Blog | Op-Ed | April 11, 2017

Supporting Education and Military Readiness

Two Mission: Readiness members support Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on proposed investments for early education

Late last month, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker proposed a significant $37.9 million investment in early childhood education programs that serve low-income families. Mission: Readiness supports investments in early childhood education because research shows that it can mitigate the major barriers that disqualify young Americans from military service.

On March 30, the Boston Globe covered bipartisan support for the Governor’s proposal. Mission: Readiness retired U.S. Army brigadier generals Jack Hammond and Gary Pappas praised the governor’s proposal in a response published in the April 9 edition of the Boston Sunday Globe:

Dear Editor:

We were pleased to read about Governor Baker’s proposal to make a significant investment in high-quality early childhood education programs (“Governor Baker boosts funding for early education,” March 30). As retired brigadier generals who spent a combined 67 years in service to the United States Army, we know that expanding access to these programs are critically important for our future military readiness.

You might be shocked to learn that today, only 30% of young adults in Massachusetts are qualified to serve in the military. Seventy percent of Bay Staters between 17-24 years are unable to serve because they are too poorly educated, too overweight, or have a record of crime or drug abuse.

While there is no single solution to this problem, research shows that high-quality early childhood education can significantly reduce the major disqualifiers for military service. Not every child will choose to pursue military service, but each should grow up healthy, well-educated, and of high moral character; a key recipe for success at whatever they choose in life.

For the strength of our state, nation, and U.S. Armed Forces, we urge the legislature to support the governor’s proposal.

Brigadier General John A. “Jack” Hammond, U.S. Army, Retired Cambridge

Brigadier General Gary A. Pappas, U.S. Army, Retired Boston

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