Even though Texas leads the nation in numeric population growth, the number of Texans with a GED is actually falling, according to a new report from the Center for Public Policy Priorities, a liberal-leaning think tank, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
In fact, the number of Texans who took the GED is down 21% over the last five years.
CPPP Analyst Chandra Villanueva says that's a big problem for the state's economy.
"It really locks these people out from being able to reach their full potential and really being able to contribute to society," she told News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The CPPP looked at several reasons why obtaining a GED is down so sharply in the past five years.
One is changes to the test in 2014 which not only made it more rigorous, but which requires computer knowledge to take it. The CPPP says that disadvantaged low income people who may not have access to a computer or computer skills.
Villanueva says the fact that taking the CED now costs $145, pricing it out of the reach of many people.
She says this is putting people who generally are already at a disadvantage at an even greater disadvantage today, when advanced training is needed for more and more decently paying jobs.
"We're seeing a lot of diploma inflation, where jobs that used to require just an associates degree now take a Bacherlors, and jobs that used to take a Bachelors degree now take a masters."
One suggestion from the CPPP--that taxpayers subsidize the GED, allowing people to take it at no cost. The group says the costs would be more than offset by people who currently receive welfare being able to get taxpaying jobs with the greater credential.
Villanueva says more than 3 million Texans, or 17.6% of the state's over age 25 population, doesn't have either a high school diploma or a GED, and that is not a recipe for solid economic growth.