countering military recruitment in the schools

I  briefly attended an informative session in the expanding military recruitment efforts within our schools when at the SOA Watch this past weekend. 

Pat Elder, of the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth, presented the information and offered ways to counter military recruitment.  Again, because schools are compulsory and undemocratic, students are a captive audience for the military as well as other corporations.  So there is no counter to military recruitment, no alternatives are usually presented, and families are unaware of information presented when they are not present.

The military uses tests and access to schools to approach kids.  The ASVAB, Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test, is administered every year to 621, 000 high school children in 11, 000 schools, according to NNOMY's handout at the session.  Over 1000 public schools administer the test without parental consent and information is forwarded to recruiters (just as College Board and ETS have broad access and students have little opt-out ability).  

Few schools adequately protect student privacy (only an estimated 8% do) and laws are designed to put the burden on families to opt-out rather than opt-in.  On paper, the military has the same access to students as colleges do, but in practice, the military is often allowed far more access to students in many places.  

Many students, already bruised from the forced failure of grades and testing, feel their only option is a military program that will accept many who do not score well on other tests.   Alternative careers, such as social justice work, work in their local churches and communities, or non-college alternatives are rarely given serious attention.  And because compulsory attendance lessens the input of children and their families,  little attemntion is goven top what these families want or need.  What matters is what government and corporations, now entwined together, want and need.

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