Employers have strong opinions about education because they see it as a critical workforce issue and a global competitiveness issue. Now a whole roster of 5-star generals say education has become a national security issue as well.
Many of today’s youth–perhaps as much as 75% of the 17-24-age group–are unfit for the military either because they don’t have a high school diploma, can’t pass the military’s entrance exam, are obese or have a criminal offense on their record, says a recent report Ready, Willing, And Unable to Serve by the group Mission: Readiness Military Leaders for Kids.
Group members include Generals Hugh Shelton and John Shalikashivili, both former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) and General Wesley Clark, former NATO commander and Presidential candidate. High school dropouts aren’t eligible to enlist and about 30% of potential recruits with high school degrees do not pass the Armed Forces Qualification Test (the AFQT), a test used by the military to determine math and reading skills.
The solution, say the military leaders, is early childhood education. “More than half of all states are reaching only 30% or less of their four-year-old children through state and federal programs, and 10 states serve 20% or less of the four-year-olds in their state,” the report says.
Could your students pass the Army test? Follow the link for a sample of some of the questions students must be able to answer.