The Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) has always believed in the importance of the GED and have been preparing young people to take the exam for decades.
Many youth who walk through our doors have left high school for very complex reasons including the need to work, because they are facing family problems, are young parents, and are facing homelessness. The only option to complete their high education has been to take the GED exam and hope to pass. While there are other exams out there, the reality is that the GED is the most widely recognized by employers and colleges. Without this diploma, huge barriers exist in their chances for educational and career focused success. Hundreds of young adults have passed this test over the years at LAYC, and when this happens we celebrate! Many of our GED graduates have gone on to college, gotten great jobs, and pursued their careers.
Over the years, the test has undergone many changes, most recently around this time in 2014 when the test changed to better reflect high school proficiency. Honestly, it is not an easy test! Those who take it and pass it, may be more college and career ready than some high school graduates. Often I have been the lone voice in the crowd defending the test and noting its critical importance for young people who do not finish high school. But, whether I like it or not, there still exists a strong bias in certain circles that passing this test does not mean as much as a high school diploma. Yet, we know that without it, our youth have nothing to show to make them eligible for most jobs.
Finally, we have some really great news! Recently, the DC State Board of Education approved awarding the State Diploma to all individuals who successfully pass the GED exam. Our Maryland youth have been getting the State Diploma when they pass the GED exam, and now our DC youth will too thanks to the leadership of the DC State Board of Education. A GED has been and is a necessary resume builder for our young people as they beat the pavement in search of work, but now they will go with a high school diploma in hand. This is a huge boost in their job search! Thank you, DC Board of Education for leveling the playing field for our GED graduates who will now have a State Diploma.