Latest figures for high school graduates who attempt to enlist in the National Guard are in and results indicate that at least one-fourth are not going to get in the National Guard. As the armed forces increasingly depend on more sophisticated weapons and young men and women are thrust into areas of the world where one must understand the lives and cultures of other people, it is important that applicants for the military display the ability to learn. In other words, can they read? Nationally, those taking the test to enter a state National Guard outfit results in 22.2% failing the exam. In the state of Arkansas, 27.7% fail and that includes 44.4% of African American candidates. As one who teaches college freshmen I am not surprised a high percent lack effective writing and reading skills. So, what is new in America? The same results were true twenty or fifty years ago.
Perhaps, one solution is to allow these young men and women who fail to enter the armed forces for a year and educate them in a manner that ensures they gain reading and writing abilities.