Call it double-time, academic style. In March, the Pennsylvania National Guard launched a three-week GED prep class, completed in basic training, for those who signed up to serve but didn't finish high school. The program isn't easy (students are in class nine hours a day, and rise at 4:45 a.m. for physical training) but seems to be working. Of the 120 enrolled so far, 85 have received GEDs. The Army also has a national program, Education Plus, which promises GED training to past dropouts who enlist. Education Plus has helped 13,000 earn high their school equivalency diplomas. Critics say such programs erode the quality of troops. Gadfly doesn't know much about soldiering, but he does know something about the country's dropout crisis. Perhaps our high school leaders should spend some time on base to learn what the Army is doing right. Anything that can do in three weeks what high schools can't do in four years deserves attention.

"Strained Military Widens Doors for High School Dropouts," by Kimberly Hefling, Associated Press, August 13, 2007

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