Saturday, June 11, 2005

No Recruit Left Behind

An editorial appears in the Washington Post today about the recruitment efforts of the US military in public high schools.

This is tough. Anyone who has followed the developments of our various wars knows that the lack of recruits is now causing previously unimaginable challenges to the military. Whatever you think of the wars -- and I think, as more Americans do now than ever before that the Iraqi war was a terrible mistake -- you must acknowledge that we can't just leave. Not until the social and political institutions in Iraq are significantly more developed than they are currently. If we leave, it'll be worse than it was before we came.

So how is the military to find new soldiers? I don't have an answer. But I think it's perfectly reasonable -- as does Diane Paul in the WaPo editorial -- to assert that military recruiting should have nothing to do with No Child Left Behind. When NCLB's reauthorization comes up in two years the section that requires public schools to provide directory information to military recruiters should be removed.

To quote Paul:

What does this have to do with educational reform, what No Child Left Behind is supposed to be about? A letter sent to educators in October 2002 by then-Education Secretary Rod Paige and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is revealing. It states: "Sustaining that heritage [defending freedom] requires the active support of public institutions in presenting military opportunities to our young people for their consideration. Recognizing the challenges faced by military recruiters, Congress recently passed legislation that requires high schools to provide to recruiters, upon request, access to secondary school students and directory information on those students. Both the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002 reflect these requirements." It seems obvious that recruitment drives in schools have nothing to with educational reform. This is about our government solving its recruitment problem.


If there are recruiting problems -- and there clearly are -- Congress should pass a law particularly to address that problem. And there should be a debate about their solution. Attaching a requirement for recruiting to an education reform bill is devious and prevents a debate from happening.

The recruiting section of NCLB needs to be removed.

2 Comments:

Blogger Superdestroyer said...

Isn't the recruiting requirements just a requirement to accept government money. If the schools don't want to talk to military recruiters then why don't they just give up the money?

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Christine said...

I know this is long after the posting, but....
Sure, let's have our most seriously underfunded public institutions give up a portion of their chronically miniscule funding to get away from the (unethical and probably illegal) requirement to help the goverment recruit soldiers among our high school students.
Why should any high school student be forced to have his personal information given to the Army? Why would any legitimate education law demand this? Why do we even allow recruiters on high school campuses, where they routinely lie and mislead kids regarding the realities of life in the Army, and the consequences of joining it? This is a disgrace, and it must be removed from the wording of NCLB (which should be repealed, and something much more legitimate, and much better funded, put in its place).

1:20 PM  

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