Jens Schott Knudsen/Flickr

At a January 20 public meeting, the Washington, D.C. State Board of Education (SBOE) voted to award State Diplomas to adult students. This decision permits the Office of State Superintendent of Education to award diplomas to those who passed the General Education Development (GED) exam or completed the National External Diploma Program (NEDP) since January 2014.

The SBOE’s expects this to improve the benefits of pursuing adult education in the city. Over sixty thousand D.C. residents lack a degree, which the SBOE believes can significantly hinder an individual’s access to educational and economic opportunities.

Before passing the vote, the Board of Education heard testimonies from a range of adult education students and community members about the need to recognize adults who have made an effort to further their education and enter the job market. More information about the DC SBOE can be found at their website, sboe.dc.gov.

Students at the Academy of Hope, a local adult public charter school, will be some of those directly impacted by the decision. “This is big news for all adult learners in DC,” stated Academy of Hope’s Chief Executive Officer Lecester Johnson. “Now when our graduates compete for jobs or apply to colleges they’ll be judged based on their skills and abilities and not dismissed as less serious or less capable simply because they have a GED. It brings DC in line with our Maryland and Virginia neighbors.” The Academy of Hope works with adults who wish to further their education and improve their skills. For these students, the Board of Education’s vote will help them achieve accreditation and enter the workforce.