The future of military recruits in Mississippi - - Jackson, MS

The future of military recruits in Mississippi

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Four retired military generals called on state lawmakers today to put more stock in early childhood development and learning. There concern is the growing number of individuals who can't make the grade to join the military in Mississippi.

The big guns brought military might to the state capitol, armed with a startling new report from Mission Readiness about the future of national security.

Roger Shields, Brigadier General, US Army (Retired) told reporters,

"In the future when you look at the figures we have now, we can see this can be a dramatic threat to national security" said Brigadier General Roger Shields, US Army (Retired).

Claiborne Barksdale, Businessman and CEO of the Barksdale Reading Institute, has repeatedly called for the investment into early childhood education along with educators.

"When you state that about national security and 80% plus of Mississippians between 17 and 24 years old cannot quality for the military that gets your attention" said Barksdale.

Also in attendance at the Capitol, Buford Blount, III, Major General, US Army (Retired, Belinda Pinckney, Brigadier General, US Army (Retired) and Erik Hearon, Major General, US Air Force (Retired).

The report says 80% are unable to pass skills examinations, disqualified for obesity, criminal records or poorly educated.

At this time the Governor and lawmakers they can't afford to put a quality early childhood development and learning program in place, while others say the state can't afford not to.

In 2010, almost 1,500 young men and women joined the military. However, only one in four young adults in American can pass the muster according to Mission: Readiness.

It is worse in Mississippi, and worse yet in the Delta. The report says it is likely that less than one in ten adults from the Mississippi Delta can join the ranks.

Neighboring Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee have high-quality programs that are beginning to see results the report states.

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