Melanie Barrett and Kathy Hancock get it in Christian County.
So does the Kentucky New Era in Hopkinsville.
Barrett and Hancock are “Opening Doors” (subscription) to a better life for young adults ages 18 to 21 who dropped out of school. Their Academy of Continuing Education (ACE) allows these recent dropouts to complete their education with a full high school diploma rather than the far less rigorous GED.
Why is a high school education and the related diploma better?
One reason, as the New Era points out, is that savvy employers know the difference. A high school diploma provides a definite hiring edge.
One example cited in the newspaper: “Rarely do military units accept someone without a high school diploma.”
The reason is simple. The US military knows that people with high school diplomas are far more likely to successfully complete their first enlistment. Given the growing expense to train each soldier, sailor or airman to function and fight in today’s complex military environment, those first-term losses are just too expensive.
Since its inception, the Bluegrass Institute has pointed out the same facts about the GED versus a full high school education, and we’ve made it very clear that Kentucky’s unacceptably high public school dropout rates cost the state more than we can bear.
The Hopkinsville academy also highlights something else. Our ‘One Size Must Fit All’ public school system isn’t meeting the needs of many kids. Now, the ACE program in Hopkinsville is introducing a different approach for kids with different needs who CHOOSE to go to a different type of school.
So, why does the public school establishment – which doesn’t meet the needs of these kids and which continues to suffer a dropout rate so high that it never honestly determined what that rate is – continue to fight real school choices for Kentucky’s children?