President’s Corner: Our Plan to Address Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
As we all reflect on what is taking place around us, it can be difficult to focus on what each of us can do to help impact change.
There are times when we can get wrapped up in what we are missing, unable to do, or unable to visualize. In a time with so much uncertainty, being part of change may feel daunting, but it is necessary. Each of us plays a role in impacting change and we must focus on the power of possibilities and a future full of equal opportunities for all.
At GED Testing Service, we have committed ourselves, our organization, and every employee to be ambassadors for change. We will raise the voices of our Black, Latino, and diverse employees who fight to be engaged, vulnerable and present each day. We will advocate for our students, who teach each of us valuable lessons on what we stand to gain by investing in their future. We will be ambassadors for all voices that need and to be heard.
These past two months have offered valuable lessons. We have seen firsthand the impact of a global pandemic that has changed how we interact, unemployment rates that have skyrocketed and increased uncertainty, and systemic racism being brought to light. Each of these lessons have taught us to look closer at and try to understand how these changes affect the lives of each and every one of us—and how we can help impact change.
We are actively developing and implementing the first phase of an action plan that will help foster change internally, while also focusing externally to align our commitment to advocacy and support for diverse communities and students.
GED Testing Service’s action plan and current work includes:
- Internal discussions, focus groups and meetings: To aid in educating our employees, we are sharing articles, videos and conversations on what it’s like to be Black and working in a corporate environment. Additionally, we’re committed to addressing and having the tough conversations on unconscious bias and the role it plays in our lives.
- Diverse leadership and representation: Our leadership team and Board of Directors are committed to better aligning to our advocacy for better representation diversity in leadership positions. By the end of 2020, we will have changes to the GED Board of Directors who better represent our goals, our students and our advocacy for change.
- Blog highlighting Black and Latino voices in education: For our Black and Latino students and educators, we have committed to telling their stories as it relates to their personal experiences and educational journeys. Our new blog provides voices along with a trusted platform for our Black and Latino advocates. We look forward to expanding this in the future to include even more voices from Black, Latino, Indigenous and other diverse communities.
- External partnerships and alliances: We are looking forward to aligning and partnering with a strong list of organizations that are committed to Black and Latino learners that are in need of additional support to further their education and employment opportunities.
- Culturally competent marketing and social impact: Through this work we will make sure our marketing, social and Public Relations efforts align with our commitment to being a visible representation and supporter of diverse communities and social causes that impact the lives of our students, partners and colleagues.
This has been such a challenging and uncertain time for all of us and I would like to thank all of you for your messages of support, feedback, and willingness to work alongside us. I am proud that GED will help foster real change for our employees, our students, and our partnerships. Together we will continue to change the lives of millions and give each of our students an equal opportunity.
Vicki Greene, President of GED Testing Service
What I would like to see is the option for some sites to take print-based testing. I work at a Correctional Facility and I’ve been trying to get the GED online testing going however a few things have come up. We are on a tribal nation and the hurdles I’ve faced is difficult. I’ve been sitting on a “we need to have our lawyers look over this” for months or almost a year! If I were to give my student’s the print-based test we wouldn’t have to worry about setting up internet in a testing room. Although moving to online testing has it’s perks, our facility has been left behind. As an educator, it’s difficult for me to tell my students who come to class that they are only studying because we’re not a GED testing site.
As a Black female with a Science degree and a terminal degree, I have experienced systemic racism and discrimination toward minorities. As an Adult Ed/GED instructor, it is my prayer that these changes will include more than videos and articles, but real people who match the dynamics of our targeted population and classroom, as well as the leadership roles. I commend GED Testing Service for taking a step toward action and acknowledging the need for attention in such pivotal facets. Change is good, but we have to make it count; the right act and action for the right cause, yields productive change.
I am concerned with the direction that the GED is going. It appears that the major emphasis will be on minority groups–specifically BLM–and that the others are being put in a position of irrelevance. Just remember in the United States of America–All Lives Matter. When a student enters our program is should not matter what race or ethnicity that student happens to be. Just because a student is a minority student has no bearing on the capability of that student. Let’s not go so overboard that you become more interested in what the student doesn’t know but more importantly what that student is capable of. Don’t let the emphasis get so pronounced that the GED program becomes one of irrelevance because it has “dumbed down” its subject matter. I do not see color or ethnicity when a student enters my class. I see a student who is here to learn, to be taught and to succeed. These students don’t want to be catered to. My students graduate, not because they are disenfranchised, but because they are capable and intelligent. It doesn’t matter what their background is, what matters is what they are taught and how they are being taught. Getting caught up in BIAS can backfire big time. A heavy emphasis on BIAS can result to a insult to the community involved. It can, inadvertently, point to a group and say that group is incapable of learning.