Nearly 1 in 4 Students Too Stupid to Pass U.S. Army Entrance Exam

December 22nd, 2010

It’s actually much worse than the headline indicates. Check out this sentence:

Pentagon data shows that 75 percent of those aged 17 to 24 don’t even qualify to take the test because they are physically unfit, have a criminal record or didn’t graduate high school.

Via: AP:

Nearly one-fourth of the students who try to join the U.S. Army fail its entrance exam, painting a grim picture of an education system that produces graduates who can’t answer basic math, science and reading questions, according to a new study released Tuesday.

The report by The Education Trust bolsters a growing worry among military and education leaders that the pool of young people qualified for military service will grow too small.

“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.”

The effect of the low eligibility rate might not be noticeable now — the Department of Defense says it is meeting its recruitment goals — but that could change as the economy improves, said retired Navy Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett.

“If you can’t get the people that you need, there’s a potential for a decline in your readiness,” said Barnett, who is part of the group Mission: Readiness, a coalition of retired military leaders working to bring awareness to the high ineligibility rates.

The report by The Education Trust found that 23 percent of recent high school graduates don’t get the minimum score needed on the enlistment test to join any branch of the military. Questions are often basic, such as: “If 2 plus x equals 4, what is the value of x?”

The military exam results are also worrisome because the test is given to a limited pool of people: Pentagon data shows that 75 percent of those aged 17 to 24 don’t even qualify to take the test because they are physically unfit, have a criminal record or didn’t graduate high school.

Educators expressed dismay that so many high school graduates are unable to pass a test of basic skills.

“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,” said Tim Callahan with the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, a group that represents more than 80,000 educators.

Related: US Dept of Defense Wants Autonomous Robot Army by 2034

4 Responses to “Nearly 1 in 4 Students Too Stupid to Pass U.S. Army Entrance Exam”

  1. Larry Glick Says:

    A lot of people are going to envy these kids when the power structure reinstates the draft.

  2. comradesimba Says:

    Okay, so I’m not just a curmudgeon who wonders what the hell is wrong with kids these days. Lucky for them that breathing is a semi autonomous function…

  3. quintanus Says:

    well – I bet that involves basic literacy. There are lots of schools that apparently don’t have specialists to help with dyslexia and equivalent things in early grades, and later grades involve sitting around. My friend from a upper-middle class background joined the army because his mother was belittling him for attending community college, and he scored so well on that test that he was one of a few hundred that they diverted to Westpoint. Sort of an odd social mix at that school

  4. prov6yahoo Says:

    With unemployment so high all branches of the military are meeting their recruitment quotas. If they weren’t meeting their quotas they would lower the entrance exam difficulty.

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