Only 30 percent of young people 17 to 24 years old are qualified for military service; the rest are ineligible because of health issues (especially obesity), academic problems (low test scores, no diploma) or an arrest record. The Army has started an intensive GED-prep school for recruits who test in the top half of the aptitude test but haven’t completed high school.
Their day begins in uniform at 5 a.m. with physical training. Then they attend about eight hours of academic review classes, followed by homework each evening. An hour of marching drills and military discipline is thrown in for good measure.
. . . The soldiers work in small classrooms outfitted with simple desks, chairs, and dry-erase boards. In-desk computers are used for test-taking. Grouped three to four to a class, the students hunch over special GED preparation books, working on basic math, social studies and reading selections.
They get two tries at passing the GED. After that, they’re released from their service commitment.