Friday, August 18, 2006


OK, so I hunt down my one applicant who has been a little gun shy. He is more than willing, he just needs a little coaxing. He gets his paperwork together and has arranged for us to pick up his high school transcripts. Oh! I almost forgot, lets do a practice ASVAB! 45 grueling minutes later I go and look at his score. Are ya ready?? Drum roll please. He got a FOUR. A four!! I stood stock still staring at the computer screen not comprehending what I was seeing. Then I quickly recovered myself saying "oh...... ok..... um. You need to study a little bit." I was stunned.

I drove him home so very sad. I explained that it was imperative that he bring his score up to a 31. Now let me explain about the ASVAB. According to the powers that be, there is no pass or fail on the ASVAB. The test is designed to test your acedemic AND vocational abilities and skills. It tests how well you comprehend basic scholastic skills as well as your ability to grasp concepts, much like an IQ test. It is not a test that if you get a 31 it means that you only got 31% correct. It means that if a person scores a 31 he has the very basic abilities and knowledge to perform well in the Military. Certain MOS or jobs in the military require a higher score. For instance a communications specialist needs to have a higher score than a 31. To qualify for extra money for college you need a 51 or better. So in theory there is no "pass" or "fail" for the ASVAB. In theory. Reality is you have to have a 31 to enter the Army.

Now I was trying hard not to be judgmental. After all not everyone is equally gifted. However I have another applicant in almost the same identical situation as this kid I'll call "Rock". They both come from poverty. Both have parents who never completed high school. Both dropped out, both have no GED. Neither can drive or have jobs. They are both staring a bleak future in the face. However, comma, "Billy Joe Bob" decided a year ago he wanted something different. He began to play basketball and diet and get into shape. He began to study the ASVAB tests. When he started studying the library would not let him check out any of the books unless he put down a $15 deposit. He didn't have it. So he stayed at the library for hours studying. In fact everytime I have to track him down he is at the library. He walks several miles to the library in this heat. One day the librarian (who also is a math teacher) decided to help Billy Joe Bob. She saw how determined he was. She began to help him with his math portion and he slowly brought up his ASVAB score from rock bottom, to 31, to 51 and now to 75. He showed me a notebook with the notes he has taken from her AND the notes he takes from the videos he watches at the library on Math and English. He watches the videos for hours. Now he has a cousin sitting and watching the videos with him. He wants to join too.

My Rock with the score of four is currently enrolled in an adult education class. Every time I drop by he either has his head on the desk taking a nap or he is outside shooting the breeze with his buds. Rock thinks that everything is supposed to fall into his lap. I guess he thinks he will learn this stuff by osmosis.

Rock probably thinks Billy Joe Bob is "lucky". He lucked up on a math teacher at the library, a recruiter who is willing to go to any lengths to get him in, and he is in tip top shape. Lucky? Yeah maybe, but Billy Joe Bob has learned a valuable lesson. "Luck" is being prepared when the opportunity presents itself.


Blogger cryptofreq said...

wow rocks in in new jersey..this would be funny had i not enlisted someone with the name "ROCK" as his first name on his birth certificate....go figure

good luck and keep on turning over rocks!

Friday, August 18, 2006 8:38:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Smith said...

Sgt. Lori,

Why not give BJB his first practical assignment. See how long he can take listening to Rock's sad story.

Rock can blow you off. You're one of those people born with all the luck. See how that flies with BJB.

Who do you want to send off to war where people are depending on Charley Mike? Rock, or BJB??

Friday, August 18, 2006 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger brian said...

Hope you are having a great weekend. You are right about wanting to better yourself, it's not about where you came from it's about where you are going.

Saturday, August 19, 2006 2:16:00 PM  
Blogger Pixie said...

"Luck" is being prepared when the opportunity presents itself.

I love that. Could BJB mentor Rock somehow???

Keep up the great work; hang on to your beautiful, compassionate spirit.

YOU Rock, Lori!!!!

Saturday, August 19, 2006 8:25:00 PM  
Blogger Random Moma said...

Sometimes a little motivation can do a lot of good! I know that sometimes the kids just need an incentive. For my daughter, I promised to by Ugg Boot Woman for her birthday because her boyfriend had them - a pair of man Ugg boot - so they could go skiing together. And it worked out really well.

Sunday, August 20, 2006 11:53:00 PM  
Blogger SFC B said...

I'm all for people studying to make a better score, but there gets to be a point where, well, it's not an issue of studying but an issue of actually knowing how to read or add.

I conducted my own little unscientific experiment in the office not too long ago. Any time someone failed the EST I'd take them back to my desk, and have them read one of the incentives from my evidence book. I wouldn't be so rude as to go "Hey dumbass, can you read", but more like "Hey Skippy, you need to study more so you can earn this incentive here."

Of the 10 I did this with only 1 was able to read it without much difficulty. 6 of them wound up needing a little help with the bigger words like "incentive" and "qualification". But 3 of them weren't able to read it at all. Small sample size rules apply here, but the one who could read the best had a 29 EST, the 6 with trouble ranged from 29-16, and the three that were probably illiterate ranged from 11-3.

SGT Lori, have you given yourself the EST? If so, you can see how... basic... the test is. It's not measuring someone's ability to figure the cosine of anything. It's testing if they can read or do simple algebra like solve 5x=25. When someone really bolos it, like single digits bolo, it's a shame that the person was so failed by their schools, but it's not something that a bit of studying or March2Success can solve in a week.

Monday, August 21, 2006 2:14:00 PM  
Blogger Politics of a Patriot said...

"Billy Joe Bob" is inspiring.

I have to say, though, that I did not really think it was POSSIBLE for a person to get a 4 on the ASVAB.

Friday, September 01, 2006 12:43:00 PM  

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