Frac Sand Review, GED Changes, UW System Priorities, Life After Football

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Playing in the NFL is a lifelong dream for many football players, but what do they do when their playing days are over? We look at the difficult transition a player faces during retirement. We also learn how changing the GED led to a higher failure rate, examine the UW System’s academic priorities, and discuss why the DNR is taking another look at the health and environmental impacts of the frac sand industry in Wisconsin.

Featured in this Show

  • New GED Test Might Be Exclusionary, Says Administrator

    Last year’s changes to the GED high school equivalency diploma test might be disenfranchising a significant amount of people who lack computer literacy and money in their bank accounts, according to one technical college administrator.

    Part of the argument for the change was that the exam didn’t actually test people’s knowledge of what they would otherwise learn in high school. Consequently, the exam was privatized, computerized and brought in line with Common Core standards.

    Since the change, the number of people who passed the exam plummeted from over 540,000 in 2013 to about 86,000 in 2014.

    While many test administrators acknowledge that the disparity may be the result of the rush to take the exam before it was changed, others are claiming that the rigor and cost of the new GED have also played a big role in the drop.

    “The test is very academic now, and I think that tends to scare away a certain population,” said Ana Zambie, an administrator at the Madison Area Technical College School of Academic Advancement. “I think the computer technology needs — the access to computers, the necessity to pay with a credit card — all of that kind of excludes a certain group of people who might actually benefit most from receiving a GED certificate.”

    Zambie said that bringing the test into the 21st century may be leaving behind adults who wish to use their diplomas to immediately join the workforce, as opposed to those who wish to enroll into college.

    The test was made significantly harder, Zambie said, by the shift from memorization styled questions to more analytical and critical thinking applications.

    In a recent Daily Beast article, reporter Matt Collette wrote that he took a practice test distributed by an educational publishing company that’s aligned with the new GED exam. Collette, an Ivy League graduate with a master’s degree, flunked that test.

    “When it was all over, I felt exhausted and dumb,” he wrote.

    It’s worthwhile to note that the practice test Collette used was not approved or authorized by the GED Testing Service. The Research & Education Association, the company that published the test, says the material was put together by a team of educators who are “GED experts.”

    Correction: The original version of this story claimed that Matt Collette had set out to take the new GED exam for his Daily Beast report. He actually took a practice exam created by the Research & Education Association that describes itself as being aligned with the GED exam. Collette did not take the actual GED test itself.

    Update: This article has been updated with information on the practice test Matt Collette took for his article in the Daily Beast.

  • DNR Board Votes To Review Frac Sand Mining Industry In Wisconsin

    After a 7-0 vote by the state’s Natural Resources Board, the Wisconsin DNR will conduct a strategic analysis of the state’s frac sand mining industry. The head of the environmental group who pushed for the review discusses what will be looked at, and how the public can get involved.

  • The Number Of People Who Passed The GED Plummeted In 2014

    In 2014 the GED Testing Service overhauled the exam to align with Common Core standards. As a result, the number of people who passed the exam plummeted. The service also privatized the exam and raised the price of taking it. We learn about the reason behind these changes, and learn where the testing service goes from here.

  • Sociologist And Former NFL Player Ask: Is There Life After Professional Football?

    While it’s seemingly all glamor and glory for NFL players in the moment, their post-playing days are another story. In addition to the long term health effects associated with playing the game, many players struggle to manage their own lives, leading to social isolation, financial problems, and more. A sociologist and a former NFL player try to make sense out of life after professional football, and how to prepare players for the life that awaits them after their last game.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Galen Druke Producer
  • Chris Malina Producer
  • Ana Zambie Guest
  • Kimberlee Wright Guest
  • George Koonce Guest
  • James Holstein Guest

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