There is a national security crisis facing our country. This crisis isn’t a threat from overseas but something that is happening inside our national and state borders. It is the crisis of our youth population being unqualified to serve in our armed forces.
One in four of Tennessee’s 17-24 year olds are academically ineligible to serve in the military – and while others may meet the minimum academic standards, they have very restricted opportunities for professional growth due to low academic performance. When fitness and criminal history are factored in, the number of ineligible 17-24 year olds grows to over 70 percent. For the strongest military in the world, these are unsustainable and unacceptable numbers. Tennessee has a proud history of military service, and this tradition is why we are proud to be called the Volunteer State.
By eliminating so many from the pool of recruits for our armed forces, we are not only severely limiting opportunity for our citizens, but we’re also diminishing the quality of the force. With increasing threats and demands on our military, motivated men and women who wish to serve their country will be essential in sustaining a robust national defense. All children are deserving of a high-quality education that prepares them for whatever path they wish to take – including serving in the military.
It is not only the right thing to do, but it is in the best interest of our country’s national security.
Join us on December 16, in Nashville for a special event entitled “Protecting our Future: How K-12 Student Achievement Impacts our Military and National Security.” We’ll be discussing recruitment, retention, military families, and more at this Education Impact Series event. Register here.