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Army test failures should be a wake-up call

http://www.thebrunswicknews.com Over the past several decades, public school education in America has been examined, re-examined and examined again by every kind of expert imaginable. It’s been probed, dissected and X-rayed more than any other service or program funded by taxpayers. Without fail, each probing has ended with someone on the state or national level recommending changes in the make-up, direction or goals of public school education. And where has it taken us? Just ask the U.S. Department of Defense, which recently announced that almost 25 percent of wanna-be recruits are unable to pass the test required by the U.S. Army. In 2010, years after the passage and implementation of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, 23 percent of the men and women still can’t pass the Army’s military entrance exam. These are high school graduates who cannot manage to get a passing score. Keep in mind that these are not tests that would take someone with a college education to pass. They are, in a word, simple as simple can be. They include questions, according to a recent report by The Associated Press, like this: “If 2 plus x equals 4, what is the value of x?” This is alarming. This is pathetic. This is a wake-up call for this nation. Even Army recruits acknowledge that they are products of a weak education system. As one recent graduate stated, “The classes need to be tougher because people aren’t learning enough.” The Army, which administers the easiest test out of all the branches of the armed services, is concerned. If the trend continues after the economy heals, it may be unable to reach its new recruit quota. That would mean dumbing down the test or reducing its strength. The only other alternative would be to improve public school education, return to the days when students were taught the three Rs and not just what was expected to be on national, standardized test.

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