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2002-11-13

No Child Unrecruited: Should the Military Be Given Contact Information for Every High School Student? A Round-Table Discussion On President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act

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An article in the current issue of Mother Jones magazine goes something like this:

The principal of Mount Anthony Union High School in Bennington, Vermont, Sharon Shea-Keneally, was shocked when she received a letter in May from military recruiters. The letter demanded a list of all her students, including names, addresses, and phone numbers.

The school invites recruiters to participate in career days and job fairs, but like most school districts, it keeps student information strictly confidential. Sharon Shea-Keneally said: "We don’t give out a list of names of our kids to anybody, not to colleges, churches, employers — nobody."

But when Shea-Keneally insisted on an explanation, she was in for an even bigger surprise: The recruiters cited the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush’s sweeping new education law passed earlier this year. There, buried deep within the law’s 670 pages, is a provision requiring public secondary schools to provide military recruiters not only with access to facilities, but also with contact information for every student — or face a cutoff of all federal aid.Today on Democracy Now!: A roundtable discussion on the issue of military recruitment in high schools.

Guests:

  • David Goodman, Contributing Writer for Mother Jones. Recently wrote an article entitled "No Child Unrecruited" which discusses the issue of whether the military should be given the names and phone numbers of every high school student.
  • Harold Jordan, Executive Director, National Coalition of Education Activists.
  • Jill Wynns, President, San Francisco Board of Education. Says they haven’t seen the impact of the new law yet in SF schools yet—-recruitment usually takes place in the spring. Concerned about privacy rights of millions of high school students under the new law.

A few weeks ago, a group of students from Bushwick High School and Bushwick Outreach Center in Brooklyn, NY protested the "No Child Left Behind Act" outside their school.

Commander Edward Gehrke a Navy recruiting chief from New York responded to the Bushwick students’ protest by writing a letter which was published in New York’s Daily News newspaper. In that letter, he said that most of the Bushwick students couldn’t qualify to be in the Navy. QUOTE ". . . most have too many drug and/or police issues to even be considered for enlistment." Commander Gehrke said he wrote his letter because he didn’t understand why students were protesting the armed forces’ harmless recruiting efforts.

Guests:

  • Indhira Reyes, Bushwick HS student activist who protested No Child Left Behind Act at her school. Also a member of the "Make the Road by Walking" Community Center in Brooklyn, NY.
  • Amanda Rodriguez, graduated from Bushwick High School last year. Said she was contacted by army and navy recruiters since leaving school.

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