« Retrospective: 'The Emerging Politics of Language' | Main | Parent Education Classes May Be First Thing to Be Axed »

A GED Just Isn't as Good

I can't find references in "Grad Nation," a new comprehensive guide for communities on how to combat the dropout crisis, to English-language learners, but the guide does point out that the dropout rate is high among Hispanics, many of whom are ELLs.

On average, the nation has a much lower graduation rate for ELLs than for all students, according to "Perspectives on a Population," a spin-off publication from Quality Counts 2009. The graduation rate reported by states for ELLs is 64 percent versus 80.1 percent for all students. And Russell W. Rumberger, the director of the California Dropout Research Project, has told me that those rates reported by states are inflated. I reported on issues affecting whether ELLs stay in high school in "High School Credits for ELLs Still a Challenge," published Jan. 28 in Education Week.

It seems that many of the recommendations in the 100-page "Grad Nation" guide would apply to ELLs. One that stood out to me was that educators should avoid "over-promoting GEDs." The guide, commissioned by America's Promise Alliance, says one study estimates that more than half of all dropouts eventually get a General Educational Development, or GED, certificate, which is an alternative to a high school diploma.

But educators of ELLs are wise to take note that a GED doesn't serve a student as well as a regular high school diploma, according to "Grad Nation" (see page 19). People with a GED or another alternative certificate earn significantly less than those with a high school diploma. Only one in 10 GED holders earns a college degree, compared with one in four high school graduates.

"Grad Nation" says: "For dropouts, a GED is better than nothing, but for today's students and for our communities, staying in school is the best choice by far."

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments

  • Charles: ELLs in our state ARE required to take State standardized read more
  • Melissa: Maybe I'm just becoming jaded, but this feels to me read more
  • Anonymous: Are you kidding me....UNO is an organizaion that literally destroys read more
  • Meg Baker: Are any schools using ACCESS scores for purposes other than read more
  • Dr. Mendoza: This is great news i must say. Hopefully this DREAM read more