Op-ed: Military leaders call for high academic standards for the future success of young Americans

The Olympia carries a great commentary by Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton, U.S. Army-retired. Eaton, a member of Mission: Readiness, makes an often overlooked and critical point regarding testing.

Historically, there’s been confusion about student achievement levels because each state had its own standards and tests that yielded achievement data that were not comparable with those of other states. This left us wondering if a high school diploma in Washington signified the same implied mastery of knowledge and skill as a diploma from other states.

This was of even greater concern for the two million children from military families who move an average of six to nine times from kindergarten through 12th grade. This can be a frustrating experience as these students often find themselves either ahead or behind their new school peers because of the lack of consistency among states’ education standards and assessments.

While the military is probably on the extreme end of the relocation spectrum, we live at a time of frequent relocation. As Eaton points out, there are consequences to low or nonexistent standards.

…the Department of Defense reports that poor educational achievement is one of the biggest reasons more than 70 percent of young Americans are unable to join the military, many because they cannot pass the military’s entrance exam that tests math, literacy and problem-solving.

His conclusion echoes our Achieve priority. 

Young Americans, no matter where they live or how often they move to a new school, deserve the best preparation possible for their future success in college, in the workforce, or in service to their country in the military.

Well said.