Outside the Silk City Academy, an adult school, located in Downtown Paterson, well over 200 people lined up in the drizzling rain for General Educational Development or GED class registrations, but out of the large number only a small fraction were admitted and the rest were told to sign a waiting list.
Why? Because of limited seating.
We met a man, about 22-years-old, he told us at one point he was a student at East Side High School, but was arrested and imprisoned. After he was released from prison, he could not go back to high school, with limited or no choice the man is attempting to enroll into GED classes, so that once he learns the requisite material he will be able to take the exam and pass it; thus procuring for himself a high school equivalency diploma. But that was not to be.
We met a woman — her youthfulness surprised us for we could not guess she was an adult — who was attempting to enroll as well, but her story was different: she had already taken the GED exam and managed to pass the English portion of the test as she informed us, but she needed help to pass the math section, and that was why she was standing in the long line waiting to register for classes. When asked what she would do after passing the GED she replied, “I might go to college.” But that too was not to be.
Both the man who was jailed while in high school and the aspiring college student were told, as were everyone else, to sign up on the waiting list.
One man captured the mood of the situation and the feelings of the people standing in line aptly using rough vocabulary, the man uttered: “This is fucked up…they kept us waiting for hours for this shit?”
Much of the national attention is on high and elementary school education maybe some focus should be shifted to adult education.