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This is a fascinating article about the possibility of a GED for college dropouts.  Chad Aldeman for The Quick and the ED has a great idea:  General diplomas for certain students.

Here’s his conclusion:

The first option would be to follow the GED model. Some respected organization, like ACE, would draw up a set of tests and allow the public a period for comment. The tests could be less about basic skills and more about critical thinking, and they could be computer-adaptive. In fact, there are already three different tests that fit this criteria that hundreds of colleges are already administering (see here, here, and here). Colleges and universities would be responsible for administering the tests, students would pay a small fee to take them, and states would determine the passing scores. The result would be some type of general diploma that would not be worth as much as a regular one, but would signal to employers that the student was capable of college graduate-level work.

Another option would be to bolster the measures that colleges and universities already have to get students out the door with degrees. To deal with super seniors and other students who’ve amassed more than the requisite number of credits but that do not fulfill any particular major, colleges across the country are expanding the use of general diplomas. Just like the first option, a general diploma would not be as valuable as one for a specific major, but they would get the student out the door with an earned credential.

I think that an idea like this could make Virginia an innovative state in education without violating conservative principles.  Get say VCU to adopt it as a pilot program to get college dropouts with a degree through testing and maybe course material online. 

Also, open the path to teaching by mandating that anyone with a college degree (graduate degree preferred) or substantial training/experience in the field be licnesed to teach.  Maybe have a brief course on education and legal issues etc. 

I urge Governor McDonnell to look into this.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)


  1. Shaun Kenney says:

    Being one of those 27 million, I’m not sure how it makes financial sense for me to go back to college at $10K a year, for night classes, just so I can join the thousands of others with liberal arts majors seeking employment.

    Worse than the financial sense, flooding the field of college graduates ultimately cheapens the degree. At some point, “the more PhD you have the less common sense you have” starts to ring true — experience trumps diplomas.

    Would I love to complete my college career and move on to study something like law? Definitely. Would it have an impact on my income? To the negative, most definitely. We’re a long ways from Jefferson’s ideal of a truly public education.

    There’s another concern to this as well. Though I’m not studying for a degree, it doesn’t mean that I read just about everything I touch — which has an upside and a downside. One of the advantages of a professor, an apprenticeship, or any other mentor program is that you learn and read certain things in order and for a reason. Today, even if you have the diploma, there’s no guarantee that you really emerged with an education, much less expertise in your field of study.

    Ergo, the College GED/night school/online school really doesn’t mean you’re educated — it just means you paid enough $$$ to get the sheet of paper.

    It’s a great idea — don’t get me wrong — but I do get the sense that a more comprehensive rethink of our education system is in order. Maybe something on the German model?


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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