Oregon can do more to help dropouts earn a GED

Lauren Williams's picture
Thursday, January 30, 2014

Oregon has a second chance to help adult high school dropouts get back on track by earning the new General Educational Development (GED) certificate.

A City Club of Portland research committee spent the last eight months studying the GED and its role in Oregon education. What we found was disheartening. The state does not coordinate spending and services on basic adult education. Rather, a hodgepodge of colleges, workforce development agencies, nonprofits and others assist adults who did not graduate from high school.

Some 336,000 adult Oregonians, more than the combined populations of Salem and Eugene, lack the basic educational attainment that qualifies them for college and career. Disproportionately, these adults are of color and grew up in poverty.

This is not only a clear failure of our educational system, but it represents a significant economic burden for all Oregonians. Adults who have dropped out of high school are more likely to rely on publicly funded social services, and because they tend to have lower-paying jobs, if any job at all, they pay less in taxes.

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