During my 31 years in the U.S. Navy, culminating in the rank of rear admiral, I served with some of the most talented and capable young people in our country. Today, I am concerned that nearly 70 percent of young adults in Washington are not qualified for military service.
Poor educational achievement is one of the leading reasons. Twenty-two percent of Washington high school students do not graduate on time, and among those who do graduate and try to join the military, one in six cannot pass the exam for math, literacy and problem solving.
That is why rigorous K-12 education standards are so important. The Washington State Learning Standards encourage students to get curious and learn skills such as problem solving and critical thinking.
The Smarter Balanced assessments, which many students in Tacoma are taking this spring, measure students’ progress meeting these standards. The assessments provide students, teachers and parents with valuable information to support students so they are prepared for success after high school.
Washington’s learning standards and assessments will help ensure that our students graduate prepared to pursue the postsecondary pathway of their choice, including in the military for those who choose to serve.