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New report reveals more Latinos and blacks lack basic skills to pass Army’s qualifying exam

LatinaLista — It’s been long known that Latinos and black students aren’t benefiting like their white peers from the public education system. Now, a new Education Trust study reveals that with the kind of education Latinos and blacks are receiving from K-12, it’s not good enough to even qualify to enlist in the Army.

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Shut Out of the Military: Today’s High School Education Doesn’t Mean You’re Ready for Today’s Army examines data from the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) administered to potential Army recruits gathered from 2004 to 2009.

The report paints a troubling picture of our K-12 school system’s inability to academically prepare students for opportunities in the military and beyond.

The study uncovered some appalling facts:

Applicants of color are more likely to fail the qualifying exam.

Applicants of color who do pass have such low scores that it prevents them from receiving higher levels of training in the military.

According to military officials, the young men and women who want to join the military may have their diplomas or GED but they lack some very fundamental knowledge. Namely reading, math, science, and problem-solving skills needed to serve in the armed forces.

While it’s true that educators can’t and shouldn’t shoulder 100 percent of the blame, it also has to be acknowledged that as of now schools/educators are doing a lousy job of communicating with Latino families.

If schools did do a better job of communicating with these families then there might be some real success. This reality was recognized this week with the release of a joint report, Minority Parent and Community Engagement, by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and the National Education Association.

The report outlines how schools and educators can better understand and work with parents of color to get them to come onto the campuses. For example, the report states that if the parent himself/herself had a bad experience in school then that might explain the reluctance of the parent to get involved.

There can’t be any worse experience than being humiliated in front of the class or called “stupid” by the teacher for not being able to read, or do math or be able to critically think — situations that have been reported by Latino students over the years.

It would seem that the standardized tests used to declare students academically ready to pass are bogus tests, at best, that do nothing other than illustrate how well children can memorize and regurgitate answers.

Perhaps the new exit test should be the military’s qualifying exam. After all, it’s a test that wants to see if applicants are ready for the real world.



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