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Education Czar Says Teens Not Academically Prepared to Enter Military

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Aired 3/24/11

The nation’s education secretary Arne Duncan said too many teenagers can’t get into the military because they are not academically prepared. He joined military officials on Wednesday in San Diego to focus on the problem.

— The nation’s education secretary Arne Duncan said too many teenagers can’t get into the military because they are not academically prepared. He joined military officials on Wednesday in San Diego to focus on the problem.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speaks to military officials at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station during a San Diego visit on Wednesday.
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Above: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speaks to military officials at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station during a San Diego visit on Wednesday.

A new report by Education Trust, a non-profit education advocacy group based in Washington D.C., shows roughly 1 out of 4 high school graduates set on joining the military fail the academic entrance exam.

Duncan says on top of that, roughly 25 percent of students who drop out of high school every year cannot join because they do not have a diploma.

Duncan says the problem affects national security. He wants lawmakers to reform the federal No Child Left Behind Act to improve student performance.

“We have to get better faster than we ever have,” Duncan says. “The problem is not our nation’s children. The challenge, quite frankly, is the adults and educators. We haven't provided the opportunities (students) need.”

Critics say the federal accountability law is too strict and punishes schools instead of rewarding them. Attempts in Congress to revamp the almost decade-old measure have languished. Duncan is pushing for changes by the end of this year

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