this young person is -- I don't think it is an issue.

If he is somebody who would be intimidated to take some community college classes or might struggle, I do think it is worth it to get the high school diploma.  

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