Vocational Education, the General Equivalency Diploma, and Urban and Minority Populations

F. L. Rivera-Batiz

Perceptions of the economic value of the GED have been contradictory. This report on the first nationally representative analysis of the GED and the labor market shows that for whites the GED and high school diploma are equivalent, but for blacks and Hispanics a high school diploma results in significantly higher gains than a GED. Since high school graduates and GED-holders have the same literacy skills, racial and ethnic labor market discrimination and the negative value employers assign to the GED must account for this difference. Rivera-Batiz points out that a GED does provide substantial economic gains to high school dropouts, so that vocational programs serving dropouts should encourage these individuals to get a GED. For blacks and Hispanics, however, vocational programs should stress completion of high school instead.

MDS-1040 / January 1996


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