More than 200 Retired Generals and Admirals Support High-Quality Early Education As Critical to National Security
Poor educational achievement disqualifies many young people in U.S. from military service
WASHINGTON, May 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Representing more than 200 retired generals and admirals who are members of the national nonprofit Mission: Readiness, retired Army Brigadier General Clara Adams-Ender joined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius at a press conference today to announce a new grant initiative to support state efforts to improve and expand high-quality early care and education.
To view the complete press conference, go to http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/14949645.
Citing Defense Department estimates that three out of four young adults are not able to join the military, Adams-Ender noted that one of the biggest disqualifying factors is poor educational achievement. She also noted that approximately one in four high school students nationwide does not graduate on time, and even among those who do graduate from high school and try to join the Army, nearly one in four cannot enlist because their scores are too low on the military’s basic exam on math, literacy and problem solving.
“The research is clear that high-quality early education can increase high school graduation rates,” said Adams-Ender, who is the first nurse in Army history to become a commanding general of a major military base. “Long-term studies show that at-risk children benefit greatly from these programs.”
She noted that early childhood programs not only promote early reading and math skills, they also help cultivate curiosity, build character and develop social skills. Success in the military, she said, like success in any professional career, demands self-discipline, the ability to work with others and a mind-set to stick with a task until it is completed. She also said we must do a better job in helping children learn to read well by third grade to close the achievement gap.
“For those of us who have made a career in the military, it has been an outstanding experience that afforded us many opportunities and it would be a shame for the next generation not to have those opportunities,” said Adams-Ender. “I want to thank Secretaries Duncan and Sebelius. We are taking an important step to make sure our current education crisis doesn’t become a national security crisis.”
Mission: Readiness is the nonprofit, nonpartisan national security organization of over 200 retired generals, admirals and other senior military leaders who support policies and investments that will help young Americans succeed in school and later in life.
SOURCE MISSION: READINESS