Saturday, December 18, 2004

No recruitment left behind

Thanks to cs at not watching television who sent me this nice reminder about the military recruitment clause in NCLB.
If you're a healthy sixth grader, Uncle Sam might ask your teacher to hang up a nice new poster in your classroom. As one young student found out, military recruiters can begin collecting information on kids as early as the sixth grade. The sixth grade!

Bundled into NCLB is a provision that military recruiters can request information on students in the sixth grade on up from any schools which accept NCLB money. So not only did they grant themselves permission to gain access to sixth graders, it's a bit of extortion. If a school wants money, it must allow access to military recruiters.
The source article contains more soothing thoughts about how the military is certainly not going to send sixth graders to Iraq. But still, it begs the question: why collect this info about the kids in the first place.

Couple things:
*Sixth grade sounds awfully young so I wanted to doublecheck. It's in the legislation, here. Note: it doesn't say specifically sixth grade but it says 'secondary schools'.

*What is more of concern to me is news of how this database of students will be coupled with the selective service database. This is the part that I really don't like at all. I'd like to see the media amplify on this point.

*Theoretically, you can try to keep your child's information out of this database. Here's how. Apparently, if you aren't an aware parent, you could completely miss out on this opting out process. It's also not clear to me how this database works. If you get entered in once, then are you tracked forever?

*While it's clear the military doesn't intend to recruit 6th graders today, it makes me wonder why they even have it in the legislation. It sounds like a 'just in case' situation to me, which is very worrisome to me. It doesn't matter how its spun because I just don't like it.