What the GED Proves about K-12 Education

Colleges rarely pay much attention to the “homeschool diploma” because no one knows what it represents. For most families, it’s simply an attempt at a modern high school diploma. But what is this high school diploma, and what does it signify?

Children today spend 13 years working for a high school diploma.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s a public school diploma, private school diploma or home school diploma, the end result of these 13 years of schooling, for almost all students in America, is a high school diploma.  When we factor in the average cost per student in a modern public school–over $12,000 per year–we can set a price on that high school diploma of $156,000.

Think about that for a minute.  Americans are paying $156,000 for a high school diploma.

While it would seem that this “high school diploma” is important, if one of these American students quits the K-12 system, and doesn’t earn the high school diploma, it’s OK.   He can simply study and take the “GED“.  

The GED consists of four tests:

  • Mathematics (115 min.)
  • Language Arts (150 min.)
  • Science (70  min.)
  • Social Studies (90 min.)

To prepare for the content of these four tests, a student can simply work through a study manual that costs less than $30.  

Pass those four tests and that’s it:  the student has earned his high school diploma–equivalent to the homeschool diploma a Catholic family claims to have worked to complete over 13 years.  

What is significant about this is that the foolishness of the modern K-12 is revealed by four tests and a $30 prep book.  There is nothing in a K-12 education worth $156,000.  There is no reason why the study required for a high school diploma needs to be divided over 13 years of a child’s life.  There is no reason why parents need to pretend that what’s needed for a high school diploma requires constant work, 180 days per year for 13 years.  This is all nonsense–especially for Christian homeschooling families.

What are we doing, folks?

The GED proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that no one can justify devoting 13 years to modern K-12 studies for a high school diploma.  No one can justify abandoning the studies that made up a traditional Catholic education for 1850 years before the public school system was invented (by non-Catholics).  No one can justify the stress modern parents live with, talking about Algebra and Chemistry and English and History studies, when a high school diploma can be earned with a $30 prep book by passing 4 tests. 

There are ZERO excuses for denying Catholic students of a real, classical Catholic education in the name of “earning a high school diploma” or “going to college” or “preparing for a career”.   Catholic parents have to learn how to make better use of the years they have with their children and not allow the K-12 model to rob them of a classical Catholic education.  Modern students rarely study Sacred Scripture, barely cover the basics of Catholic Theology, neglect the arts of Reasoning and Rhetoric, skip Moral and Natural Philosophy–and, in their place, waste time on studies that can be printed in a single book and assessed with just four tests. The homeschool diploma must not be the end of Catholic homeschooling.

The GED removes all excuses by showing how little the modern K-12 education actually consists of, and we have no excuse for pretending this to be the standard for Catholic education.

William C. Michael, Headmaster
Classical Liberal Arts Academy

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