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Editorial: 2014 GED to stand for more than ‘I dropped out’

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Next year the General Educational Development exam will be administered on computer only in New Mexico, and it will align with the Common Core standards being incorporated into K-12 curriculums across the country. It will include algebra II-level math. It will cost test-takers more than the current $35, though an exact amount has yet to be determined and social service groups help subsidize the fee.

And just as education reform is designed to add value to a high school diploma, these changes will add value to a GED.

Teri Wimborne, education director at Catholic Charities, argues that it’s already hard for parents who want to close the achievement gap to take and pass the exam.

But handing them a piece of paper that is a poor substitute for a diploma is a false promise of a better economic future, for parents and their children. If anything, removing the easy-out option of a devalued alternative should encourage students to stay in school.

Of course advocates want as many people as possible to pass the GED. We should all want that. And it makes sense the support systems set up to help people prepare and take the exam adapt to the new standards.

Let’s face it. We are changing to a knowledge-based economy, and the ability to use a computer is required in many jobs. The test changes simply reflect those realities.

In a state where almost 8,000 people take the GED in a year, it is important that the test – and passing it – means something, to students, parents and employers.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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