Forcing GEDs Through Unemployment Checks


Perhaps this is some sort of attempt to get more Americans into higher education but, man, it is misguided.

According to an article by Alyson Klein in Education Week:

The U.S. House of Representatives is set to consider a bill that would require those seeking Unemployment Insurance to have a high school diploma or GED—or be working toward one—in order to receive those benefits. The provision is part of a push to extend unemployment benefits while revamping the program, in part by shortening to 59, from 99, the number of weeks people are eligible.

Wow, this is offensive. Who cares if someone graduated from high school? He had a job. And now he doesn’t; he needs money.

A spokesman for the House Ways and Means Committee said the high school rule “is intended to encourage unemployed individuals to boost their skills.” Since people without high school degrees have a harder time finding jobs, he reasoned, everyone who wants unemployment should finish high school.

Interesting, but if you want someone to get a GED, a pretty good way to ensure that won’t happen is to not give him unemployment insurance. Now there’s no way he can earn it because he won’t have enough money to support himself while taking the classes.

Furthermore, as Klein explains, state adult education programs don’t have enough open spaces for more students. Some 160,000 adults appear to be on waiting lists for GED preparation programs. There’s no indication the proposed bill will increase capacity for such programs. [Image via]

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer