The judge ordered him to pay child support – and to get a GED. He did not have a high school diploma but secured a job flipping hamburgers. It lasted an hour. He could not read the part about holding the pickles on the screen in front of him. He went to the local literacy center for help. The director found that his reading level was second grade. All she could do for him in the near term was to write a letter to the judge–a letter that described the lengthy and difficult journey to GED for him.
In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that Texas tied with California for the lowest percentage of its population 25 or older who has a high school diploma or a GED credential. According to the Texas Workforce Investment Council, some 4.3 million Texans met the federal requirements of qualifying for adult education in 2011–they were over age 16, not in school, did not have a high school diploma or a GED credential or speak, read or write English well.
Could you pass the GED? The new GED – test for General Educational Development. It’s normed to a 40% fail rate for last year’s high school seniors. And it’s online. And you have to be able to “keyboard” 25 words per minute for the writing portion of the test. Good news: they provide an online calculator for the math section. You just plug in the data for those formulas for the math section. Remember those? The new test will not only include interactive math problems but will also require test takers to analyze social studies passages and demonstrate critical thinking through essays with those keyboarding skills.
You can find resources in your community to help adults prepare for the GED — assuming their reading skills are up to par (say ninth grade). The website for the Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy and Learning has a directory of literacy providers: http://www-tcall.tamu.edu/provider/search.htm. But many adults are not ready to begin study for the GED. They need help with ABC. Or ABE. You can find resources for adult basic education on this list of providers – just not enough. More are needed.
So consider #29 on the list of 50: Begin an adult literacy program helping adults with reading and GED preparation. That’s what H.D. White did in Amarillo. He’ll be honored in August at the Literacy Texas Conference as the Volunteer of the Year. Way to go H.D! Who’s next? Contact Literacy Connexus about how your church can begin to help adults learn to read and write better.