high school

The Many Ways To Graduate During A Pandemic

May 29, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has canceled milestones for countless people. Weddings have been pushed back, memorials modified for social distancing and some funerals made digital.

High school graduation is a milestone that may feel a little different for students after e-learning for their final months. In early May, the Illinois State Board of Education made a statement saying schools were not to have typical in-person ceremonies. The board also gave guidelines on how schools can still celebrate.

Editor’s Note: WNIJ and our podcast Teachers’ Lounge are giving a platform for you to hear some of those valedictorian speeches. If you want your school to be a part of our special edition show, send us an email at teacherslounge@niu.edu. And thanks!

"Cap and Diploma" by Flickr User bluefieldphotos bp / (CC X 2.0)

Adults in Illinois who failed to graduate from high school still can earn a General Educational Development certificate, also known as a GED.

But legislation approved by the General Assembly would provide what some consider to be a better alternative.

Students leave high school for a variety of reasons. Some drop out because of family obligations, financial pressures, or lack of motivation. Some are pushed out due to disciplinary problems. Once they reach age 21, their only option is to get a GED.

Illinois Making Changes To GED

Jul 22, 2014
flickr user/ Ramunas Geciauskas "Lonely Pencil" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn recently signed legislation that will remove all references to the GED from Illinois law. It’s part of a much broader change in the education program for people who didn’t finish high school. 

This year the GED more than doubled in price, going from $50 to $120.

It also got a lot harder, based on the new, more rigorous Common Core education standards.

State GED administrator Jennifer Foster, with the Illinois Community College Board, says that’s led to a significant drop in the number of people taking GED tests.