The best school system in the U.S. is run by the Defense Department, says a USA Today story. In the U.S. and overseas, students at Pentagon schools post consistently high test scores, and minority achievement is strong.
Last year, black and Hispanic eighth-graders in these schools outperformed their peers in all 50 states in reading.
. . . At Fort Campbell High School, where minority students account for about half of enrollment, nearly three in four seniors go on to college. More than one in four take rigorous Advanced Placement classes. During a recent AP calculus class, nearly half the students speeding through square roots were black or Hispanic.
Kids who need extra help get it long before their grades falter. Incoming freshmen with below-average math scores, for instance, receive an additional 50 minutes of algebra instruction each day.
Principal Kenneth Killebrew said the key is high standards for all, regardless of race or rank.
Parents are strongly urged to participate in their children’s education. On rare occasions, a principal will call a commanding officer to complain that a parent didn’t show up for a conference.
Military students move frequently, which tends to lower achievement, but that’s mitigated by the common curriculum used at Pentagon schools around the world. About one fourth of students are considered low-income, similar to the poverty rate in non-military schools.
I grew up near Fort Sheridan, then headquarters of the Fifth Army, and went to high school with Army brats whose fathers had been stationed in Germany and Okinawa. At that time, military schools had a mediocre reputation. I wonder how that changed.