‘TIL That Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, QAnon Conspiracy Theorist, Obtained Her GED Just Last Year’

On February 2 2021, a screenshot of a tweet was shared on Reddit and Imgur, highlighting Congresswoman Lauren Boebert’s purported level of education and adding that “they” (presumably conservatives or Republicans) complain about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez:

That screenshot was of a low-engagement tweet shared on February 2 2021:

The same screenshot was shared on Imgur with the title “And people make fun of AOC’s experience? At least she went to college for polysci!”

In previous fact checks, we’ve examined claims about Ocasio-Cortez’s education and falsehoods portraying her as incompetent:

Consequently, the Reddit and Imgur posts appeared to serve as a contrast of sorts between the frequently-criticized Ocasio-Cortez and Boebert. Commenters on the posts quickly pointed out that the claims about Boebert were tinged with classism, and that merely having a GED (passing General Educational Development test) ought not be a barrier to public service:

“As someone who attained a GED it shouldn’t be used as marker of ones ability to lead. Though her words and actions speak for themselves.”

“There is nothing wrong with being uneducated. There is a lot wrong with not thinking critically(which an education doesn’t necessarily help)[.]”

“I think it would be wrong to preclude people from public life because they didn’t get an education. Representative democracy.”

Another commenter speculated upon the circumstances under which Boebert allegedly obtained her GED during her Congressional campaign:

I have no issue with someone getting their GED. My issue here is that she specifically got it because she wanted to run for Congress. 1/

Which to me says that she had no care to get it before, and does not actually value education or educating herself. It was just something 2/

that she did so they couldn’t use it against her in a campaign. It was self serving for all the wrong reasons. 3/3

Similar sentiments appeared on Twitter in January 2021:

Whether or not Boebert completed high school was not in question; a September 2020 New York Times profile indicated that Boebert “quit high school and later” earned a high school equivalency certificate:

She has an unusual profile for a congressional candidate. The mother of four boys, she quit high school her senior year to begin her family and ended up earning a G.E.D. certificate. Ms. Boebert talks openly about the economic struggles faced by her and her mother — who she described as a reliable Democratic voter until 2016 — and how she took a management role at the local McDonald’s to earn money, rather than spend a few more hours in biology class.

Also in September 2020, Politico reported:

After her family moved to the Western Slope, the sparse, wide-open part of the state west of the Continental Divide, Boebert took a job at the McDonald’s in Rifle, a town of fewer than 10,000 people, bringing home her first paycheck as a teenager. She dropped out of high school (she later got her GED), married her husband, Jayson, who has worked in the region’s oil and gas fields, and started a family; the couple has four boys. In 2013, they opened Shooters Grill, which bills itself as a “gun-themed and old-timey American restaurant” and specializes in such items as the “Bump Stock Corned Beef Hash,” the “M16 Burrito” and the “Swiss & Wesson” burger.

On February 3 2020, Boebert’s Wikipedia page read:

Boebert dropped out of high school her senior year (she would have graduated in 2004) because she had a child, and took a management role at a McDonald’s in Rifle. She obtained her GED in 2020, about a month before her first election primary. “I was a brand-new mom, and I had to make hard decisions on successfully raising my child, or getting to high school biology class. And I chose to take care of my child,” she said. She later got a job filing for a natural gas drilling company and then became a pipeliner, a member of a team that builds and maintains pipelines and pumping stations.

It appeared the edit placing Boebert’s earning a GED in or about May 2020 occurred in a flurry of edits on October 8 2020, with the earliest version we were able to track down reading:

She quit high school her senior year to begin her family. She earned a G.E.D. certificate in May 2020.

A citation for that edit was a September 18 2020 Grand Junction Daily Sentinel article titled “Boebert’s Democratic upbringing questioned,” which sourced its information to a political action committee opposing Boebert’s candidacy”

Despite registering as a Democrat at age 19, Boebert now says it was then that she started to mistrust government.“I don’t trust the government because government thinks it can do a better job taking care of us and running our lives than we can,” she said. “I am for personal responsibility. I want to have control over my own life.”

According to two Pueblo retired military veterans who have formed a political action committee opposing Boebert’s candidacy, the congressional candidate didn’t actually get her GED degree until May of this year [2020], about a month before the June primaries and five months after entering the race.

That group, RuralColoradoUnited.org, says it’s been looking into Boebert’s background and is troubled by what it sees. The group was formed by Pueblo residents George Autobee and Stephen Varela, who describe themselves as combat veterans.

Another provided source was also dated September 18 2020, archived from ColoradoPols.com and headlined, “Just How Unqualified Is Lauren Boebert, Really?” That site excerpted the content quoted above, adding that media scrutiny and other vetting skimmed over the timeline of Boebert’s education:

This is where the conversation gets a little delicate, since no one wants to unfairly denigrate people who haven’t enjoyed a traditional path to adulthood. In Lauren Boebert’s case, she dropped out of high school to have a child. That’s hardly a unique experience, and not in itself disgraceful in any way. But if it’s true that Boebert only went back for her GED this past May [2020], months after getting into the race for Congress, and has been deceptively vague about this, it is undeniably damaging to Boebert’s credibility. It’s not unheard of for people to be elected to Congress without a college degree–but when you lump this lack of educational achievement in with Boebert’s wacky political curiosities, shallow policy prescriptions, marginal legal history, and refusal to engage in unscripted debate, it adds up to a plainly unqualified candidate for Congress in any objective sense.

Finally, in a Facebook post by the “Lauren Boebert for Congress” page, published on May 20 2020, Boebert stated she obtained a “Colorado high school GED.” No reference was made to when she received her GED, despite subsequent news reports indicating it was that same month:

Shout out to Colorado State University, where I am enrolled in several business courses. Easy to enroll and affordable for those of us who’ve taken a non-traditional life-long learning path. As a kid, my mother helped ends meet with a welfare card to buy groceries. At the time, the decision between high school geography class and getting a job to help support my family didn’t really seem like a choice at all. Fortunately there are options – I have my Colorado high school GED, I learned a heck of a lot over the years by being in business for myself and now I can continue my education on a schedule and budget that makes more sense for my situation. One more real-world reason I support eliminating the Federal Department of Education. Top-down, one-size-fits-all solutions don’t work for everyone, waste money and create unnecessary bureaucracy. This is yet another area I disagree with Scott Tipton, who went along with funding No Child Left Behind even when it sunset, teeing up the Federal Dept. of Education to give states money on the condition they adopt Common Core. Our focus should be on creating more opportunities for trade schools, technology/coding schools and other options that don’t force federal educational mandates on our children. Keep it local, where the best decisions are made by parents, teachers and students.

On February 2 2020, a tweet asserting Rep. Lauren Boebert obtained her GED in 2020 went viral on Reddit and Imgur; through September 2020, Boebert maintained she earned a GED after dropping out of high school. Details about Boebert obtaining her high school equivalency certificate in May 2020 surfaced via a political action committee opposing Boebert’s run for Congress in September 2020, and that group claimed Boebert concealed her educational timeline. Accuracy of the claim that Boebert’s highest level of formal education was a GED was not in dispute, but the detail about her earning it in May 2020 surfaced in September 2020, via a group opposing her ultimately successful run for Congress.