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Three Meter Zone | JD's Bunker | Poetry | Chapel | American Journal



Dropouts

    It may be difficult for some to accept, but there are still reasons why young people in this country leave school before graduating that has nothing to do with being a quitter, stupid, or a criminal.  Sure, plenty leave school for those reasons, but others leave for other reasons.  Maybe the two sets of clothes they own don't sport Tommy Hilfiger labels or the Nike swooshes.  Maybe, they're trying to pick up where the parents they never had left off.  Maybe they are trying to continue eating and living in doors.  Or maybe they're trying to help a minimum wage working mother feed the rest of the kids.  Yep, all of that is out there in your America.

    On the other hand, after working this school year in a high school I will tell you, a high school diploma is not a symbol of quality.  It's very likely to be the symbol of a lazy bum that cheated and slugged his way through with a D average.  Grades to poor to get into a college and not the quality anyone would want to hire - not even Burger King.  This person can bust CAT IV or the lowest III whatever that is, on the ASVAB and be in your unit tomorrow maxing the minimums.

    The dropout, if accepted, must not only get a GED first, but must score higher on the ASVAB than Burger King boy.  And then, must pass a motivation test, whatever the hell that is.

    Of all the soldiers I trained as a Drill Sergeant, many of those who were most motivated and worked the hardest were GED's on their second chance.  Most of them came out of the streets or hills somewhere and the Army was living big, compared to what they left.  During all of my time as a NCO, some of my most capable and dependable soldiers were GED holders.  I think, part of the reason for that may be that they didn't look beyond being a soldier.  Being a soldier put them higher up on the heap than they'd ever been before and they took some pride in that.

    When I came into the Army we were trying to get over McNamara's 100,000 - anyone who could walk up right.  We had them coming into the Army in lieu of jail time.  There was no standard applied to these folks like it is going to be applied to these new GED holders.

    It's just this old dropout's opinion, but I don't think you'll get lower quality recruits just because they didn't get a for real high school diploma.  Ok, I'll put the soapbox away.

    

© 2000 J.D. Pendry