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article imageNearly 25 percent of US army applicants fail entrance exams

By Michael Krebs     Dec 22, 2010 in World
A disturbing new study underscores the state of the US education system - finding that almost 25 percent of army applicants cannot meet standardized test requirements posed by military recruiters.
In what is now appearing to become a national security threat, nearly 25 percent of American army applicants are not able to pass entrance exams in basic subject areas in mathematics, reading, and science. According to an Associated Press story, a report by The Education Trust is highlighting a cornerstone worry among the nation's education and military leadership that the country's high schools are not producing enough educated students to meet the most basic needs of the military establishment.
"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," U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told the AP. "I am deeply troubled by the national security burden created by America's underperforming education system."
A recent ranking of America's education results compared to those of the rest of the world have demonstrated America's decline to "average," according to a report compiled by The Huffington Post. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found that the United States ranked 14th out of 34 OECD countries for reading skills, 17th for science, and 25th for mathematics.
While there may be numerous factors behind America's results - as compared with the rest of the planet - the failure to meet the military's entrance standards presents a significant challenge for the nation's long-term national security objectives.
"If you can't get the people that you need, there's a potential for a decline in your readiness," Navy Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett told the Associated Press. Barnett is a participating member of the group Mission: Readiness, a coalition of retired military leaders that are working to elevate the pressing question of the impact of high ineligibility rates on America's armed services talent pool.
The challenge to Pentagon officials is both cerebral and physical. While 23 percent of the nation's applicants failed the reading, science, and math topics in the entrance exams, 75 percent of applicants aged 17 to 24 do not qualify for military service because they are physically unfit, have a criminal record, or because they did not graduate high school.
"It's surprising and shocking that we are still having students who are walking across the stage who really don't deserve to be and haven't earned that right," Tim Callahan with the Professional Association of Georgia Educators told the Associated Press.
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