Friday, March 18, 2005

Yet another reason...

... to detest No Child Left Behind:

REP. JIM McDERMOTT: Well, buried in the No Child Left Behind Act, in section 9528, it says schools are required to give military recruiters names, home addresses, and home phone numbers. If they don't do that, they can be penalized by receiving no money from the federal government. So, it's really a stick, a big heavy stick on schools to give out that information. There is a possibility for youngsters to opt out, but nobody tells kids about opting out. And that's what this campaign is really all about. It's to give kids the awareness that they can opt out, give their parents the awareness they can opt out, so that they're not bugged by recruiters.

That's Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott and the campaign he's referring to is a petition drive to convince Congress that parents and teens should know that they do not have to allow the military to have their contact information. Privacy laws protect them, if they want to be protected. But no one knows it. Here's more from the interview on Democracy Now!:

AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to Congress member Jim McDermott. He's in Seattle now about to get on a plane. If you can explain, though, because I don't think, and maybe this is why you've introduced this, most people understand how it works, that the school automatically hands over students' names, high school students' names to the Pentagon, unless a parent or the student, him or herself, actually proactively says, “Do not hand over that name.” Is that right?


AMY GOODMAN: And the principal can decide whether to send a letter home to inform parents about this so they have the choice, or more often than not, the names are just handed over.

REP. JIM McDERMOTT: Yep. The school has no requirement to, or the school board has no requirement to tell parents what's happening to their kids' private information. And in most cases, they are not doing anything. In some places, we had a youngster yesterday at the press conference from New Jersey, where the kids got 90% of the kids in the school to opt out in a New Jersey high school. Now, that’s student activism at its very best.

Indeed it is. For information on how to opt out of military recruitment efforts, click here.


Blogger EdWonk said...

I agree with you. As a classroom teacher, I firmly believe that student information is sacrosanct, and at no time should lists of pupils' names and addresses be made available to any third parties.

Having said that, I don't see a problem with recruiters giving the ASVAB test (as they have for years) to high school seniors.

The difference is that the test is easily opted-out by parents and/or students, and results can be sent to the student via the school.

It was asinine to include such a provision in NCLB.

12:22 AM  
Blogger Joe Thomas said...

Great article, Doug. It's good to see that people are starting to be brave enough to confront this most nefarious aspect of NCLB.

I would agree with Ed about it being asinine to include a "reverse recruitment" clause into NCLB, except that I think part of the purpose of NCLB is to drive kids into the military.

What I will offer to support this is the increasing documentation of the high rate of "push outs" between 9th and 10th grade. Tenth grade is when schools have to test your kids. To keep off the failing lists many, many school districts are holding kids back from advancing to 10th grade. Once a kid fails a grade, his chances of dropping out skyrocket. Without a high school degree, the military remains one of the more promising avenues for a young man or woman.

Remember, recruiters are not getting access to the kids at the schools. They are getting permanent addresses, birthdates, and phone numbers.

The architects of NCLB are either brilliant or stupid.

5:34 PM  
Blogger Uglicoyote said...

Great Post Doug, and thanks Joe for leading me to it. The recruiters come to our school and set up in The Commons. The work the kids in a friendly, salesman-like manner. The middle class and lower income students, minorities many of them, show the most interest, enticed by college and "training" incentives. As ususal, serving, fighting and dying has little appeal to the "Fortunate Sons." My further thoughts on this at The Endless Faculty Meeting

10:13 AM  
Blogger EdWonk said...

Bill is right. Especially in this particular version of "war."

3:25 PM  

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