"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Military Alternative to a High School Diploma

Today the Post has a piece on Maryland's "new and improved" high school exit exams that will come online in 2007. It seems the English test is something to really be proud of and something that will make the high school diploma mean something. With only 47% of Prince George County's students passing it this year, it means that these poor kids, mostly minority, will have a future as bomb fodder for the roadside maniacs at work among the lethal chaos that is Iraq. The military has a new option called the Army GED Plus Enlistment Program, and the "plus" is a free ticket to Baghdad. You don't even need a GED, so dropping out--no problem:
. . . the Army has a special enlistment program, specifically designed for disadvantaged youths who have neither a high school diploma, nor a GED. It's called the Army GED Plus Enlistment Program.

The GED Plus Program enables applicants who currently do not possess a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate to be sponsored by the Army to obtain a GED for enlistment purposes. This program is available only in certain areas (mostly inter-city areas where most disadvantaged youths live) and for limited numbers.

The Post story goes on to say that Maryland test officials say the scores will improve when students "buckle down" to graduate. So it is buckle down then, boys and girls, or lock and load. And we know the poor have the same chance of passing as anyone else, right? If they try hard enough, yes? There is no link between poverty and test performance, is there?

SAT Scores 2002 from the College Board
Family Income----Verbal/Math Scores

Less than $10,000/year-----417/442
$10,000 - $20,000/year-----435/453
$20,000 - $30,000/year-----461/470
$30,000 - $40,000/year-----480/485
$40,000 - $50,000/year-----496/501
$50,000 - $60,000/year-----505/509
$60,000 - $70,000/year-----511/516
$70,000 - $80,000/year-----517/524
$80,000 - $100,000/year-----530/538
More than $100,000/year-----555/568

Racist policy? Surely not.

  • Of the 10 states with the highest African-American populations, 9 have high school exit exams
  • Of the 10 states with the highest Hispanic populations, 8 have high school exit exams
  • Of the 10 states with highest white populations, 1 has a high school exit exam
  • of the 10 states with lowest graduation rates, all ten have high school exit exams; and 9 of these states have had them for more than 10 years
UPDATE: The GED Plus Enlistment Program requires completion of the GED program before Army training.

Jim Horn


  1. Anonymous10:09 AM

    Jim Schmoyer notes that the program begin in 2000, even if it's being hyped recently. More information at my entry today on the topic

  2. is this scheme is only for army