NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The New Brunswick Public School Adult Learning Center awarded 214 graduates with diplomas at their graduation ceremony on Wednesday, June 25.

The ceremony was held at New Brunswick High School and marked the 34th year that ALC has worked to help adults in the city achieve their education goals.

Among the students, 30 enrolled in the C.A.R.E.S. High School Program (Creating Alternative Routes to Educational Success), which awarded them high school diplomas.

The other 184 students earned their GED degrees (General Educational Development), a High School Equivalency Diploma.

“These students should be very proud of their decision to see through their commitment to education,” Mayor Jim Cahill said in a press release sent out two days after the graduation.

“The Adult Learning Center is a special source of pride for the city, and I commend our graduates and wish them well as they enter the next phase of their lives.”

Of the 184, 92 completed the English-language program, 70 the Spanish-language program and 22 the New Jersey Youth Corps of Middlesex County program.

This year, the GED test went through dynamic changes in an attempt to align it more with the Common Core, a more rigorous, state-wide standard used in most high schools.

The Common Core attempts to create consistency from one school to another by holding all students to the same reading, writing and mathematical skillsets, with a particularly career and college-driven focus. 

Created over 70 years ago, the GED allows job-seekers to demonstrate their skills in four subjects: Science, Social Studies, Mathematical Reasoning, and Reasoning Through Language Arts.  

It attempts to serve as a credential that gives students the same job qualifications as high school graduates, and it serves as a transcript for college applications. Since its creation, over 18 million adults have participated. 

Yet experts and students have questioned the value of obtaining a GED since it is still different from a high school diploma in the eyes of employers, according to an article on Thus, the recent changes this year attempt to boost the status of the test. 

On the other side of the issue, the Common Core has also faced scrutiny, with its critics claiming that it forces all students into the same rigid standard without considering individual learning methods.

ALC Principal Tim Timberlake said in the press release that the 241 students faced the new challenges without any issue, expressing his pride at their abilities and hard work. 

At the ALC, graduates not only get their degree but also can enroll in literacy, ESL, and citizenship classes as well as job search training.