I have a GED

I’m cleaning out my file drawer. I’ve found lots of good things to throw away including certificates from the Department of Labor certifying that I’ve completed 25 hours of community services (even though I haven’t) and my high school equivalency diploma.

“Your GED score of 3390 is an outstanding achievement. It places you in the estimated top 10 percent of the national graduating class of high school seniors.” They also give a percentile rank by subject which for me are 99 except for writing (79) and reading (92). Presumably the scorer didn’t like my essay responses in those two sections which weren’t always, you know, on topic.

Now if you ever see me ranked in the top 10% of anything, there are two possible explanations: 1) your sample size is too small; 2) something is terribly wrong.

Something is terribly wrong. But whatever the cause of the various achievement gaps among American high schools, there are unintended consequences of emphasizing the importance of education which are even more harmful than ignorance. It’s a cruel culture that values and assigns social status to individuals based on education or knowledge and ability. It’s also self-perpetuating. Poor minorities who are told they can’t achieve in academics, or that they can’t choose their occupations, or that they can’t generally be important people are psychologically disadvantaged. “Education is important” is an effective and stealthy slogan of oppression.

I would like to see more able students drop out of high school. At least for a semester or two, where their time could be spent in self-study or on a social project. Especially younger high school students who could not only protest the inflated prestige of education but could deliberately disobey compulsory education laws. I don’t know if such a movement is currently feasible, but it’s something I’m very interested in finding ways to encourage.

Opportunities in further education and employment that were previously unobtainable may now be available to you. The State GED Office shares with you a feeling of satisfaction in your accomplishment.

Oh good.