Military Leaders: Higher Academic Standards Are Key to Maintaining a Strong National Defense
It is estimated that 75 percent of young Americans are unable to join the armed forces. A large contributing factor is poor educational achievement. Currently, a full 30 percent of high school graduates can’t pass the U.S. military entrance exam, which impacts troop recruitment, and ultimately, our national security.
Across the nation, U.S. military leaders are supporting Common Core State Standards because critical thinking and complex problem solving are essential skills for today’s, and tomorrow’s, military. Higher academic standards in our schools hold the potential to increase the number of applicants able to pass the military’s test for math, literacy and problem solving, called the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery exam. Moreover, higher standards, particularly in the area of math, are critical to ensuring the U.S. remains on the cutting edge of developments in high tech industries that are integral to defense systems.
Mission: Readiness, a national security organization of more than 300 senior retired military leaders, recently released a new report that shows higher standards are key to maintaining a strong military. The report, which can be found here, calls for higher academic standards, measured by rigorous tests, and backed by a transparent system of strong accountability that requires consequences based on results.
Supporting Military Families
Military support for the Common Core initiative isn’t limited to just concern about recruiting the best and the brightest to serve in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. It is about ensuring a quality education for their children as well.
Children of active-duty military personnel change schools between six and nine times before graduating high school. Oftentimes, military families don’t have the luxury to move during the summer, which allows for an easier transition between schools. These children already have a difficult task before them as they adjust to new surroundings, but it is often made more challenging by inconsistencies between their old and new school.
Dramatic differences in standards across the country mean military students often either have to repeat materials they already know, causing boredom in the classroom—a root cause of drop-outs and behavioral issues—or worse, they miss out on key concepts altogether. Some students fall behind and never catch up.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee recently spoke about the benefits of the Common Core State Standards, saying, “Children of military families will not fall behind when their parents, who’ve chosen to defend our freedom, are asked to move from Fort Benning, Georgia to Fort Sill in Lawton or Vance Air force base in Enid.”