Out of necessity the Pentagon has become a believer in education reform.
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The problems for low-skilled high school students — be it they flunk or sneak in — is the same: Abysmal reading and math instruction in schools that begins in kindergarten and manifests its damage by high school. Twenty-seven percent of American high school seniors — including 33 percent of young men who would be potential enlistees — read Below Basic proficiency on the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress, the federal exam of academic skills.
The potential harm to the nation’s military readiness — especially the lack of high-quality recruits who can be brought into the Marines or Army to serve in wartime — can’t be understated. The economic damage is also astounding. Since World War II, the military has proven to be a way for kids from poor families — including young blacks and Latinos — to make their way into the middle class; 51 percent of all military recruits came from households earning less than $51,127 a year, just below the median household income, according to a 2008 Heritage Foundation study. But these families attend the very dropout factories and academic failure mills that are fueling the nation’s education crisis. As a result, they are shut out of the military and out of high skilled blue- and white-collar work — and will land in the ranks of the long-term unemployed.
The long-term solutions lie with such efforts as expanding school choice, passing so-called Parent Trigger laws that allow families to restructure schools, and overhauling the costly and ineffective system of near-lifetime employment and seniority-based pay that have long protected low-quality teachers at the expense of students and taxpayers alike. The Pentagon has helped fund military schools in districts in cities such as Oakland and Chicago. It may take making education a national security issue to spur further reform.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?