ABILENE, Texas (KRBC)- Most positions in the workforce now require the minimum education of a high school diploma, and for some people, that requirement means going back to school. But, school officials say the GED exam is more difficult than ever before.
Before she started working a Hawley High School as a custodian, 53 year-old Janna Shelton never stepped foot on a high school campus as a student; she stopped going to class over 40 years ago. She says she was bullied, often harassed in the hallway.
“It was a terrible experience,” said Shelton. “I didn’t finish school. I dropped out of school.
But, throughout her life, raising six kids and holding multiple jobs not having the high school diploma made life pretty tough.
“You have to have an education nowadays or you’re not going to get anywhere,” said Shelton. “It was at some points I couldn’t even help my own children with math. “
Wanting to set an example for her children, she buckled down. She studied on and off for 2 and half years at the AISD adult education program at Alta Vista. She passed the exam back in December of 2019, and she now holds her high school diploma.
Director at the adult education program Mignon Lawson said it’s an incredible feat to receive one’s diploma after being out of academics for several years.
“For the vast majority of our students for whatever reason, something didn’t click for them in high school,” said Lawson.
Especially she said since the exam has recently become more rigorous, focusing on the area people dread most.
“This is not the GED Test of the ’60s and ’70s,” said Lawson. “The math [section] has algebra 2 on it. It’s a very difficult test to pass now.”
When she first began her work for the adult education program, she though with time, enrollment rates would decrease.
“I thought some day, you know, our numbers would start going down, because, you know you finally get everybody their education getting [those numbers] down,” said Lawson. “That is not the case. The numbers keep going up.”
Lawson said she has seen students with all academic backgrounds, some even reading at a fifth grade level. But, she said, she believes the program and its teachers are equipped to help students succeed.
“And we tell students here, if you can get it done in a month, we’ll be cheering you on, if you need us two years, we’re here,” said Lawson.