US: El Paso ISD forced 16 employees to resign or be fired over fake GED certificates
WORLD / U.S. – Sixteen employees from El Paso Independent School District quit amidst allegations that they had used fake GED certificates to get their jobs, according to the El Paso Times.
The school district has more than 90 schools and almost 9,000 employees. While the district representatives refused to comment on personnel situation, Norma De La Rosa, the president of the El Paso Teachers Association told El Paso Times that some custodians had the choice to resign or be fired.
Custodians are at-will employees, which means they can be let go for any reason and without prior notice. They usually do not belong to a teachers’ union.
Bruce Martin, a GED instructor in the Beaumont, Texas school district stated in an August 2012 Examiner article, “I’ve had people come in here that have had the same job for 30 years … got laid off and could not get the same exact job because of the requirement that they need a high school diploma or GED.” That some of the custodians had worked for the district for many years raises questions about why the certificates were not verified when the employees were initially hired.
De La Rosa does not have a problem with the idea that the employees should not be working for the district if they had phony GEDs. The problem lies with the lack of verification procedures in the district’s human resources office.
Victims of GED Scam?
Another question is whether these employees knew whether the GED certificates they got were fraudulent. A booming online scam makes unaware customers pay hundreds of dollars to take an online “GED” test that is not valid. GED tests can be taken on the computer, but only at official testing centers. Some scamming sites even use the GED logo to try to look official. The Better Business Bureau got involved in the online GED scam problem in 2010 by releasing a video about the issue. The problem does not seem to have gotten any better since then.
Mary Ann Sparkman of the Texas Education Agency is reported in the Examiner article as saying, “‘Anything online is bogus. There is no way to regulate the test if you do it online. You can do it online, but you have to go to a GED testing facility.’” Those who are scammed often pay around $250 for a fake GED, but taking the real GED costs about $120, according to Rachel Wang at GetEducated.com.
Students can take advantage of low-cost or free GED preparation classes in many mid-size and large cities through school districts, nonprofit organizations, or other entities. Students can also find GED preparation materials at most public libraries, and librarians can usually help them identify local classes and testing options. YourGED.org also offers a listing of local preparation classes. GetEducated.com also suggests that students can take online GED preparation courses instead of in-person courses to prepare for the test.