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Some States Dropping GED Tests Due To Price Spikes

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the stay-in-school dept.

Education 224

First time accepted submitter murkwood7 writes with news about states looking for an alternative to GED tests because of cost constraints. "Several dozen states are looking for an alternative to the GED high school equivalency test because of concerns that a new version coming out next year is more costly and will no longer be offered in a pencil and paper format. The responsibility for issuing high school equivalency certificates or diplomas rests with states, and they've relied on the General Education Development exam since soon after the test was created to help returning World War II veterans. But now 40 states and the District of Columbia are participating in a working group that's considering what's available besides the GED, and two test makers are hawking new exams."

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"no longer be offered in a pencil & paper form (3, Insightful)

longbot (789962) | about a year and a half ago | (#43447775)

...does this mean that I'll finally be able to take the damn thing online?! I've been meaning to take it for years (I was homeschooled) but I've never been able to find time around my job to go to the classes.

Re: "no longer be offered in a pencil & paper (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43447817)

Huh? You don't have to take classes. Homeschoolers usually don't need the GED anyway.

Re: "no longer be offered in a pencil & paper (1)

longbot (789962) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449349)

Where I live currently, they require several ass-in-seat days. Could be tests, could be classes, I'm not sure, offhand.

That assumes that the state you were homeschooled in graduates you, which in NYS at the time, was only if who you were being taught by was an accredited "education professional", as defined by them. My mother was a former primary education teacher, so I got better from her tutelage than I ever would've gotten from the state public system (just comparing what I learned to what my friends came out of the system knowing... or rather, not knowing).

Re:"no longer be offered in a pencil & paper f (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43447839)

If you don't have a diploma by age eighteen in the U.S. it means that either your parents were batshit-insane religious fundamentalists who insisted that being socialized was too evil for you, or you were a dumb and/or unmotivated piece of meth-snorting glue-sniffing trash.

So boo-fucking-hoo, cry me a river.

Re:"no longer be offered in a pencil & paper f (5, Insightful)

maxsthekat (1275608) | about a year and a half ago | (#43447861)

Or it means that you couldn't keep going to school because you had to support your family or that your family had issues that you had to escape (see, crime, poverty). One of my very good friends dropped out of high school, got his GED, attended college, and graduated with degrees in both electrical engineering and computer engineering. He also maintained a 3.9 GPA (only one class ever gave him less than a 4.0). Now, he's a very smart guy, mind you, but it just goes to show that not everyone out there getting a GED is meth-snorting, glue-sniffing trash. Try having a little compassion.

Re:"no longer be offered in a pencil & paper f (4, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | about a year and a half ago | (#43447905)

It's not common sense he needs. It's a big cluebat across the side of his head that he needs.

Re:"no longer be offered in a pencil & paper f (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43448687)

There are many of us that have never used drugs that have taken the GED exam, myself included. During high school both my father, and my younger sister died. And my mother decided that I moving to follow my grandparents was a good idea, and my credits transferred for half what they were worth at the previous school. so as a junior I credit wise I looked like a freshman. (since half credits were rounded down) I had never used any drugs that were not prescribed to me or came over the counter. (and no I did not modify those) my GPA did suffer due to everything I was going through, but even then I was never a straight A student. So, I took the GED exam which at that time was weighted so that only 25% of high school graduates could pass it. I passed it on my first try

I was stuck in a dead end job for many years, but I'm finally back in school. Currently have completed an EE minor, am one class away from a math minor as well, and I am working on completing my senior year for a CS major..

Who are you to say what someone else needs? Especially, if you don't know their life. The details I placed in this post are just a fraction of the stories and difficulties I have faced. If you think you know him well enough to state "It's a big cluebat across the side of his head that he needs." then maybe he knows you well enough to state the same, or possibly worse.

Re:"no longer be offered in a pencil & paper f (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43448783)

Wow my word processor added a bunch of I's

Re:"no longer be offered in a pencil & paper f (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43448015)

You're right, not all GED writers are trash. There's just obviously so much of them who ARE trash that there's little sense issuing the tests to them, otherwise they'd find the money. A few "meth snorters" spoil the bunch as they say.

Re:"no longer be offered in a pencil & paper f (0, Troll)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448607)

Depends on the school district honestly, we ended up pulling my two boys for home schooling because the local public school is WASP central and if you aren't WASP you might as well be a nigger at a Klan rally for how well you'll be treated. with one Catholic and the other gay? Yeah that place was a shithole for them. The last straw was when an English teacher dedicated her whole damned class for giving a lecture on "Idolaters and Sodomites", yes we SHOULD have sued that place out of existence but my sister was fighting a losing battle with cancer and honestly we just couldn't take any more fucking stress so we told them to go to hell and pulled them out.

So with all the articles on bullying and how even the teachers have been busted encouraging the shit you'd think folks wouldn't paint the GED with such a broad brush, there are a hell of a lot of people who quit public school NOT because they don't want to learn but because the school is a hellhole and the parents can't afford to move. I know I wouldn't wish our school district on a non WASP if they were my worst enemy, its bad enough the black folks all self segregate so their kids don't have to go to "McWhitey" as they call it because all non WASPs are treated like dirt there.

Re:"no longer be offered in a pencil & paper f (1)

schnell (163007) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448851)

The last straw was when an English teacher dedicated her whole damned class for giving a lecture on "Idolaters and Sodomites"

Wait, WHAT? It's sadly common to be persecuted for being gay in high school, but you say a public school teacher taught a class excoriating one of your children as an idolater for being Catholic? I'm not doubting you, but this just sounds a little too over the top to be true in my experience. Were there really no other Catholics in the entire school who were offended by this? Catholics are - even if not locally - a nationally pretty well connected bunch politically and I can't imagine something like this not being a cause for raising a stink at a state diocese level and a big political hullabaloo that would cost the offenders their jobs.

Where was this? When was this? You should at least be able to disclose that in the interest of making sure no Slashdotters ever make the mistake of moving there.

Re:"no longer be offered in a pencil & paper f (-1, Troll)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449257)

Oh no, I wish to fucking God I was exaggerating, she got two weeks suspension and we got a LONG apology from the assitant principle (because even a blind man could see they had let shit get too far) but we were so fucking beat down, my sister was down to 110 pounds, the bones were beginning to get brittle, it was too much. We told them to piss off and took the kids out.

To let ya know how bad they knew they fucked up whenever we needed a bit of paperwork all i had to do was show up and the assistant was meeting me at the car with anything I wanted, they were really worried sick we would change our minds and get nasty. Last I heard though the bitch was still there, they just moved her closer to the principle's office to rope her ass in line. I mean when you have black people self segregating to stay the fuck OUT of the nice school? You should KNOW shit be fucked up.

Re:"no longer be offered in a pencil & paper f (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43448179)

Most are just retarded kids that think they are smarter than they really are and drop out of high school. Hey kids, want to prove the world you are a dumb fuck? drop out of school.

The smart ones realize they really are dumb fucks for dropping out and go back and get their GED.

Re:"no longer be offered in a pencil & paper f (4, Funny)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448195)

Some dumb fucks of kids grow out of it, to become smart and productive adults. Others become Slashdot AC trolls.

Re:"no longer be offered in a pencil & paper f (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448405)

And so what? Imagine that a person is a horrible, 2bit no-account lazy bum who dropped out of school because he wanted to smoke pot.

Well, people can change! Such a person shouldn't be held back because of what he did in high school. We all sucked in some ways in high school.

Re:"no longer be offered in a pencil & paper f (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43447943)

The thing about people who don't have GEDs is that they can always go and get one, whereas you will always be a retarded asshole.

Re:"no longer be offered in a pencil & paper f (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43447957)

Meanwhile, fine people like myself who took a GED to get into college a little earlier will be getting french fries from this guy while on lunch break. But at least he'll have his slightly-easier-to-obtain-than-GED paper. That'll show us.

Re:"no longer be offered in a pencil & paper f (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43447961)

I hate to be the one to point this out, a high school diploma or GED are not needed.

I dont have a GED or an HS diploma, I dropped out of high school in 9th grade and went directly into college. It is not needed to get into many of the colleges, all you have to do is petition the dean to allow you entry. In my case it amounted to writing a letter and spending an hour speaking with the dean.

I did a year of college and left for a job paying 60k a year (20 years ago)

Now, I make 6 figures. I did online courses to obtain my degree 5 years ago and they never even asked if I had a high school diploma. I simply sent them my earlier college transcripts and started classes.

Re:"no longer be offered in a pencil & paper f (3)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448943)

Congratulations on having been an exceptionally bright and ambitious kid. However, your advice is approximately as useful to the 99.9% of humanity who don't share your particular combination of brilliance, cojones, and luck as saying "high school isn't needed; just win the lottery instead."

Re:"no longer be offered in a pencil & paper f (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449389)

I had a high school teacher that completed a masters degree before getting his GED. He taught economics in high school, and you are required to have a HS diploma or equivalent. So he got his master's degree first, then went back for a GED so he could teach.

When I went to college, a HS diploma or equivelent was required. There was no allowance for "or by petition" except for getting into community college.

I did online courses to obtain my degree 5 years ago and they never even asked if I had a high school diploma. I simply sent them my earlier college transcripts and started classes.

I have a friend or two with a degree from UPhoenix. They will take anyone with a pulse. They meet the minimum standards for eligibility of federal financial aid, and not much else.

When I went back for a masters, I had to pay a 20 year old parking ticket. I didn't even know I had one, could have been a relative coming to my graduation. But I was required to provide proof of a B.S. to get into my M.S. degree program. And the order of the confirmation letter was $20, and the cost of any "ourstanding" fees - the parking ticket. They did ask for H.S diploma as well. but holding a B.S. suffices as proof of competency. The admissions person was sloppy, and when I went in once, I saw that they accepted people with a 25% GMAT. She laughed when I asked if my 90+% GMAT was sufficient (percentages given as percentile scores, not raw), which I asked before seeing the levels that were accepted.

Re: "no longer be offered in a pencil & paper (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43448905)

hahaha, disregard that, I suck cocks!!

Re: "no longer be offered in a pencil & paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43449057)

Wow did you ever take your GED you moronic idiot? My highschool kicked me out of school be ause y mother and I no longer had proof of residency when we wee evicted from our one bedroom apartment when I was 15 years old. Thank god for the GED otherwise I would not have been able to get a highschool diploma. Once I got my GED, I started community college, transferred to UCLA and went on to UCLA law school. My mother was not on crack nor am I dumb not did she homeschool me. We were just poor. So get a brain idiot.

Re:"no longer be offered in a pencil & paper f (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449255)

A lot of people bypass high school because they are too smart for it, or because the parents want an environment that are bullying-free, gunmen-free, and suicide risk-free.

You want to learn team work and meet friends? There are amateur clubs out there for almost every single sport. You don't have to go to high school to learn how to communicate and meet friends.

Re:"no longer be offered in a pencil & paper f (1)

longbot (789962) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449317)

I started working at a young age. Since I have been gainfully employed without a diploma or GED for all but a few months (total) of that time, it has never been a priority to shell out money in order to sit in classes for several days. I'd like to just take the equivalency test online, but for some idiotic reason it's not offered.

Re:"no longer be offered in a pencil & paper f (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449351)

If you don't have a diploma by age eighteen in the U.S. it means that either your parents were batshit-insane religious fundamentalists who insisted that being socialized was too evil for you

There are plenty of ways for home schooled kids to socialize if they want to, and I doubt locking people in a building where they receive an extremely poor education along with others their own age is that great of a way to have someone socialize to begin with. Also, you don't need to be religious to home school your kids, and even people who do graduate from our horrible public schools can be (and often probably are) dumb and unmotivated. Not having a degree doesn't mean you're dumb or unmotivated; it could even show that you care a little about your education, or that your parents did (in the case of homeschooling and self-education).

No, you cannot take it online (5, Informative)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449287)

The test is computerized, but it is still proctored. You need to schedule the exam in a testing center, and show up at the appointment time with a valid ID.

If GED test can be taken online, I bet you there will be attempts in test taker impersonation.

Re:No, you cannot take it online (1)

longbot (789962) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449395)

Thank you for replying to this with actual useful information rather than either a blatant troll or a defense. This is actually useful, and pretty much what I'd expected.

It seems stupid that I can take college courses online, but not the GED tests. As of the last time I looked into it, it did require more than one appointment, which is part of what makes it so damned inconvenient for me.

You mean i gots to know how to use a smart box? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43447779)

FTA: "you've got to learn how to type, use the computer, plus your GED. That's three things instead of just trying to focus all on your GED test." Oh no, this pour soul has to learn how to type?

We need a college ged or some kind badges system (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#43447795)

We need a college ged or some kind badges system.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-03-11/news/ct-oped-0311-page-20120311_1_college-costs-rise-kayla-heard-college-attendance [chicagotribune.com]

The cost of college is killing us and having loans that are very hard to get rid of just lets colleges drive prices up.

Re:We need a college ged or some kind badges syste (2)

Anon-Admin (443764) | about a year and a half ago | (#43447985)

The only issue is if they give a test, and by passing hand you a degree, they call them diploma mills.

So whats it matter then? (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449297)

You know the material and got a degree. Everyone is happy. What is the problem?

Re:So whats it matter then? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449357)

You know the material and got a degree.

Or more likely, you memorized the material and don't understand it, but you were able to pass because of poorly-designed tests. I doubt it'd be any different if you went through the entire process of getting a degree, though.

Re:We need a college ged or some kind badges syste (2)

rgbrenner (317308) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448335)

Like CLEP [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:We need a college ged or some kind badges syste (1)

schnell (163007) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448971)

We need a college ged or some kind badges system ... The cost of college is killing us

Agreed on the four-year college/university front, but community college is still pretty inexpensive. If you're applying for jobs where community college is not good enough (i.e. they want a university degree), then no "college GED" or equivalent would ever be enough for them. That's because they are using which college you went to as a lazy substitute for figuring out how smart you are, or at least viewing your four-year university degree as some form of proof that you can function for some period of time away from your parents without washing out, landing in rehab or otherwise proving yourself a potential job liability.

Re:We need a college ged or some kind badges syste (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449131)

We need a college ged or some kind badges system ... The cost of college is killing us

Agreed on the four-year college/university front, but community college is still pretty inexpensive. If you're applying for jobs where community college is not good enough (i.e. they want a university degree), then no "college GED" or equivalent would ever be enough for them. That's because they are using which college you went to as a lazy substitute for figuring out how smart you are, or at least viewing your four-year university degree as some form of proof that you can function for some period of time away from your parents without washing out, landing in rehab or otherwise proving yourself a potential job liability.

Yes some people can see the proof that you can function for some period of time away from your parents without washing out, landing in rehab or otherwise proving yourself a potential job liability. But that idea misses the fact that most community college are only 2 years, That tech schools get lumped into not an university degree and that in some classes in an university don't give all the skills needed to do a job while a tech school can in less time.

What a shock... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43447809)

In operation since shortly after WWII wrapped up, and now Pearson steps in and the price spikes... Allow me a moment to collect myself after such an earth-shattering surprise. Does anybody know what moment of insanity and/or oversight in foundational structure allowed Pearson to get in on the action in the first place?

Re:What a shock... (5, Funny)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about a year and a half ago | (#43447837)

EVERYTHING PRIVATIZED IS MOAR BETTER!

(Yes /. filter. I know that caps are like YELLING. That's the whole f'ing point)

Re:What a shock... (1)

briancox2 (2417470) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448201)

EVERYTHING PRIVATIZED IS MOAR BETTER!

(Yes /. filter. I know that caps are like YELLING. That's the whole f'ing point)

Doesn't it suck that some mods think that life online should never include yelling? Truth is, sometimes, ya just gotta yell in life. Even online.

Re:What a shock... (4, Interesting)

Herkum01 (592704) | about a year and a half ago | (#43447855)

The Irony? The operation is "Non-profit"!

The IRS really should put these organizations in line or shut them down.

Re:What a shock... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43447907)

It's not a profit if all the money is spent.

Yachts are a legitimate business expense.

Re:What a shock... (3, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448159)

The issue is not necessarily price,but value. For instance the current generation of kids to have different experiences, and what needs to be tested is different, but the test can be changed for that. What can't be accommodated for is that in many surveys, what todays firm wants in an entry level employee is the ability to get to work on time, every day, the ability to do some basic reading, and the ability to be trained. These are skills that can be demonstrated through a high school diploma and not a test.

Really these changes have been going on for a while, particularly since high schools have implemented somewhat rigorous testing as a barrier to graduation. Really, 20 years ago a GED was almost superior to a high school diploma. It demonstrated actual knowledge. Not that high schools are testiing, the high school diploma is preferred in many cases. For the past ten years I have not seen many use it for jobs. In fact even 20 years ago the only time I saw it used was to gain entrance to a community college or to qualify for a promotion at an existing job.

In any case, the trend now seems to be extend high school for those who need it, try to get them into the workforce, and by hook or crook get a high school diploma. For heavily supervised work, that is enough. Anyone hired people for lightly supervised or unsupervised work is going to hire a college grad anyway. Even someone with an online degree can work semi-supervised.

Re:What a shock... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43448295)

What can't be accommodated for is that in many surveys, what todays firm wants in an entry level employee is the ability to get to work on time, every day, the ability to do some basic reading, and the ability to be trained. These are skills that can be demonstrated through a high school diploma and not a test.

These employers of which you speak have some crazy laundry lists of "required skills" that go way beyond punctuality, communication skills, and they definitely want candidates already trained on their specific systems. Whether a person earns a degree on campus or distance education matters little unless perhaps you limit yourself to the diploma mills which are not recognized by CHEA, DETC, nor any of the regional accreditation agencies.

A Challenging Task (2)

Froggels (1724218) | about a year and a half ago | (#43447819)

State administrators must come up with an equivalent equivalency test.

Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate buds (5, Insightful)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#43447863)

The usual reason given for privatizing is the old canard "the private corporations can do this at a much lower cost".
.
The real reason for privatizing is to help funnel public funds into the hands of the corporations run by the buddies of whomsoever happens to be in power at the moment, democrat or republican.
.
The idea of saving money helps sell privatization, but it never takes into account:
-- cost over-runs
-- no incentive to keep costs down
-- no incentive to make availability or usability easy
-- no incentive to use formats or techniques that would allow easy migration of data or processes onto other platforms in case this doesn't work out (i.e. companies have a perverse incentive to make themselves indispensable)
-- low-ball bids make you think the cost is going to be lower, but the political pal always makes sure that the corporation gets a cost plus profit contract, rather than a fixed cost contract.
It's a scam, this push to privatize is not helping anything.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43447969)

Agreed, which is a darn shame. GED classes were so much easier to understand when I took them than the High-school classes were.

It was the best experience of my School-going life. No bullying, no teachers hitting me up for drugs, just folks there to learn. 4-5 kids my age, and 2-3 adults sitting the practice curriculum. One teacher, less than 10 people.

I really hope the GED test/guidebook makers go public with their stuff (It's illegal to sell or publicize GED texts, iirc), I want an official study-book from that year so badly I can taste it. It was so simply laid out, with such clear instructions and examples.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43447989)

> "the private corporations can do this at a much lower cost".
> The idea of saving money helps sell privatization, but it never takes into account:

That this only works when there is competition.

Creating a private monopoly just grantees that rents will go to the private hands.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (-1, Troll)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448013)

That's what you get if you privatise the schools but not the funding for the schools.

Schools should be private of-course, just like shoes should be private and there should be no taxes going towards schools just like there are no taxes going towards shoes.

Do you see cost over-runs, no incentives to keep costs down, no incentive to make availability or improve usability, no incentives for all the other stuff in the shoes market?

There is no difference between shoes and schools, the difference is government money and all matter of involvement, regulations, etc.

It's a scam alright.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43448055)

... so we should have schools that pay Lebron James half a billion dollars and use the cheapest labor money can find? You really think these two markets have the same values and should be treated as interchangeable for case studies?

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (5, Insightful)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448207)

I suggest you read Adam Smith's commentary on the value of publicly funded education in "The Wealth of Nations." After noting the higher "efficiencies" of privatizing education, Adam Smith still concludes that a more broadly educated public through public education (even at the expense of wasting a bit more money on less-motivated students) is ultimately for the public good. Of course, more modern free-marketeers who don't give a fuck about the public good (only maximizing profits) come to different conclusions.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (0, Troll)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448305)

USA is bankrupt, what 'public education' can you possibly be talking about?

What public education can you be talking about when you have destroyed the manufacturing sector by inflation, regulations and taxes? There is no need for education if you have no manufacturing.

There is no amount of 'public good' that can be created by government intervention.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43448327)

"There is no need for education if you have no manufacturing."

You forgot the /s tag, buddy.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (2)

Locando (131600) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448381)

There is no need for education if you have no manufacturing.

Your ideas about what people need strike me as bizarre.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (-1, Troll)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448473)

You should learn why education developed so much in the last few hundred years then and compare the countries by their manufacturing base and education levels.

In any case, you will get more of what you subsidise and so if you subsidise public education, you'll get more of it, but it won't be of any use, it won't be any good.

You'll get all these worthless sociology and other humanities studies and the rate of students in hard sciences and engineering will be going down, lower and lower the less manufacturing you have.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (1)

Locando (131600) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449023)

Are you trying to explain why you're using "need" to only refer to things with economic benefits? Because that's what I thought was bizarre. There are lots of things we need besides those that can be bought: love, meaning to one's life, agency, creativity, etc.

If you only mean need for the sake of the greater good of the economy, independent of the individual's free choice to determine what he or she needs from life to make it meaningful, then please make yourself clear and say so. Similarly, if by education you mean public, institutionalized, vocational education, then it only makes sense to clarify that as well. Otherwise I don't know how you expect to change the minds of those with a differing viewpoint, never mind those who don't share your ideology.

(As a side note, are you hoping to encourage humanities majors to agree with you? If you call their studies worthless, it's easy for that to sound like a personal insult, which isn't going to convince many people at all! Who are you writing this for, anyway?)

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43448601)

Technically you need extremely little. The population can get by without water treatment, modern medicine, proper waste disposal or more than one kidney. They'll merely suffer greatly. Just because something isn't needed doesn't mean it isn't good to have. By definition need is the minimum requirement.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (3, Insightful)

tirefire (724526) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448455)

After noting the higher "efficiencies" of privatizing education, Adam Smith still concludes that a more broadly educated public through public education (even at the expense of wasting a bit more money on less-motivated students) is ultimately for the public good.

The current school system in the US is a bloated government monopoly, indifferent to competing models of schooling. You pay for it through taxes whether you send your kids to public school, private school, or if you homeschool them (or even if you don't have kids at all). There are alternatives to public school in the US, but the government doesn't care. They get their money, even if you shell out for private school or quit your job to homeschool.

At the minimum, parents should receive vouchers equivalent in value to what the local public school system pays per pupil, vouchers that could be redeemed at private schools, or used for homeschooling expenses. This would put real pressure on crappy public schools to reform themselves or face starvation, unlike the misguided "No Child Left Behind Act".

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (3, Insightful)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448797)

The current school system in the US is a bloated government monopoly, indifferent to competing models of schooling. You pay for it through taxes whether you send your kids to public school, private school, or if you homeschool them (or even if you don't have kids at all). There are alternatives to public school in the US, but the government doesn't care. They get their money, even if you shell out for private school or quit your job to homeschool.

Perhaps you should, oh, read something about School districts [wikipedia.org] before going on your little rant? The simple fact is, by far, schools are run at the local level by voter appointed school boards who are in significant control over just how well your local school system functions, be it how much they tax, who they tax, and just how efficiently they use that money in educating students. If your local school system is a bloated mess, odds are good it's in large part your own fault.

At the minimum, parents should receive vouchers equivalent in value to what the local public school system pays per pupil, vouchers that could be redeemed at private schools, or used for homeschooling expenses. This would put real pressure on crappy public schools to reform themselves or face starvation, unlike the misguided "No Child Left Behind Act".

Or, you know, parents could become more involved in *important* aspects of schooling? Instead of focusing on whether or not God is in the classroom, why not push for more of all religions being taught? If little Timmy comes home and gets an A, why not quiz Timmy and see if he really deserved it? And if he gets a C+, why not do the same? Or do you really thing the problem is that Timmy's teacher needs to fear for their job daily or cutting their salary would magically fix things? Would you fearing for your job daily or cutting your salary make you a better worker?

No, I'd say a large part of the problem is that (a) parents abstractly demand a lot of teachers but are generally unqualified to even know if the teachers are doing a good job or not, (b) this stems not from the fact that parents *can't* know these things but many simply refuse to put the effort into it because schooling is treated as a secondary or tertiary thing in their child's life--after all, if it takes so much effort to know those things, then obviously you aren't using them in your own daily life, so it can't be that important, so why relearn it temporarily for your kid's sake--, and (c) parents aren't politically involved enough in ways that matter. Sure, it's easy to get upset that your school is rated badly one year. It's much harder to commit to finding and voting for good people to sit on the school board--especially if that means parents are the ones. It's much harder to actually figure out what's important and what's not when it comes to learning.

But money, oh yea, it's easy enough to (a) demand money and buy into the top rated schools--damn the obvious point that top rated schools are, optimistically, top rated because the students want to succeed (a fact quite missing from little Timmy or you)--or (b) to pay off your own home schooling--which at least will get you involved in schooling but then you're doing even more work than just being well civic minded while still probably providing a disservice to your children when you're not quite enough of an expert in many areas to do a good job of covering plenty of subjects (although presuming you put in the effort, your child will likely eventually learn to be motivated enough and learn on their own which sort of solves that issue).

Of course point (b) sort of hints at another important point. Teach your kids to be motivated to learn, period. That, really, solves most of your problems. You might still want to complain about how much of a "waste" your local school system is, money wise, but then pretending that schools facing starvation will magically solve the pressing issue of parent apathy is just outright delusional and speaks more of a general greed on your part.

Or, maybe it's the "principal" of the thing? Yea, that's the ticket...

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448543)

I agree with you and with Adam Smith. Publicly funded education in public schools (not via vouchers), with its more open (viewable) school board system that lets you see how the decisions are arrived at and is accountable to the public in more direct ways, is a much better approach than privatization via vouchers or privatized charter schools. That's just my opinion from within the sausage grinder, since I'm currently a junior in the school system right now!

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (3, Interesting)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448565)

Smith was also dealing with a world in which there was mass illiteracy. Advocating the public provision of a sixth-grade education is very different from saying that we should push every single student, regardless of intellectual abilities and interests, to go to college.

Few people are too stupid to learn to read, write, and do basic arithmetic. Once you start hitting real science and math, typically in junior high/middle school, people start to fall by the wayside. At that point, we are engaged in the provision of free babysitting, not education, in an increasingly large portion of the population. This is counterproductive, because it simultaneously prevents students who don't want to be there from being able to go out and earn a living and subjects those who do want to be there to their antics.

Would I like to live in a well-educated society? Yes, of course I would. But my world - and the world of most Slashdotters - is not the world of most people. Most people aren't capable of getting a college degree from even the crappiest of schools, and the idiotic idea that every person should spend their first twenty-two years on earth in pursuit of a bachelor's degree is holding us back as a society. We spend far too much money on education, for far too little return. The fact that Adam Smith saw some low-hanging fruit to pick doesn't mean that the marginal dollar spent on education is always a net positive.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (4, Informative)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448603)

Smith's specific discussion in "Wealth of Nations" concerned university level education, not sixth grade, though the same general class of arguments apply at basically every level (the more educated the populace, to whatever level they are capable of rising to though perhaps not paying for on the private market, the better overall for society).

we need to have more trades / apprenticeship and (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449207)

we need to have more trades / apprenticeship and stop pushing college for all / tech the test.

Not all people can learn in a college setting and we should not dumb down to college to have them pass we should push the people who do better in more on hands trade / tech school / apprenticeship setting.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449259)

We spend far too much money on education, for far too little return. The fact that Adam Smith saw some low-hanging fruit to pick doesn't mean that the marginal dollar spent on education is always a net positive.

A) The alternative is worse.
B) Education spending is complicated by social factors that take place outside the school.

I'll never understand the people who seem to think that if the government rolls back spending, things will stay the way they are or get better.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (3, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449359)

Once you start hitting real science and math, typically in junior high/middle school, people start to fall by the wayside.

I would chalk it up to educational methodology and the one-size-fits-all pedagogy that we seem to practice when it comes to education. People have unique skills, and people learn differently.

There are some things that come easily to me, without expending any significant effort (math, language, music) but there are things that I have to struggle with (e.g. visual arts).

Those things I am good at, I learn pretty much on my own. Take math, for instance. I can very easily pick up even sophisticated topics (e.g. topological manifolds) by picking up a book and immersing myself for a few weekends. Ditto for music -- I can usually translate my musical knowledge to any musical instrument once I've established the scale and technique. I may not be very good at it (not without practice, anyway), but I will make music.

But those things that aren't my strong suit? I need a lot of practice and the freedom (not to mention time) to make the connections on my own.

Foreign languages is another one of those -- I grew up in a tri-lingual household, and I can usually pick up languages pretty easily. But I find it easier to pick it up by immersion than by reading a book or going through a course. Letting me spend two weeks immersed in a language will be significantly more productive than subjecting me to a traditional class on languages for two months.

So, in my opinion, most people perform poorly because the educational system is designed for scale and issuing rubber-stamps -- not real education. If our goal is to genuinely educate the masses, we would have an educational system that's catered to people's strengths and learning capabilities.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (3, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448043)

The usual reason given for privatizing is the old canard "the private corporations can do this at a much lower cost"

And it's nearly always true... when there is competition.

When there's no competition, when a single private corporation is set up as a government-mandated monopoly, the result is always going to be very bad. You can make it less bad by adding a government regulatory body to provide oversight, but the result will still be less efficient than if there were true competition.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (1)

Wildclaw (15718) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448581)

Even with competition you run into the age old problem that private companies optimize for factors that aren't efficient for government.

For a private company, firing 100 people can be a massive efficiency boost. For the government, 100 unemployed people easily ends up costing more than just employing 100 people as it has to deal with the long term consequences.

Efficiency for the government is using less imported and natural resources. Meanwhile, private companies will easily spend more on imported and natural resources as long as it means that it can employ less people.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449155)

But how do you have competition when you need a standard test? Either the companies have to agree to a flat specification for said test, in which case you need a regulatory body anyway, or they're selling the same product, in which case they can't improve their products. Making it government-run looks like the right thing to do in this case, even though it has its own inefficiencies, because there just can't be a functional market.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (2, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448083)

Privatization

- Less bloat.
- Kickbacks to Congresscritters from companies.

  Government-Provided

- More bloat.
- Kickbacks to Congresscritters from unions.
- More voters directly attached to tit of government.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43448149)

Except that there isn't more bloat. There is bloat, and thus people assume it's "more" bloat, but when things really are privatized the bloat grows out of control. It takes different forms, sometimes as advertising or profit-margins, sometimes as other things, but if it's taking money and not a part of the results that are being paid for, it's bloat.

As to kickbacks, unions haven't been giving major kickbacks in quite a while. It was a problem, and then they got crushed by government intervention, which put corporations into the same positions and the kickbacks grew. As with the bloat, it seemed bad, but when it changed to privatization it got worse.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (1)

type40 (310531) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448223)

Yes, you never read about over bloated private companies here on Slashdot... It is easier for private companies to shed bloat (Hey, you. You don't work here any more, get the fuck out.) vs. government, mostly because government jobs generality require management to show cause to fire someone (Joe Jackoff is bad at his job and here is the documentation to prove it). Of course both never seem to fire the useless middle mangers when its time to drop the ax.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448577)

The advantage in the private sector is not that companies are inherently more efficient than governments. It's that inefficient companies tend to go out of business.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43448209)

"the corporation gets a cost plus profit contract,"

Why would a corporation do it for just cost? They are in business for profit.

Fixed-price contract vs. Cost-plus contract (2)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448621)

No, the point is not what you said. Contracts can be for a fixed amount ( fixed-price contract [wikipedia.org] ) where the company has to make a good faith bid on what it will cost them, and they include their profit in their bid cost. If they perform the job with a lower cost, they get higher profit. If the job ultimately costs more, they have to eat the extra cost and perform the contract at the specified cost.
.
A "cost plus profit contract bid" [wikipedia.org] allows the company to say "I am guessing that the job will cost X and you will pay me X + I am including a profit of P% of X along with that cost, but if the job ends up costing X+Y dollars, then you shall pay me (X+Y) + P% of (X+Y) as this contract says you shall pay me "cost + profit".
.
Fixed-cost puts more burden on the company to perform and do it efficiently and well. Cost-plus means that the company does not have as much incentive to keep the costs down as much as possible. (usually up to some fixed limit, according to wikipedia). Note, information is from wikipedia and San Diego Union Tribune articles. Please note IANACA / IAAHSK : I am not a contract attorney, i am a high-school kid. :>)

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448239)

"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."
-- Derek Bok

(If you think the corporations are going to provide better education at a lower cost, you are just starting to try ignorance: on short term, serves the corporations even better)

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43448437)

Everyone knows that governments are not subject to the same flaws that corporations are. Government workers really care about us, not about money. They love us and want what is best for us, because government is magic.

The sad reality is that your arguments apply more to governments than to corporations. Corporations can be bad, but unless the government forces us to choose a particular corporation, we have much more direct power over corporations. Nearly all government regulation today is done by unelected bureaucrats, not elected officials. When corporations do something bad, at least there is another organization above them to punish them. Good luck changing ANYTHING in government, unless the change you want is more rules that nobody could possibly remember, let alone follow.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (2)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448559)

The usual reason given for privatizing is the old canard "the private corporations can do this at a much lower cost".

That's one of the reasons. The other is that, since the government has extraordinary powers (the ability to arbitrarily take what it wants from its citizens, imprison them, execute them), any tasks that do not require those extraordinary powers should not be performed by the government, in order to reduce the ability to abuse those powers.

Most of the problems you iterate only come about if you privatize a monopoly (indispensibility, keeping costs down, etc); monopolies are going to be problematic, regardless of whether they're private or public.

Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448945)

Well, privatization makes sense when there can actually be competition. It also makes sense if you lack an economy of scale that a private company could offer.

However, if you privatize something that you already have economy of scale on and give an exclusive contract to a single company, well, yes, you're going to get clobbered.

If the state police is running its own paper mill to create ticket pads for its officers then buying the paper from whoever is cheapest that month makes sense. On the other hand, privatizing the police force itself doesn't make sense - you're already employing tens of thousands of people with all the support structures in place. There really isn't any sensible way to privatize that without an exclusive contract. Now, privatizing bounty hunting and such would make more sense - you can just publish a name and a bounty and give the money to whoever drags the guy in.

I'm all for outsourcing or privatizing when it makes sense. The problem is that it is usually just done as a matter of fashion, or management laziness, or often in the case of the government (and sometimes industry as well), corruption.

Why bother? Employers don't check. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43447887)

Just skip the test. Unless you are trying to get a job with the government, no one bothers to check. If a test is that important, why not just use the SAT or ACT and require a lower score?

Be Very Afraid! (0)

b4upoo (166390) | about a year and a half ago | (#43447903)

There has been a war on exposure of school systems that are inadequate in training young people. Many mayors and governors fought tooth and nail to avoid any kind of standardized testing or releasing of results. The GED is one great reference standard. If certain high schools fail to have large percentages of their kids doing well on the GED it is a warning that the school is not adequate. Mayors know that if new industry or business is to be attracted that a poor school system will drive away any prospects. Kids have been fed nonsense for decades about how wonderful their school is but in reality many of them were being graduated from awful schools.
                                  This game extends into the ruin of colleges as well. One criteria for judging the quality of a college is the average GED score of the new crop of freshmen who took the test as high school seniors. Make note that small, private colleges rarely use the better accrediting services but hire only a service that focuses on other small colleges. The last thing they want is to be known as providing a lesser value education than a state school. And the game goes on. Few students are aware that individual departments within a college may not be accredited even though the college or university as a whole is accredited. When the graduate goes job hunting he may be in for a very rude shock as some employers will not consider him a graduate at all. You could be a highly, specialized, engineer with no acceptable diplomas at all.

Re:Be Very Afraid! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43447997)

I think you're thinking of the SAT/ACT. The GED is something different.

Re:Be Very Afraid! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43448025)

The GED is one great reference standard. If certain high schools fail to have large percentages of their kids doing well on the GED it is a warning that the school is not adequate.

Check me if I'm wrong, but students don't take GEDs. GEDs are for people who don't graduate from high school. That's why GEDs are typically called "equivalency exams."

Re:Be Very Afraid! (1)

alambda (1851436) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448979)

Standardized testing leads to rote memorization and to the death of any real process of learning through understanding. PISA is an OECD sanctioned standardized international test to evaluate the performance of teenage students. The top western country is Finland, where no standardized tests even exist! In this day and age, where schools serve a role more in individual development rather than building a strong homogeneous national identity, it makes less and less sense to force people to fit into the same mold. This is especially true because the mold is always decades behind technological advances and the number of interest areas are growing at an everincreasing rate.

While these might not have been the things the mayors were thinking about when making their decisions, I do sympathize with their actions.

GED as a cost-cutting tool (1)

crow (16139) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448007)

Here's an interesting idea. What if a cash-strapped school district started giving the test to all their better students in 9th or 10th grade, so as to not have to teach them for two or three years? How hard would it be to get a quarter of the high school students to pass it a few years early?

I don't think this would be a great policy in most cases, though I'll admit that I considered taking the GED to get out of high school a year early. It could be a good option for some kids.

Re:GED as a cost-cutting tool (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448323)

Backfire. Schools are typically funded by "how many butts are in the seats at 8am on these particular days of the term".

Re:GED as a cost-cutting tool (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448987)

What a joke that would be. I suspect I could have passed that test in middle school, as could the top 25% or so of any high school. They're testing for minimal proficiency - ie that somebody performs as well as somebody who just barely managed to get a diploma. These are the sorts of students who make headlines in surveys that show that most Americans can't point out Europe on a map.

While I won't say that high school was the most efficient learning experience it could have been, I still learned quite a bit while there. The fact that you don't need to understand Chemistry, Calculus, or Literature to graduate high school doesn't mean that these subjects aren't valuable.

Re:GED as a cost-cutting tool (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449401)

I still learned quite a bit while there.

But most people seem to simply memorize quite a bit while there and don't accomplish much else. I'd say almost anyone would be better off just getting a GED if they want to have a piece of paper so badly.

GEDs Don't Work (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448247)

Think about it, it takes 30-40 hours of prep to pass the GED test. But it takes 3,000-4,000 hours of time to graduate from regular high school. If you could really compress high-school by 100x then everybody should just get a GED and skip those four years of waste.

Obviously it doesn't work that way. Getting a GED has barely, if any, effect on long-term outcomes. As in, if you dropped out of high school you are probably just as screwed regardless of if you get a GED or not.

Re:GEDs Don't Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43448567)

You assume they need those hours in the first place or haven't acquired them already. I ended up trivially getting a GED after I was already in college for a year (needed it to transfer) and ended up at the top end of the scale. Granted I am very much aware I am an outlier but there are also the well homeschooled in a similar situation of "already learned". (As opposed to the fact fearing fundamentalists.)

Re:GEDs Don't Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43448861)

> I am an outlier

But apparently below average enough not to realize when you've invalidated your entire reason for posting.

Re:GEDs Don't Work (1)

BluPhenix316 (2656403) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448931)

I dropped out of High School because I was living on my own and had to work. The only job I could get at the time and age required me to work during normal school hours. I then got my GED and since then have joined the military and now i'm out of the military and i'm attending College. If it weren't for the GED I wouldn't have been able to do what i've done and get more than a minimum wage job.

Re:GEDs Don't Work (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449367)

Sounds like you have that backwards. It was the GED requirement that held you back. So now you got a box checked on your resume, that hasn't made you any smarter or more capable. If there were no such thing as GEDs then people in your circumstance wouldn't even be expected to get one - you could have just joined the military and gone to college without that particular hoop.

Re:GEDs Don't Work (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448997)

Yup, a GED is a box-checking exercise (job requires diploma or GED - check box). I suspect that the top 25% of 8th graders could probably pass it.

Re:GEDs Don't Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43449413)

If you could really compress high-school by 100x then everybody should just get a GED and skip those four years of waste.

Many people seem to not care about their education enough to leave high school and do something a bit more productive (homeschooling, self-education, etc.), though. You might be surprised to see how much and how quickly a motivated individual can learn (and understand, not just memorize like in high school) when compared to high schools (which offer only a one-size-fits-all approach to education).

50% of all jobs don't need an 8th grade education (1)

gelfling (6534) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448693)

Do you need a GED to stack topsoil bags at Home Depot or lay roofing tiles? Do you need a GED to mash the chicken shaped button on the cash register.

Re:50% of all jobs don't need an 8th grade educati (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449223)

Yes, therwise your employment application will not ask for the name of your high school and whether you graduated or not. Nowadays, even dishwashing jobs require a high school diploma or GED.

Re:50% of all jobs don't need an 8th grade educati (1)

gelfling (6534) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449281)

Require and need are different things

Strange situation (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448831)

Looking at this from outside the US: it looks really strange to privatize high school final exam. What could be the benefit? You have public schools with teachers on payroll, why not pick randomly 100 of them each year, ask them to write a test, then randomly pick what is your exam.

Re:Strange situation (1)

WMD_88 (843388) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449007)

It's not the high school final exam, per se. It's an exam you can take *instead* of actually going to high school. Nobody does both.

Re:Strange situation (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449447)

I missed that point. But why two different exams? (I assume there is a high school final exam, is that right?)

You don't really have a choice (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449275)

If you are applying for Federal student aid to go to college, you NEED a high school diploma or GED certificate.

Before 2012 you can get financial aid by passing the ability-to-benefit (ATB) test. Now that option is gone. ATB test, which test only English and Math skills, are very popular among the adult immigrant population who are getting a technical degree or similar. Now they will have to pass GED which means learning social science and civics among others that they will probably NEVER use.

Re:You don't really have a choice (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year and a half ago | (#43449417)

If you are applying for Federal student aid to go to college, you NEED a high school diploma or GED certificate.

Where is this? I know someone who home schooled his son and his son was able to apply for a grant even though he didn't have a diploma or a GED.

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