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

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Update on NCLB and Military Recruiters

A clip from an informative post by Rachel Natelson at Huffington Post:

. . . .To be eligible for federal funding under the terms of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), public high schools must offer military recruiters "the same access to secondary school students as is provided generally to post-secondary educational institutions or to prospective employers." Far from equalizing access, however, this policy has authorized military personnel to wage aggressive and unmonitored recruiting campaigns in the schools least likely to promote college and civilian employment opportunities. Targeting schools in high-poverty districts, which lack the resources to advise students on alternative options, military recruiters do not so much complement civilian representatives as supersede them.

Federally funded schools not only must offer recruiters access to their premises, but also must provide the military with household contact information for all students. While the law grants students and parents the right to "opt out" of the latter requirement by withholding their personal information, this safeguard rests entirely on the efforts of local school officials and provides no meaningful enforcement mechanism. It also fails to regulate the manner in which recruiters interact with students in the hallways, cafeterias, and classrooms of their schools.

A 2007 survey conducted by the NY Civil Liberties Union paints an especially worrisome portrait of military recruiting under No Child Left Behind. According to its findings, 40% of high school students polled failed to receive recruitment opt-out forms from their schools and an additional 33% were unsure if their schools made such forms available. More disturbingly, 21% of freshman, sophomore, and junior respondents and 27% of 12th graders reported the use of class time by military recruiters. Nearly half of respondents at selected schools reported that they did not know to whom they could report recruiter misconduct, and a third were unable to identify a school official to advise them of the risks and benefits of military enlistment.

. . . .

On-campus recruiting practices, meanwhile, continue to beg for increased oversight. One Army recruiting pamphlet, for example, explicitly instructs recruiters to "coordinate with school officials to eat lunch in the school cafeteria several times each month," and to "deliver donuts and coffee for the faculty once a month... [to] help in scheduling classroom presentations and advise teachers of the many Army opportunities." While "tangible inducements" to minors may now be a forbidden tactic in credit card marketing, military recruiters continue to ply students with key chains, hats, and t-shirts in pursuit of their goals. . . . .

1 comment:

  1. This Huffington Post article was a terrific view of the odd crack in logic that allows the military to have such deep access to students in public schools. Yes, credit card debt is bad, but preying on underaged students to sign a military contract is much, much worse.

    Our organization, Washington Truth in Recruiting, has worked several years on a TISA (Truth in Solicitations Act) requiring oversight of outside solicitors in public high schools. http://watir.org/res/TISA_v8.txt

    Oversight of content and manner of solicitation is needed, due to the natural conflict of interest between solicitors and students. Counseling should not be privatized or outsourced to outside solicitors without oversight of the content!

    A TISA Act should establish broad principles and does not need to contain the word "military" or even "recruiters":

    (a) Truth in solicitations: No person shall make solicitations containing false or misleading statements to students in primary or secondary schools in (State), or omitting facts or information, when such omissions or misrepresentations would reasonably be considered material to a student's decision to accept or reject the solicitation.

    (b) For purposes of this section, "solicitation" means any verbal, written or media communication delivered to a student while on the premises of a public school for the purpose of marketing, building brand-awareness or image, indoctrinating, inducing or persuading the student to enter into any contract buying or selling any product or service, hiring or enlisting them in any job, occupation, career or ministry, or enrolling them in any educational program.
    Please read the full version!
    Kathy Barker
    (Where the high school career specialists have all been let go....)