Rebirth of Reason

Favorite EditSanction this itemMcGraw-Hill's GED by Patricia Mulcrone
McGraw-HillOn Amazon I captioned this review:

Exploring the GED for Fun and Profit

Many high school students quit school before graduation. They have numerous causes for this choice, some more legitimate than others. The bottom line remains that the modern world often demands at least a high school diploma or its equivalent in order to progress to higher levels of occupational achievement. This especially holds true for those who want to earn a college degree. So for high school dropouts interested in making such progress, the General Educational Development (GED) credential becomes a must. Other Amazon reviewers have already praised this book so I will strive to avoid repeating their valid applause. As a college graduate who followed an unusual path of education, however, I do want to make some observations about this book and the GED that I hope other readers find helpful.

First, let me state that I found this massive tome quite an enjoyable and informative experience. It contains, in one volume, the essentials of what every high school graduate ought to know. The included compact disc (CD) has fully interactive practice tests on every GED subject and provides feedback to the user on areas needing improvement. A GED candidate would have a hard time finding a better study guide.

Now for the main thrust of my review. I purchased this text for the express purpose of examining my own educational background and attempting to share lessons learned with future generations. I attended a small, rural high school in North Carolina 1980-1982 for ninth and tenth grades. My academic ambitions led to my application to the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM), a new experiment in education that opened in 1980 for "gifted" eleventh and twelfth graders. To my delight, the school accepted me and I attended 1982-1984 and graduated with a high school diploma from that school as well as 19 semester hours of placement college credit. I will not repeat my lessons learned from those experiences in this review but invite the reader to do a Google search for my article "Advice for Those Considering NCSSM" and my YouTube video "Dual Enrollment versus NCSSM" instead. Suffice it to say that I would expand my range of options to investigate if I found myself in tenth grade today.

This brings me to the point of this review. As I read this book, I think back to what I knew in tenth grade and how I might have performed on the GED in those days. Frankly, I think I could have passed it with very little study. The main subjects in the book I had not yet studied at that time included World History, Economics, and Civics. The book elucidates these subjects so well that I feel confident I could have spent a few hours studying them and passed the corresponding tests. That a "gifted" student could do this begs questions about why the government schooling system keeps students locked into government high schools rather than encouraging them to finish high school early and begin college early. Programs such as NCSSM as well as the new "Early College High Schools" popping into existence attempt to address this problem with mixed success. However, the Internet now makes a college education much more accessible to such accelerated learners with high school not even needed.

In my fantasy "do over" scenario in which I found myself a teenager today, I would take the GED after tenth grade and immediately enroll in my local community college, bypassing NCSSM altogether. After completing foundational courses for the next two years, I would transfer to engineering school as a junior while my former high school peers languished as college freshmen. I would have no need to rely on Advanced Placement (AP) examinations, merely "hoping" to get college credit, because I would have already earned it.

Of course, as with all fantasies, achieving this one would require satisfying many "if" statements: "If" I could get the support of my parents; "If" I could turn the law to my favor; "If" I could pass the relevant college entrance examinations; "If" I could find the funds and transportation needed to attend local college early; "If" ... "If" ... "If" .... So many conditionals represent a fundamental flaw in American education today, namely its intrinsic resistance to young students of ability, independence, and ambition. The handsome payoffs would make the effort to overcome such resistance worthwhile, however.

I conclude this review by encouraging young, smart high school students to purchase and read this book. Consider the implications of an early GED followed by an early start in college. It could change your life for the better.

Added by Luke Setzer
on 5/24/2009, 4:39pm

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