Our Graduation Requirements Are Doing a Disservice to Students Who Want to Serve in the Military

Ronald Fay:

For the most part, state legislators and the Department of Education have maintained high standards for students in Colorado by requiring students to meet a variety of graduation requirements and benchmarks that prove they’re ready for success in college and career.

But, are we challenging students who want to go into the armed forces with the same rigor as those who opt for college? According to The Education Trust’s study, Shut Out of the Military, “Our high schools are undermining the preparedness of too many of the young people who seek to serve their nation, leaving our country—and our youth—in harm’s way.”

It’s time for this to change.

We spend millions of dollars on programming and testing to ensure our students walk across the stage with a diploma that signifies they are ready to contribute to society. The state has outlined a list of measures that districts can use to show that their students are ready to graduate from high school. It includes everything from ACT/SAT scores to concurrent enrollment and even capstone projects. The state suggests that if a student can meet a minimum standard in at least one area, they’re ready for the challenges and opportunities of college and the workforce. But for that to be true, the bar must be set appropriately for each measure of success, and I fear the bar has been set too low for students who plan to enter the armed forces after graduation. This represents an egregious oversight on the part of policy makers.

Related: “The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”