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Deb Peterson

GED Discrimination?

By October 21, 2008

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Candice Evans wrote for the Daily Times in Maryland about Charlie Porch, a young man from Salisbury who has had nothing but trouble with both the military and his hometown because he earned a GED rather than a traditional high school diploma. He has had to prove himself to both the U.S. Air Force and employers who demand additional testing, college credit, and/or higher scores of people with GEDs.

Where is the outrage over this? Is outrage warranted? Are people with GED credentials truly discriminated against?

I'm interested in your opinion, and your story. Join us on the Continuing Education Message Boards and let your voice be heard.


April 18, 2009 at 7:42 am
(1) GED Discriminated in Detroit says:

I didn’t use my real name, but I would like to tell my story. I hold a GED and it apparently was discovered by my superiors. I have elevated my education level all the way to a Masters and above. I am presently a school administrator. Yet, I am subject to covert attacks about my lack of a conventional high school diploma from both my principal and assistant principal. Yes, the attacks are covert, and I guess I am too dumb to realize what they are doing. This isn’t even a fraction of the story that I have to tell. But I am glad to know that someone cares about this type of discrimination. I have been suffering at the hands of these two people for about two years now.

April 18, 2009 at 12:49 pm
(2) Deb Peterson says:

I’m really sorry to hear about this. Thanks for having the courage to speak up. What are you considering doing?
p.s. If you’d like some ideas, I invite you to post in the forum. You can remain anonymous, and there are friendly people there who would be willing to help.

July 8, 2009 at 5:14 pm
(3) GED Discrimation in Chicago, Illinois says:

Hi Deb i too encountered problems possessing a GED. My grandmother is now 81 years old and requires around the clock care, we found an agency that has caregiver staffing who in return sent their caregivers to her home, but since my grandmother is 81 yrs old WITH dementia she is not the easiest person to deal with so our family decided that we would have a family member work for my grandmother through the company named Gareda Diversified Business so this way we won’t have major problem with the staff dealing with her. I was elected to go apply for the job and in doing so i went to the agency only to be rejected because they said that they don’t and wont accept my GED, now I’m no mad scientist but I’m currently a pre med student and i am licensed Patient Care Technician (PCT) along with several years of experience in working with clients with Alzheimer’s disease and etc. I’d like to know if it is unlawful to purposely refuse a perspective employee with a GED?

July 15, 2009 at 8:33 am
(4) Deb Peterson says:

Hi GlamChick,
I’m so sorry to hear about your experience. What a kick in the gut. Your GED should be acceptable all by itself. It’s flabbergasting that they wouldn’t take into consideration your subsequent success in both school and business. I don’t know about the law, although I would think it would be considered discriminatory. What did you decide to do?

December 1, 2009 at 10:01 pm
(5) Derek says:

I really wish we could shed light on this topic on a national level. I do think people are heavily discriminated against that hold a GED, including myself. It seems most people see GED holders as unintelligent and under-educated. Being told your not good enough for a certain job or task is just as insulting as if it were in a racial way. Just making the decision to go on and get a GED isn’t an easy task. It also takes lots of hard work and studying after all of the missed years of schooling. I hope more people see what we have to go through and thank you Deb for posting this topic.

December 11, 2009 at 11:59 am
(6) Deb Peterson says:

I’m sorry to hear you have felt discriminated against because of your GED, Derek. It’s simple ignorance on the part of the people discriminating. Congrats on getting your GED.

December 28, 2009 at 3:51 pm
(7) Nathanial says:

My wife and I have recently run into similar problems. She is currently looking for a job and has been turned down due to a lack of diploma. During her high school years, both of her parents were in the hospital, one due to a stroke and the other with numerous health issues. She chose to get her G.E.D in order that she stay home and take care of her debilitated family. Even after a brief explanation the employers still refuse to accept the “equivalency”. To me it should not be offered if it will continue to be a misnomer.

February 16, 2010 at 1:27 am
(8) GED Discrimination in Missouri says:

Two years ago I graduated from college with Honors and a 3.89 GPA. I went looking for a day job while I spent a year off, waiting to take the Foreign Service Exam. My first Job was at Wal-Mart, when I went in for orientation I was there with several other new hires, one was a friend from college who had recently dropped out, he had been hired as a night manager. I enquired as to why I was not considered for the opening and they told me it was because of my GED, which I got when I was 17 after my high school wouldn’t let me graduate early. Exasperated, I told one of my cart-pushing co-workers about it and he was sympathetic and informed me that he had a high school diploma and couldn’t even read (which was later revealed more dramatically as I had to read him his schedule every few weeks).
I have to say that I have seen this in other places as well. Another friend of mine from college (who was also in honors) was recently denied a because of his GED. I found this because of that, I am curious if it’s legal for people to discriminate based on this. Some people may argue that a GED tells employers that the applicant didn’t complete high school, but I would argue that now-a-days completion of high school doesn’t say a lot. At least, it doesn’t say any more than the GED applicant should be allowed to say for himself upon interview.

February 24, 2010 at 8:39 am
(9) Deb Peterson says:

What a horrible experience. I’m sorry to hear you went through that. I can’t understand why an employer would even care whether you have a GED or high school diploma if you have a college degree. What does it matter?

I’m looking at GED discrimination a little further and will write about it again soon.

April 1, 2010 at 5:39 pm
(10) Richard says:


I enjoyed your article immensely and wrote something about the topic myself at http://onlinegedsite.com/ged-job-discrimination/ .

I know half a dozen young people in Chicago who have dropped out of high school. In one family of 3 males and 2 females, all 3 young men dropped out of high school. I’m afraid the young ladies did also. All good people. But for whatever reasons, they dropped out.

Thanks for your article. Feel free to send me an email.

November 5, 2010 at 7:52 pm
(11) CarteBlanche says:

I have been discriminated against for possessing a General Equivalency Diploma versus having a High School Diploma.Though the Government deems it to be equivalent other do not treat it as a sufficient diploma. It is extremely discouraging. Why offer the GED program when upon successful completion Employers a well as Universities are able to discriminate because of it? Both of my parents were killed right before I graduated, and due to circumstances beyond my control I was not afforded the opportunity to continue my education at that time. If that wasn’t painful enough I am now being told my GED is not good enough, that people can’t take me seriously, that I’m considered a quitter because I didn’t graduate on time, that chances can’t be taken on me, because a GED says to them that I quit school which labels me as a quitter. This is exactly what I was told by Employers & Colleges.With that being said I feel very limited when it comes to reaching my full potential and fulfilling my goals in life because of my GED. Having a General Equivalency Diploma makes me feel like a failure. I’m very embarrassed to have a GED. I know that am not a quitter. I complete everything I start, and by obtaining my GED should stand for something.

Please Stop The Discrimination.

January 6, 2011 at 1:44 am
(12) Anthony D. Edgell says:

Dear Deb,

I have recently been discrimnated against also for having my GED. First of all, I would like to say that this is just absurd. I want to know how and why this discrimination has been allowed to continue for so many years. It honestly makes no sense to me. My brother and I went to the local army recruitment office here in Colorado Springs, CO. Our intentions were to start the enlistment process and serve our country! We were very excited and thought that the army could bring us discipline, honor, etc. However, as a recruiter started talking with us, we informed him that we both received our GED. His response was ” The army isn’t accepting people with GEDs. You must complete fifteen hours of college credit if you have a GED.” We basically said “UHH OK” and left immediately. After we left, I just couldn’t believe it, and I called the army’s 1-800 number to vent my frustration to the innocent person that answered the phone. His understanding and concern was very appreciated. Before writing to you, I went through all of my important documents and found my GED test results. FTW, I was given my GED in Mississippi. I was in the public schools there in Natchez, MS and honestly, I felt like there was nothing more that I could learn from the school I was attending that I would use in my lifetime. This was one of the reasons I decided to drop out in the middle of eleventh grade. The second was that I was in a situation where I needed to work, and I am talking about full time so I could support myself totally. My only option was to drop out and take the GED test, which I passed with flying colors. I signed up to take the GED class at my local community college. I went in to the first class and took a pre-test.

January 6, 2011 at 1:45 am
(13) Anthony Edgell says:


After I was given the results, the instructor informed me that I didn’t even need to take the class and gave me the next test date. Looking at my test scores, I see this under the total battery box:
“You have demonstrated the 21st century skills of -Communication – Information Processing – Problem Solving – Higher order thinking skills in the five tests areas (Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies) to perform effectively in the workplace or in higher education as the top 15% of traditional high school graduates.”

So basically, this is saying, that an eleventh grade drop out is just as smart as 15% of all people who graduate high school in the 12th grade? Am I reading that right?
I am not saying I am the smartest person, but I am saying that I am equal with those who graduated high school. I have made my share of mistakes. I have two DWI’s in my past. If the army would have said, sorry you can’t join because of these two misdemeanor DWI’s, I would completely and totally understand. I have the reap what I sew, but obtaining my GED was a positive thing in my life at the age of seventeen and is for so many people of all ages. People with GED’s should not feel ashamed nor regretful. We should be proud of what we have accomplished and not let anyone else tell us we can’t do something because of it. This is a serious discrimination case waiting to happen. This discriminatory barricade that is making people feel less worthy of something they deserve is overwhelmingly unjust. If I were incompetent perhaps I would understand, but I am of sound mind and somewhat intelligent, or at least I like to think so. I can type 100 wpm, I am in good physical shape, I have a great voice, and I have many other great things going for me in my life. I don’t neccessarily need the army. The army needs people like me and my brother and all of you reading this who want to do something good in their lives and serve their country.

January 6, 2011 at 1:45 am
(14) Anthony D Edgell says:

I don’t neccessarily need the army. The army needs people like me and my brother and all of you reading this who want to do something good in their lives and serve their country. For the army to say no because of a GED is totally insane. I could understand if there were too many people in the army, but this just isn’t the case. Does anyone else find this to be as crazy as I do? Where is the justice in this? Has anyone filed any type of petition against this? Can I go on CNN and/or FOX news to tell my story? I am totally ready. This is complete nonsense. I think I am finished for now, but don’t be surprised if you hear something about this in the near future. Thank you!

Contact Me – tonye80919@yahoo.com

March 2, 2011 at 2:20 pm
(15) ladydon says:

i’m 50 years old have not been in school for years however i never stop learning because its a way of life for me , i been doing the same job for 20 years and no i don’t have a ged and im not ashame of that . i went to take the test however i didnt pass the math part of it , again i’m not ashame, the job i was doing was done better by myself than the one who had the degree, i will take that math test again only because this is what they want it will not help in doing the job i’ve been doing for years and i do believe that this ged thing is a way to leave some people hunger and without , and it a shame that human are deny their God giving right to care for their family’s there is plenty to do without having all what they say you need, for some its to claim the latter but for many it simply to to eat and have place to lay their head. this country need some divine education thats whats missing, i’ve been working in the field of helping people with disabilty for many years and no secular education can show me how to have empathtic toward those in need im out of work right now until i do that test which i have no money to pay for it , talk about the middle east i see oppression right here in the states . i dont want to cliam the latter all i want to do is what i’ve been donig all along ,

July 10, 2011 at 4:48 pm
(16) Brandon says:

I currently hold a GED and have been unemployed for over a year and a half due to that fact. Graduating high school in most cases means staying awake in class and showing up for school, whereas getting a GED requires a lot of studying and passing a test much harder than tests in high school. I don’t know why companies and the rest of the world can’t see this, something needs to be done about this before even Wal-Mart requires a Masters or something like that to push carts…..

August 23, 2011 at 1:38 am
(17) Philip says:

I have my GED and I have been trying to join the military for about a decade now. Every time they ask about my schooling I tell them I have my GED they say we aren’t taking people with that form of education right now. Even though 3 years ago my cousin sign up for the army and they accepted him and he had a GED and guess what I signed up that same year and they denied me. I don’t think it’s right at all. I have always wanted to be part of the army and now i’m 28 years old and time is ticking down and i’m never gonna get my chance. All because of a piece of paper and i’m the one whos gonna have to live with it not them.

August 23, 2011 at 7:59 am
(18) Deb Peterson says:

It really doesn’t seem fair, Philip. Have you tried all the different branches? Have you presented yourself well? I don’t know if that matters, but I suppose it’s like a job interview. Present yourself in the best possible way: clean, groomed, dressed nicely, good posture, polite, eye contact, strong handshake. All those things matter. Keep trying, and good luck!

December 2, 2011 at 4:48 pm
(19) jackson says:

I feel that Federal Law needs to be updated to make it illegal for Collages or any Scholarships,Grant Programs open to the general public or Private and Government Employers to Discriminate based off of having a GED v.s a High School Diploma.People shouldn’t be treated as a second class citizen based off of bad things happen in their life the GED is a second chance and should be treat as a High School Diploma to fulfill your dreams but some Collages,Scholarships,Grant Programs and Private or Government Employers still Discriminate and don’t care.But the only way to make them care is by force of law and threat of being sued.

I feel Discrimination because I have a GED,I have a Paralegal degree, Criminal Justice degree and associate degree in business but I make less then what the other Employees make in my same field at my job.My degrees are almost the same as the other Employees at my job but for have the GED and they have High School Diploma’s.So I guess my Employer feel they can pay me less because I have a GED.

December 31, 2011 at 1:06 pm
(20) MAD says:

I recently passed my GED exam and I felt like a million bucks with such an accomplishment due to the events in my life leading up to getting my GED. Soon thereafter i found the truth about the discrimination of GED holders it is absolutely absurd, I am 16 years old and I had to get my GED I had no choice and now I feel that I am being punished for doing the right thing. I DID NOT drop out of high school I was home schooled which wasn’t my choice and I felt i should get my GED so i could provide proof of equivalency but apparently that just isn’t good enough. Something has got to change.

December 22, 2012 at 10:13 pm
(21) Kevin says:

Most states award those who pas the GED a high school diploma. Just put that on your resume instead.

May 6, 2013 at 6:08 am
(22) SM says:

My husband had a dad that was dying of brain and sinus cancer,he didn’t leave him at the age of 15.His IDIOT teachers said the only thing he would get would be a piece of paper saying he completed high school,which was not the same as a high school diploma! He currently holds a full time job at a big tool company that’s got plants world wide.His main teacher said that he would not get it because she didn’t have all the right papers turned in to the school!He also has really bad eyes and he couldn’t take the end of grade test given to everyone.He couldn’t see the thing to take it and they didn’t offer any help to enlarge it for him either which they’re supposed to do for blind students!That school system in our part of the country is REALLY,REALLY screwed up! If you are bright or average you’re o.k.,but if you have something wrong you’re screwed!THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT THE ONES THAT NEED MORE HELP!Something needs to be done about the fear of them finding out about your education or lack of one and possibly getting fired over something a whole lot of people couldn’t control happening in their lives! How do you get a petition started to protect people like my very hard working husband?THE FEAR NEEDS TO STOP NOW!!!!Any advice would help,thanks!P.S. My husband has always been on time to this job and has been praised for the way he learns quickly and does his job without complaining and finds things to do if his job is done to keep himself busy and doing something!

May 9, 2013 at 10:34 am
(23) Dominique Clark says:

I to am being discrimated against for having earned my GED. My husband, father of my two babies was accepted into Full Sail University with no problems what so ever. But when I applied I was told due to the fact of having my GED I needed to attend a college prior to attending theirs. It is extremely unfair that just because you have your GED you are discrimated against because you don’t have your typical high school diploma. I intend to sue the school for this.

May 22, 2013 at 9:24 pm
(24) Doug Chapman says:

I have a GED. I had a learning disability and there was no help in my time when I was young. I was in special ed classes where nothing was expected of me. I got a certificate of completion which is worthless. The GED was a secoond chance for me.Everyone who knew about my learning disability said I was wasting my time trying for the GED.They said I had no chance of passing. I faced discrimination for having LD and also a GED. I have ran across help wanted ads saying High School diploma required,No GEDs. I think that should be illegal. I will not be sorry I went for my GED.A regular high school diploma was not attainable for me.

June 26, 2013 at 2:40 pm
(25) laura says:

I have found slight discrimination for having my GED from my local community college admissions staff. When trying to correct my out of district status to the correct in-district status, they told me since I had not graduated HS, I have no paperwork to PROVE anything and refused to help me. I have never had a problem regarding my GED here in Texas. Employers don’t even look at that, but to get this response from a school is crazy to me.

October 8, 2013 at 8:11 pm
(26) no name says:

I to think that something should be done about discrimination against GED’s. It is not right that good people who are qualified for a job get turned down because they didn’t complete high school. Some things in life are out of our control, the only thing that matters is that you recover from those things. In my opinion a GED should be looked at as the same as a high school diploma. I to have earned my GED and I am now attending community college. The reason i got my GED was because of my parents and I had no control over the situation. I made the best of a bad situation and i wish people would understand that instead of judging me. If we all come together and do something about this problem, it can be fixed.

April 28, 2014 at 4:01 am
(27) michael says:

Id like share my experience. I went to highschool did 11 an 12th grade together but only got credits for 11th so instead of staying in for another year I decided to take adult education courses to get my ged an did passed it with perfect scores in 2011 when I turned 18 I immediately went to join the army not just for 4 year but I wanted to make a career an was serious about it but never got accepted in fact I was told I was infrurior long story short im on my third year trying to enter the military still when I know most ppl with high school diplomas probably aren’t that dedicated I just dont understand how they would rather let a felon into the military than someone with a perfect record but has a ged how is it not discrimination anyways im hoping that this year I will be accepted in to the united states army I would have done the requirments of 15 college semester credits but I dont have the money for that an they also dont accept ppl that are in debt owe money ie loan ect. So wish me luck on my third year trying to enlist .

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