New Ed Trust Analysis Finds That Today’s High School Education Doesn’t Necessarily Prepare Graduates for the Military

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Many educators comfortably embrace the myth that the military will enlist any and all high school graduates who are interested. However, a new analysis from The Education Trust reports that too many of the nation’s high school graduates have not been adequately prepared to serve in the U.S. Army.

In “Shut Out of the Military,” the first-ever public analysis of the Army’s Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), Ed Trust finds that more than one in five young people interested in enlisting do not meet the minimum eligibility standard required for the Army (as measured by the Armed Forces Qualification Test, comprised of four academic subtests of the ASVAB).

The picture of American education grows even more unflattering when examining the performance of minority students. Based on these tests, 29 percent of Hispanic Army applicants and 39 percent of African Americans were found ineligible. Furthermore, when minority candidates did gain entry into the armed services, they achieved lower scores on average than their white peers. These ratings exclude them from higher level educational, training, and advancement opportunities provided by the Army.

“Our economy, our democracy, and our national security demand much more than our schools are delivering now. The question is when we will step up to ensure that all of our students graduate with the knowledge and skills they need to be ready to take on any challenge they – and the nation – may face,”  said Kati Haycock, president of The Education Trust.

In addition to examining national data, “Shut Out of the Military” makes a state-by-state comparison of applicant performance. Among its findings: 30 percent or more of Army applicants in Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi and Washington, D.C. scored too low to enlist. And in the normally high-performing state of Massachusetts, over 40 percent of Hispanic applicants were ineligible for enlistment.

To learn more, download the full report.