Metro North ABE Links Newsletter, Spring 2020 - Page 7

Policy update Metro North ABE along with other ABE providers across the state, successfully lobbied the state legislature last year to eliminate the financial barrier adults face when getting a high school diploma. Adult learners seeking a diploma through the test-competency pathway take the General Educational Development (GED) assessment in four separate tests: mathematical reasoning, reasoning through language arts, social studies and science. To pass the GED, a student must pass all four tests, each of which costs $30. That is $120 dollars for our students to reach their dreams. For students on a fixed income that can be a tremendous, often impossible, barrier. $120 is a few trips to the grocery store. It’s a hefty chunk of a heating bill, or it’s new winter gear for a family to survive the cold Minnesotan winters. Thanks to this change, students now have the fee waived. Metro North ABE offers two testing centers at our Anoka Technical College site and the Blaine Learning Lab. In addition, we support our county correctional facilities in offering GED testing for inmates while incarcerated. Since the state waived the fee, we have seen a great increase in students taking this test. Before the Covid-19 crisis, GED testing was up 68% this year compared to the year prior. While these sites have been closed during the Governor’s shelter in place guidelines, we hope to open them as soon as it is safe to do so. One future goal we are working on through our advocacy arm, Literacy Action Network, is creating a more consistent funding formula to help ABE schools continue to improve and empower our workforce in the future. We will keep you posted on any success in this area in a future issue. Columbia Heights/ Fridley students, staff and volunteers attend the 2020 “Day on the Hill” to advocate for greater legislative support for adult basic education programs across the state.