“A high school student drops out of school every 26 minutes.” This was the subject of a recent interview that I watch on TV. This statement was made by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. He was trying to raise public awareness concerning the high rate of students quitting school.
Listening to this interview brought back memories. I dropped out of high school not once, but twice. I remember the warnings from my teachers, and my parents. But I didn’t listen then, and today’s students are not listening either.
But with the state of today’s economy, and so many people out of work, I was surprised to hear that there is such a high rate of students dropping out of school.
There are a lot of reasons why students quit before finishing high school. In my case I was going to school during the day. Then working a full-time factory job at night. I was working next to adults who were raising families. And I was basically making the same amount of money that they were. I had a good job, what do I need a diploma for? But I was bored with school and just wanted out. My wife’s situation was different from mine. She got pregnant during high school and had to quit.
Seven years later, everything changed. One by one the factories closed and left town. The few that were left would only hire high school graduates. I was in trouble. By then I had a wife and four children, so I couldn’t go back to school. So I decided to get my GED credentials instead.
I have heard that some people refuse to try the program for fear of failing the tests. I was afraid of what would happen if I didn’t pass the tests. But looking back at it now, I really enjoyed the whole process. It was a big turn around for me. I wasn’t interested in school when I quit. And when I was ready to finish my high school education, I was glad that
the GED program was there.
If you have questions about the program, I’ll try to provide some answers based on my experience. GED stands for: General Equivalency Degree (or diploma). The program was first established in 1942. Since then more than 17 million have earned a GED diploma. To be eligible to enroll in the program you have to be at least 16 yrs old, and not currently attending school.
The first thing that you need to do is find out the nearest location in your area where you can enroll in the program. The first place to call would be your local high school. Another place you could call is your nearest Workforce Development Center.
When you call the GED testing center ask for the next available date to start the program. Be sure to write the information down on paper. Write down the date, the time to be there, and the cost. When I called to enroll, the classes had already started. I didn’t want to wait, so I went 15 miles to the next city and enrolled. That’s what I had to do.
To obtain your General Equivalency Diploma you must pass a group of five subject tests. When passed, this certifies that the taker has high school-level academic skills. The five subjects are:
Language Arts, Reading
Language Arts, Writing
The study book for the tests was the size of a Chicago phone book; but very self-explanatory. So much so that I didn’t attend any of the classes to prepare to take the tests. I studied at home. Then I went and took each test, and passed each test. And I became the proud recipient of a General Equivalency Diploma.