Thursday, October 7, 2004

Committee recommends in-school GED program

By Murray Evans
The Associated Press

FRANKFORT - A state school board committee unanimously recommended Wednesday the passage of a proposed GED program that would be accessible to struggling students while they still are in high school.

The full board was to vote today on the proposal, which would allow students who are 16 years old to take the exam to get a General Educational Development certificate.

. Participants in Kentucky's current GED program have to be 17 or older and out of school for a year to take the exam, unless they get a superintendent's waiver.

The theory behind the proposed program is that schools can at least provide assistance in taking the GED test to students who are planning to drop out of school anyway.

After a student drops out, that assistance isn't available, said Dorie Combs, the chairwoman of the state Board of Education's curriculum committee, which recommended the program.

Combs said state superintendents and principals "are ready to open the doors and help kids who are ready for this program."

Opponents, however, said it will provide a way for schools to quietly pass through their systems low-performing students who would otherwise drag down test scores.

"This is a get-home-free card for superintendents across the state to push kids who won't test well though the system," said Richard Innes, spokesman for the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions.

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