The country recently celebrated Memorial Day. It was a day of which we paused to honor the men and women of the Armed Services who made the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefield in defense of not only the country, but of their fellow combatants. Despite the nobility in dying for a cause, there are thousands of young Americans who can’t join the military and do their part.
It’s not because of their race or gender. It’s not even because of a few mishaps with the police. In many cases, it’s because the would-be recruits can’t pass the ASVAB with an acceptable score. Meaning….they don’t qualify to die.
It’s terrible when you can’t even join the military. The ranks of the Armed Services are often always needing to be filled. However, the military is not just going to take anyone because they want to be there. There are still minimum standards one has to meet in order to die for America. What is the problem?
The ASVAB is the military’s enlistment test. It stands for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. It is not only the written test to enter the military, it is also used as a reference to which the occupation those enlisting will be placed. There are a number of sections on the test including: General Science, Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Auto and Shop Information, Mathematics Knowledge, Mechanical Comprehension, Electronics Information, and Sum of Words Knowledge. Many a recruiter or high school ROTC instructor will attest to the reality that many of our high school students and graduates can’t make an acceptable score on the ASVAB.
The minimum required score for the Army is 31. Many of our students are scoring 15 and 17. These scores aren’t even high enough for waivers.
I took the test when I was a junior in high school. At that time, my mind was nowhere on joining the military. It was not on my life’s bucket list. However, the recruiter came to Carroll High and the guidance counselor rounded all of the junior students into the cafeteria and we took the test. Without even trying I scored a 62, which is considered Category 3 (50-64). Later on, when I enlisted and chose a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), I realized that I should have taken it more seriously and scored higher. I possibly could have been a communications specialist or have served in some administrative capacity.
Considering what is evaluated on the test, one could possibly conclude where the problem lies. There are problems on the test that ask students to identify the difference between a Phillips and a flathead screwdriver and a number of other mechanical and electronic information questions. There are even questions on the test asking students about parts of an engine. There are many students who don’t have a car in their family and if they do, have never looked under the hood and would be clueless to how to check or change oil. Then there’s the whole paragraph comprehension evaluation. That’s already a problem for students on regular tests, common core state tests and ACT tests. So if they are bumming on regular school tests, it can’t be expected that it will be any better on the ASVAB.
For the longest, many have just assumed the military will just take anyone.
Many assume local and state police departments will take anyone as well. That is not the case. Just like one has to know how to read and write to join the military, he will find that there are similar requirements to join the Monroe Police Department or the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Department. When I lived in Los Angeles, I wanted to become an LAPD officer. Long before the Civil Service test is taken, there is a writing exam. I passed the writing exam and was approved to appear for the initial interview in Los Angeles. I was given a
Many assume local and state police departments will take anyone as well. That is not the case. Just like one has to know how to read and write to join the military, he will find that there are similar requirements to join the Monroe Police Department or the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Department. When I lived in Los Angeles, I wanted to become an LAPD officer. Long before the Civil Service test is taken, there is a writing exam. I passed the writing exam and was approved to appear for the initial interview in Los Angeles. I was given a 30 page booklet of personal information to complete. I didn’t go on with the process, but there were many who didn’t move forward in LA and many here in Louisiana because of the writing requirement. If you’ve ever read a police report or a traffic incident report, you realized the importance of ELA.
So no, you don’t get to be an infantryman or a police officer if you can’t read and write. This is important for not only high school students, but to adults as well who may consider these professions late in the game. The blockbuster movies make being in the military look cool…and Hollywood does a good job glamorizing the whole experience. Even in the real-world military, the antiquated equipment we often use requires the users to understand basic concepts. If you don’t know mechanics you won’t be driving military trucks. If you don’t know a little science, you won’t be operating any radios or operating drones.
If you score too low on the test, you won’t even be able to crawl on the ground and play war games every day with your M16. You’re never going to get away from Math, English, and Science. The ASVAB, like the ACT also has Math, English, and Science? There are many who can’t meet these qualifications, and according to military entrance standards, they don’t qualify to die for their country, no matter how much they want to make the ultimate sacrifice.