"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

NCLB, Military Recruiters, and a Rumsfeld Lawsuit

It took two years for the Pentagon to acknowledge that it had used NCLB to justify a massive database of high schoolers to be harassed as potential recruits for the the neo-cons' pre-emptive wars. Fortunately, it hasn't taken as long for high school students to understand their rights to privacy.

Six New York teenagers sued Rummy on Monday in Manhattan federal court, alleging that recruiters continued to harass students who had requested that their names be deleted from the database. The Reuters story:

By Daniel TrottaMon Apr 24, 3:34 PM ET

Six New York teen-agers sued Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld on Monday, alleging the U.S. Department of Defense broke the law by keeping an extensive database on potential recruits.

The suit in federal court in Manhattan follows a series of allegations last year of misconduct by recruiters, who have experienced difficulty meeting targets because of the war in Iraq.

The Pentagon last year acknowledged it had created a database of 12 million Americans, full of personal data such as grades and Social Security numbers, to help find potential military recruits.

The Pentagon has defended the practice as critical to the success of the all-volunteer U.S. military, and said it was sensitive to privacy concerns.

But the suit alleges the Pentagon improperly collected data on people as young as 16 and kept it beyond a three-year limit, and said that the law does not allow for keeping records on race, ethnicity, gender or social security numbers.

"On the one hand Congress has afforded broad latitude to collect information but on the other hand the Department of Defense has completely flouted those limits," said Donna Lieberman, director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which filed the suit on behalf of the six plaintiffs.

The Pentagon referred the case to a spokeswoman who was not immediately available for comment.

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