Whereas more than 1,000,000 students attend public schools in Washington State, comprised of about 80,000 students at each grade level; and
Whereas only 60,000 students graduate from Washington high schools each year, leaving about 20,000 annually who have not received the help they need to graduate – in part because our state has consistently provided among the lowest levels of education funding as a percent of income and maintains the highest class sizes in the nation; and
Whereas this shortfall in funding for public education has repeatedly been ruled by our State Supreme Court to be a violation of our State Constitution, meaning that those struggling students have already been deprived of their Constitutional right to a quality education; and
Whereas, in the past, more than 11,000 of those annual “high school dropouts” (i.e., more than half of the 20,000 students who did not graduate) eventually earned a High School Equivalency (HSE) certificate, more commonly called the General Education Development certificate or “GED certificate,” by taking and passing a specific test therefor; and
Whereas having a high school diploma or GED certificate is a requirement to attend college and often to get a good job; and
Whereas lack of a high school diploma or GED certificate is often associated with an increased risk of taking drugs, committing crimes, and ending up in prison – meaning that for many young adults, the GED test is not merely a second chance at a productive life, it is their last chance; and
Whereas in January 2014 a new and dramatically more difficult GED test was introduced, designed by Pearson Testing Service (a for-profit entity), resulting in the pass rate dropping from 50% to less than 10% in the past three months; and
Whereas the Pearson GED test costs about twice as much as the previous version; and
Whereas a substantially better high school equivalency test called the “HiSET” is now available, at a significantly lower cost, from the (nonprofit) University of Iowa’s College of Education; and
Whereas the HiSET has already been adopted as a high school equivalency option in eleven States;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we urge our Governor and State Legislature to restore fairness and hope for high school dropouts by allowing them the opportunity to take the Iowa HiSET High School Equivalency test rather than the recently stiffened Pearson GED High School Equivalency test.
Adopted ________________ by _____________________________
Previously adopted by the 36th LD Democrats
Originated by Elizabeth Hanson, M,Ed., and David Spring, M.Ed.
More info available at restoregedfairness.org