Monday, November 16, 2009

The Terrorists are Coming! and GED's are Not Coming

Last week, we learned that September 11th conspirators captured by the US government will face a criminal trial in lower Manhattan. We've also learned recently that New York State and New York City are the worst performing jurisdictions in the US in terms of GED passing rates and GED preparation.

Manhattan Hosts the Terrorists

The President has been criticized by many Republicans and by some members of the families of the September 11th families for choosing to prosecute the September 11th conspirators in Manhattan. While the tragedy of September 11, 2001 remains a fresh memory and an unhealed wound for so many Americans and for a large number of New Yorkers, the tragedy of George W. Bush's mishandling of the aftermath of the tragedy remains front in center in our memories as well.

President George W. Bush promoted and supported the use of torture against those captured in the post-September efforts to combat Al Qaeda. He created military courts as venues for prosecuting captured conspirators. He had foreign captives taken to secret prisons outside of the US in order to escape the requirements of the US Constitution related to accused criminals.
The Bush Record is a potent ingredient in the Obama decision to bring these terrorists to Manhattan. Instead of running from the US Constitution and violating international law, President Obama is boldly re-asserting America's role in the world as an example to all nations. He is demonstrating that we are a nation that follows its own laws and believes that it can provide its enemies with guarantees of human rights protections while also holding the world's worst terrorists accountable for their actions.

Manhattanites should take pride in being the venue for the re-emergence of the US as a world leader in the rule of law, human rights, and justice. When these terrorists receive their sentences, they should be sentenced in Manhattan. We are ready for justice to flow down on these terrorists like a mighty stream and wash away both the stain of the Bush abuses and any lingering doubt amongst Americans regarding whether our criminal justice system is adequate in the age of Al Qaeda.

GED Disappointment

New York City is failing the GED. With enormous numbers of New Yorkers living without a high school diploma, the failures of New York City are creating hurdles to GED test-taking and resulting in very few successful GED testing performances.

As stated in the New York Daily News:

Although 1.6 million city residents older than 16 are not in school and lack a high school diploma, only 28,000 took the high school equivalency test last year to get a General Equivalency Diploma. Just half of the test-takers passed. Statewide, just 60% test-takers passed - making New York's pass rate dead last.

A recent Community Services Society (CSS) report found that there is no single phone number or Web site to find a program or test site, no citywide data that track which programs work and no link between funding and success. "There are really no standards for the prep courses," said David R. Jones, president of the CSS. "Even somebody who couldn't pass the GED themselves could be an instructor."

New York City needs a coordinated effort to draw New York City residents into GED programs, drive them toward the test, and get them positioned to pass the test. If our NYC schools are going to leave more than 1 million of our residence without a high school diploma, our city must provide its residents with a path to opportunities, and passing the GED is a key place from which our city's residence can launch themselves forward. Thus far, New York City is failing.

1 comment:

  1. The GED Hotline has given lots of GED help to NYC. See and please remember the statitics are correct, but the New York Times does not have anything close to the real story.

    Profesor Martin N. Danenberg "El Quijote del GED"