Modal close

Dear Democracy Now! visitor,

You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power. Democracy Now! brings you crucial reporting like our coverage from the front lines of the Dakota Access pipeline protests or news about this unprecedented US presidential election—and our coverage is never paid for by the oil and gas companies or the campaigns and superPACs. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation—all without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. How? This model of news depends on your support. Today, less than 1% of our visitors support Democracy Now! with a donation each year. If even 3% of our website visitors donated just $8 per month, we could cover our basic operating expenses for a year. Pretty amazing right? If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.


JROTC: The Military in America's High Schools: Homeroom Or War Room? A Debate

December 28, 2001


The article begins like this:

“Several hundred teenagers dressed in patent leather shoes and crisp green U.S. Army uniforms are greeting andbackslapping each other in the crowded school hallway. Suddenly, a drum corps thunders to life, and the studentshustle into a cavernous hall, where they snap to attention. Chests out, butts in, chins up, and right hands thatsmack their foreheads in simultaneous salute. Stone-faced student "commanders" walk along the formation, writingdemerits for missing ties, untied shoes, and other infractions. A girl behind me drops to the floor and sweatsthrough a set of push-ups. "I forgot my name tag," she explains breathlessly.

"Is this West Point? The Citadel? Boot camp? Try again: It’s a typical morning at the Chicago Military Academy, apublic high school in the most militarized school system in America. More than 9,000 of the city’s students, some asyoung as 11, are enrolled in school programs run by the U.S. military. Chicago is in the vanguard of a growingnational movement that is responding to the problems of struggling inner-city schools by sending the Marines ­ andthe Army, Navy, and Air Force. The city is home to the nation’s largest contingent of programs run by the JuniorReserve Officer Training Corps, a program established by Congress in 1916 to develop citizenship and responsibilityin young people. Long limited to classrooms in conservative Southern states, JROTC is now in the midst of thelargest expansion in its 85-year history."So, is Junior ROTC creating a new generation of citizens or a new generation of soldiers? Today, on "Democracy Now!in Exile" we’ll have a debate. But first we will speak with journalist David Goodman, who recently spent severalweeks traveling the country for an article about JROTC in Mother Jones magazine.


  • David Goodman, journalist.
  • Lt. Col. Rick Mills, Director of JROTC, Chicago Public Schools.
  • Rick Jahnkow, program coordinator, Project YANO.
  • Cadet Tammi Jordan, Junior, Chicago Military Academy, Bronxville.
  • Cadet Yosepha Infante, Patton Academy at Faragut High School.
  • Zach London, Student, Albany High School.
  • Derek Francis, producer, "Military Myths: I Want You!"

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.