Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Dumbing of America Continues

According to a report release Tuesday, almost 1 in 4 students who try to enter the military fail the
entrance exam.

That means students graduating from high school can not answer basic math, reading and science
questions. This may present a problem in the future as the available pool of young people grows
smaller.  DoD says it is meeting its recruiting goals for the present, but as the economy improves
that could change.

U.S. Education Secretary Anne Duncan said "Too many of our high school students are not
graduating ready to begin college or a career and many are not eligible to serve in our
armed forces." "I am deeply troubled by the national security burden created by America's
underperforming education system."

Retired Navy Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett, a member of Mission:Readiness a coalition of
retired military leaders working  to bring attention to the high ineligibility rates had this to say.
"If you can't get the people that you need, there's a potential for decline in your readiness."

The study examined the scores of nearly 35,000 high school graduates, ages 17-20 who took
the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery between 2004 and 2009. About half of those
applying went on to join the Army.

Those taking the test must score 31 out of 99 on the first part of the three hour test to get into
the Army. Those applying to the Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard require higher scores.

More tests with questions on accounting, word comprehension, mechanical maintenance,
mathematics and science are used to determine what type of job the recruit would be best
suited for. Which means many who pass the ASVAB are not scoring high enough to qualify
for the best jobs.

Our schools are failing in the education of our youth. Some educators seem to  think that the
graduates will straighten out when they get in the military. But the military does not think that way.

"A lot of people make the charge that in this era of accountability and standardized testing,
that we put too much emphasis on basic skills." "This study really refutes that. We have a lot
of kids that graduate from high school that have not mastered basic skills."

"The military is a lot more high-tech than in the past," said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Norman R
Seip. "I don't care if you're a soldier Marine carrying a backpack or someone sitting in a
research laboratory, the things we expect out of our military members requires a very, very
well educated force."

To make matters worse, the tests are given to a smaller pool of people. Data shows that 75
percent of those ages 17-24 do not qualify to take the test because they are physically unfit,
(a fourth are obese), have a criminal record or did not graduate from high school.

This is a sad and sorry state of affairs, that needs to be rectified immediately. We can not
allow children to graduate high school and be totally unqualified.

Educators must step up and ensure our youth receive a proper education that will have them
ready to face the world.

Jerald Terwilliger
National Chairman
American Cold War Veterans
"We Remember"

---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996