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No Child Left Unrecruited
December 1, 2004 4:53 PM   Subscribe

What "No Child Left Behind" Really Means
"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."

Read that again slowly, No Child Left Behind is actually a military recruitment program. Backed up with an inverse extortion threat.
via.
posted by fenriq (72 comments total)

 
This just in...Bush administration has been deceptive to the American Public as well as the rest of the world. Also, Julia Roberts had twins.
posted by mcstayinskool at 4:56 PM on December 1, 2004


That's good, laugh it off. Safe to say that you don't have kids? At least none in public schools?
posted by fenriq at 4:58 PM on December 1, 2004


No Child Left Behind is actually a military recruitment program

That's certainly a crappy little loophole they inserted there, but to call the entire thing a recruitment program is to completely undermine your position by saying something so over the top.
posted by mathowie at 4:59 PM on December 1, 2004


a Republican from Louisiana who sponsored the new recruitment requirement, says such schools "demonstrated an anti-military attitude that I thought was offensive."

The "Recruitment Program" comment may be a little over the top, but this is still very scary. I'm glad my child and I live in Canada... for now anyway.
posted by Hanover Phist at 5:06 PM on December 1, 2004


True, and I'll take the opportunity to say that the public premise of No Child Left Behind is an honorable and worthwhile project. If it had been implemented completely and properly then our kids would be on the right track. But its been underfunded and now this loophole appears just as Bush says they're going to bump troop numbers up to an even 150,000 for the elections.

There might not be a draft per se, but what's stopping the military from using the information to find the most likely candidates and coerce them into signing up?

I'm no longer willing to give this administration any benefit of the doubt.
posted by fenriq at 5:06 PM on December 1, 2004


Plus, it may not be there much longer anyway. School districts that had already banned recruiters and then re-instated them with NCLB are sure to use this to try to re-ban them.
posted by ..ooOOoo....ooOOoo.. at 5:07 PM on December 1, 2004


Not to smother the outrage, but we've all known about this for two years. The Mojo article you linked is from 2002.

On the recruitment front, Harvard Law School is taking steps to ban military recruiters after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit last week struck down the Solomon Amendment as unconstitutional. (Links via the incredibly prolific sage of appellate law, Howard Bashman.)
posted by PrinceValium at 5:11 PM on December 1, 2004


This isn't exactly new is it? I thought this was standard issue, but that parents had the option to "opt-out" their children. Am I misinformed?

No Child Left Behind is actually a military recruitment program.

Doesn't this kind of dismiss all the other bad things that No Child Left Behind does... Maybe this is a good use for e-prime.

On preview: what they said
posted by rdub at 5:13 PM on December 1, 2004


Maybe this is a good use for e-prime.

Ok, I feel stupid. How about "maybe e-prime would work well here" ?
posted by rdub at 5:14 PM on December 1, 2004


i wish you fuckers would quit getting sidelined by petty crap like this and settle in to the real tasks facing liberals: banning the holy bible, requiring churches to bless holy group necro-bestia-pedo-coprophilic matrimony and government funding of community abortion-mobiles.
posted by quonsar at 5:14 PM on December 1, 2004


It seems to me that students at Harvard Law School (or, indeed, any law school) are going to be a bit less susceptible to military recruiters than a couple of JV baseball players in Nebraska. What am I missing? Do recruiters really actively try to get law students to join the military? I'm assuming that if they do, it is not as infantrymen.
posted by billysumday at 5:15 PM on December 1, 2004


Here's the scenario I'm seeing (and yes, it is definitely a glass half empty).

Sgt. Deathsend needs to get his numbers up or he's going to be deployed to Iraq. So he goes to some area schools, uses this loophole to get lots of information on the students.

He does some geographic cross referencing to select some likely candidates, then pushes the legality of the loophole some to obtain their school records. He learns what their aptitudes are and crafts the right pitch to recruit kids: "Say Johnny, I understand you like computers, did you know that the US Army has the most powerful war simulation computers in the world? You could become a military programmer and help us make better war games, wouldn't that be fun? Just sign right here. Ooops, you signed on the wrong line, you just vollunteered to be a street level grunt in Iraq for four years, too bad. Hey, got any brothers or sisters?:
posted by fenriq at 5:16 PM on December 1, 2004


Fenriq....nooo noooo... I'm melting, meeelting...
This is a great book that completely outlines the generation of NCLB, from America at Risk, on through the National Reading Panel, and into what we know as No Child Left Behind today, in terms of a English Language Arts perspective.
NCLB was devious and had the best interests of anyone but the chidren in mind right from the start. It is also almost purposefully designed to make even the best schools look like they are failing, clearing the way for vouchers, state subsidized parochial education, and the like.
posted by oflinkey at 5:16 PM on December 1, 2004


oflinkey, Aw geez, now I've gotta retract my disclaimer? Aw shit, I'm gonna be here all night now!

Thanks for the link and info (hmm? link + info = linfo?).
posted by fenriq at 5:20 PM on December 1, 2004


I remember how aggressive the various branches recruiters were in 93, when I signed up. I can, with no stretch of the imagination, see exactly how often they'll call, stop by, or even offer to take a likely candidate out to lunch if they just have their name. Right after I did the ASVAB, I ended up with phone calls from every recruiter in Colorado for months, even after the paperwork was all done.

Military recruiters are slime. They lie, cheat, and mislead to keep their recruitment quotas up, and therefor keep their rather cush jobs.
posted by vevaphon at 5:20 PM on December 1, 2004


Fenriq, when I graduated from high school, I was deluged by recruiters from all branches of the US military (except the Merchant Marine, I guess), who knew that I did sports, etc. And that was in 1982.

I agree that this is a sneaky proviso and they shouldn't have buried it in an enormous, scandalously underfunded response to an incredibly important problem, but I don't share your degree of panic over this.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:22 PM on December 1, 2004


Whew!!!

At least they aren't funding this sort of legislation..
posted by Balisong at 5:23 PM on December 1, 2004


I wouldn't go nuts over this.
But it's still pretty odd to imagine people writing this, thinking it's ok, and saying "let's make it law!" I guess I don't know enough people.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 5:27 PM on December 1, 2004


So fenriq, you teach your kids not to talk to strangers and not take candy from them right? Well, how hard is it to teach them to ignore Sgt. Deathsend's sales pitch?

If your kid is under 18, they can't sign onto anything without your approval anyway.
posted by mathowie at 5:30 PM on December 1, 2004


Isn't there a new outrage out there? My life is too short to get upset again about something I found out a couple years back.

Here's a link to a similar thread that discussed this back in November 2002.
posted by Arch Stanton at 5:32 PM on December 1, 2004




Sorry matt and Arch - was composing & didn't see ya there.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:34 PM on December 1, 2004


There might not be a draft per se, but what's stopping the military from using the information to find the most likely candidates and coerce them into signing up?

So, the problem would be that the military would find good candidates for military service, then offer them a chance to voluntarily join the military? Remind me again why this is so bad....

Maybe I'm just dense, but I really don't get why people are so adamantly opposed to military recruiting. This is isn't anything close to a draft, this is a job fair. The military is just an employer, like Ford, Google, Whole Foods, or any other company. "Recruiting" is just the military's word for what everyone else calls "hiring," and they are simply offering a job to potential employees. Yes, it's a dangerous job. So is coal mining, motorcycle racing, and lion taming. Yes, there are ethical issues about some of the tasks that you may be asked to perform as part of that job. The same would be true if you worked at Genentech, Jack Daniels, or Penthouse. Do we want to stop all of them from recruiting? I sure as hell hope not. I understand that's a little shady to shove this in with No Child Left Behind, but seriously - what's so bad about military recruiting?

[on preview: ok, so it sounds like the recruiters can be pretty underhanded, but that doesn't mean that we need to ban military recruiting entirely, does it? If someone screws up at any other job, do we shut down the entire company?]
posted by rorycberger at 5:37 PM on December 1, 2004


I wanna live in a world run by quonsar.
posted by nightchrome at 5:39 PM on December 1, 2004


Do recruiters really actively try to get law students to join the military?

Yes, where do you think memebers of the JAG Corps come from?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 5:44 PM on December 1, 2004


Not to hijack this thread of very old news but yes, billysumday, the military recruits heavily on law school campuses. The services need tons of lawyers to, for instance, prosecute and defend all the small time crime that happens on base just as it does in any town. And the point of the suit challenging the Solomon amendment was that the Congress was forcing law schools that applied non-discrimination policies to all other employers to not only allow on-campus recruiting, but to provide facilities and services for said recruiting. The consequences of not doing so was to risk all federal funding, not just for a given law school, but for the entire university with which it was affiliated. This amounts to very large sums if you have, say, a big medical school.

On preview: Steve is much more concise.
posted by leecifer at 5:46 PM on December 1, 2004


nightchrome, how about:

Metafilter: holy group necro-bestia-pedo-coprophilic matrimony
posted by blender at 5:47 PM on December 1, 2004


Why is this such a shock? The federal government has long strong armed states this way. Where do you think the nationwide 21 year old drinking age and .08 blood alcohol limit came from? There are always strings attached to federal funding. How else could Washington control things now that they've run out of ways to abuse the Interstate Commerce clause? look at it this way,which would you prefer "No Child Left Unrecruited" or "No Child Left Unconscripted" ? This much ado about nothing.
posted by MikeMc at 6:00 PM on December 1, 2004


Filling the ranks of the Officer Corps of the United States Armed Forces with intelligent and well educated men and women is a responsibility of the Federal Government, fulfilling it's duty to defend and protect the country and it's national interests. This is a vital task.

No school has to allow recruiters on campus, but they need not take subsidies from the government either.

Where do you think the nationwide 21 year old drinking age and .08 blood alcohol limit came from?

It is quite amusing the recent rediscovery of Federalism by some people on the Left™
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 6:07 PM on December 1, 2004


Oh god fuck... This type of stuff makes me want to scour the democratic out of me. Your going to force to go all log cabin and shit.

Please people, at least think about how stupid this makes other progressives look before spouting off like this.

There are plenty of things scary and wrong with the world today. However getting a free pin and a "Go Army" poster during homeroom isn't one of them.

At least they don't force the kids into the armed forces like those other fascist countries.

I place the downfall of the democratic party cleanly at the feet of panicy hippies like ya'all.
posted by PissOnYourParade at 6:13 PM on December 1, 2004


It is quite amusing the recent rediscovery of Federalism by some people on the Left™

Since it got abandoned by the Right, I guess someone had to take it up.
posted by absalom at 6:15 PM on December 1, 2004


vevaphon: Military recruiters are slime. They lie, cheat, and mislead to keep their recruitment quotas up, and therefor keep their rather cush jobs.

My father was an Army recruiter after being wounded in Korea and winning his second Bronze Star. He didn't want the "cush" job, but those were his orders. He was reassigned because he kept turning down applicants he didn't think would survive military life (didn't hurt his career -- he ended up as a CSM). Care to retry your sweeping generalization?
posted by forrest at 6:17 PM on December 1, 2004


Soldier

In the bustle of passing time,
I do not recognize you
filling up the frame of my classroom door
in full-dress uniform, your chiseled jaw

and wall of a chest, only your smirk
seems familiar--then, shocked recognition:
Michael! I want to salute but shake your hand,
instead. While sophomore girls giggle and gawk,

we chat, catch up, and I venture
a critical thought about the war.
Unruffled and almost condescendingly
you tell me that policy is for politicians,

that you can disassemble/assemble/fire any rifle,
self-extract from a mine field, call
in an air strike, lead an ambush, execute
and shout orders like a machine.

After the job is done, you say
you won't be a loser like your old man
who threw ragheads from Hueys
but got his ass kicked by their ghosts

thirty years later. I cough and change
the subject. We laugh about your record
for detentions in a row, and I remember
how you used to come to see me--a scrawny

wounded, angry boy, missing your mother
who fled, or bringing poetry only for me, or
in trouble for leaving a ntoe posted
on your tormentor's locketer, threatening

to kill him. Now you calmly tell me
"Mr. Andersen, I just wanted to thank you
for your support during tough personal times,"
and almost overwhelmed by the urge

to shake you, to scream in your face:
"Look! See how you bought their shirt--
how you let them go and make another soldier
where a man might have been?"

I let myself half-salute, slap you on the shoulder,
and at the final bell dismiss you,
one tough guy to another:
"Hey, Mike--just come home to us alive."

- Jon D. Andersen (high school English teacher, writer, and activist, Willimantic, Connecticut, as seen in the October 2003 edition of The Progressive).
posted by The God Complex at 6:22 PM on December 1, 2004


When are they going to start listening to their parents?

Shortly before he was killed on Nov. 9, Marine Staff Sgt. Russell Slay wrote a letter to his family. In it the 28-year-old Humble resident, anticipating death, said his goodbyes to his young children.

He told his 9-year-old daughter Kinlee that he'll miss her, but that she'll always be his little girl and he'll always watch out for her. To 5-year-old Walker, he offered advice that he hoped would put the boy on a less risky career path.

"Be studious, stay in school and stay away from the military," he wrote. "I mean it."


Now I'm a veteran, a son of a veteran and a grandson of a veteran and stand resolutely behind those in the military executing their lawful commands, but when my daughter and sons are old enough to enlist I hope that I'll have taught them that while recognition of duty is a good thing, there are also characterless politicians (in all parties) who have no compunctions about wrapping themselves in the flag and killing off members of the armed forces in the service of their own ends. And that these loathsome and despicable actions are nothing new and that it's best to find an alternate means of service if they feel that compulsion.
posted by jperkins at 6:31 PM on December 1, 2004


I place the downfall of the democratic party cleanly at the feet of panicy hippies like ya'all.

That's ok. I place the downfall of America at the doorstep of panicky, xenophobic reactionaries, and the death of the Democratic party on the doorsteps of a progressive movement that allowed their only national political outlet to be co-opted by moderate republican elements

And a left wing which increasingly resembles a hydra trying to eat its other heads: "Oh," they say, "what will middle america say if we tell them the truth about what we've become? We need to be measured," while the conservatives rally their base with vile hatred and bring the discourse to its knees.

America the "wackenhut corpa-prison".
posted by The God Complex at 6:31 PM on December 1, 2004


Is that really supposed to be "shirt" in the next-to-last stanza of that poem?
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:34 PM on December 1, 2004


Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

I have comically undermined the poem.

Alas. I should have been working anyway.
posted by The God Complex at 6:36 PM on December 1, 2004


*buys shirt and leaves*
posted by The God Complex at 6:36 PM on December 1, 2004


My school did this all the time.

I was grateful. Even though I didn't sign up.

Get over it. They're public institutions.
posted by BradNelson at 6:55 PM on December 1, 2004


Are we then to conclude that the "left behind" bit in "no child left behind" refers to "left back home" instead of fighting some imperial expansion war?
posted by clevershark at 7:03 PM on December 1, 2004


I don't know about this, but I'd argue the whole federal loan system for college students makes sure the military recruitment machine is well oiled. Not only are you required to register with the SSS but your demographics make you an easy marketing target of the Armed Forces. Of course, if your folks are rich you don't need the loans. Its a very tidy setup.
posted by AlexReynolds at 7:04 PM on December 1, 2004


At least they don't force the kids into the armed forces like those other fascist countries.

You mean fascist countries like Israel? Norway? Greece? Check your links, dude.
posted by clevershark at 7:07 PM on December 1, 2004


I don't know about this, but I'd argue the whole federal loan system for college students makes sure the military recruitment machine is well oiled.

Then again once you get into college you can, in a single weekend, make yourself ineligible for service just on the narcotics clause :-)
posted by clevershark at 7:08 PM on December 1, 2004


Get over it. They're public institutions.

In the same society that won't air "Saving Private Ryan" uncensored because of the graphic content but has no qualms about letting recruiters at high school students the next day while repeating the refrain, "they knew what they signed up for!"
posted by jperkins at 7:19 PM on December 1, 2004


How else could Washington control things now that they've run out of ways to abuse the Interstate Commerce clause?

Oh, I don't know about that. I've got a feeling they'll come up with a few more before the fat lady sings.

And really -- come on, people. You send your kids to a school run by the government and then you complain about indoctrination? Please tell me that this is just political posturing and that you folks aren't really that naive. You've never heard of Channel One? Sun Myung Moon's after-school programs? You lie down with dogs, you're going to get up with fleas.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 7:23 PM on December 1, 2004


Then again once you get into college you can, in a single weekend, make yourself ineligible for service just on the narcotics clause :-)

I think you mean that you will make yourself ineligible for student loans.

The Armed Forces will happily draft drug addicts. They hand out amphetamines to their jets pilots and drop psychological agents on forests. Drugs are an important part of the military operation.
posted by AlexReynolds at 7:37 PM on December 1, 2004


Its also an excuse to create a new database to "track' college students.

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/11/30/us_eyes_collection_of_college_student_data/

The idea, proposed by a research wing of the Department of Education, is designed to improve federal oversight of students' enrollment rates, graduation rates, and tuition. Currently, that information is provided only in summary form by universities, leaving gaps in national college statistics. When students transfer from one college to another, for example, they show up in the federal rolls as dropouts.

Now, however, there is a movement in Washington, particularly among Republicans, to demand greater accountability from universities in exchange for the federal support they provide. After the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, which uses testing to hold primary and secondary schools accountable for student performance, ''a lot of folks in Washington began to ask, 'Do we have a good idea of what we are getting for our investment in higher education?'" said Travis J. Reindl, director of state policy analysis at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

posted by clubfoote at 8:15 PM on December 1, 2004


My take on this not-new information, in bulleted outline form:

Recruitment is not conscription.

* You can say no to a recruiter
* A recruiter can say no to you.

Your contact information is not your signature.

* If you don't want to join the military, the recruiter will not waste multiple contacts on you.
* If you want to join the military, the recruiter has to decide whether you'd make a good solider, sailor, airman, or marine before recruiting you.

People know what they are signing up for.
* Everything is in writing.

Recruiters do not prey upon poor people.
* To suggest that a recruiter talking to a poor person is predation implies that poor people are more easily fooled.
* Well-to-do, middle class people are less likely to want to talk to a recruiter. This is the way of things. There are exceptions, like my brother.
* Recruiters prefer smart people with good phsyiques. These people can be rich or poor.

Unrelated thought: Recruitment at a time of peace is OK with me. Recruitment during a war people support is also OK with me. Recruitment during a war people don't support doesn't seem like a good idea.... but then again it doesn't seem like a productive venture for the government, either, since signing up is still voluntary, and people who don't support it will certainly not sign up.
posted by bugmuncher at 8:34 PM on December 1, 2004


IsmaelGraves, you make it sound like they educate our kids for free. They are paid to do it, we pay them and then they come in and try to send them off to a stupid war based on a lie so that some smelly old white jerkoffs can see their bank accounts swell even larger?

It bothers me that these antonymically named acts are sort of just given a pass. The Patriot Act is anything but patriotic, the Clean Skies Act has little to do with cleaning the air, No Child Left Behind leaves millions of children behind, underfunds their schools, further depresses areas and is able to cull great numbers of desperate recruits, desperate to escape the poverty their own government has consigned them into.

It bothers me that more people aren't pissed off by all of these erosions of our rights. The right to privacy was once sacrosanct, now its a screen door. You now have no right to believe that the extra click on your phone line wasn't an FBI tap, you know, just checking on how good a citizen you are.

Is it a paranoid? Yeah, maybe but I'd rather be paranoid and keep my eyes open than dance around with my eyes snapped shut shaking my boo-tay to the latest teen tartlet's tune.

And if it is all that innocuous, then why bury it in a completely seemingly unrelated act? Why put it in NCLB at all? Why not put it right into the Patriot Act? Why hide it inside an act publicly intended to help create better futures for children, not send them to war?

I am probably over reacting, I've been under some stress lately, terror alerts, flying, security checks, commuting, life. But things like this bear airing and bear passing the news around about.

On Preview: bugmuncher, honest recruitment? No, I don't mind. Dishonest and underhanded and behind the back recruitment? Yeah, I do mind it. I mind feeling taken advantage of, even if I haven't been.
posted by fenriq at 8:47 PM on December 1, 2004


The federal government provides very little funding for schools at the local level (much less than 10% in the school district I deal with). For them to put such demands on the money is tantamount to the guy who comes into a big retail store, buys a coffee once every week or so but nothing else, and then complains that you'll lose his money if you don't meet his demands.
posted by drezdn at 9:04 PM on December 1, 2004


The federal government provides very little funding for schools at the local level (much less than 10% in the school district I deal with). For them to put such demands on the money is tantamount to the guy who comes into a big retail store, buys a coffee once every week or so but nothing else, and then complains that you'll lose his money if you don't meet his demands.

Yeah, that's nice and all, but Bush has a mandate.
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:18 PM on December 1, 2004


Being 21, I probably graduated high school more recently than a lot of people here. At my large, well-funded public high school we had military recruiters with tables set up at the lunchroom entry probably once a month. And for the entire four years I was there I didn't speak so much as a word to them. I simply wasn't interested. Plenty of other kids were, and many of them enlisted. Good for them, I say- the primary job of the high school system is to prepare kids for either higher education and job placement, and being in the military right out of high school is better paying and more secure than any of the jobs I've had since then. Plenty of kids are interested in the military, and allowing recruiters in the school gives them an opportunity to look into that particular vocation.

> The same would be true if you worked at Genentech, Jack Daniels, or Penthouse

Is Jack Daniels recruiting by chance?
posted by baphomet at 9:29 PM on December 1, 2004


Eh.
My school did the same thing years before No Child.
The people that were interested went. The kids that weren't didn't.
My school also provided all the same information to every college that wanted to do recruiting.
-ajb
posted by madajb at 9:54 PM on December 1, 2004


Rather than being upset that your kid's name is being given to the military, I'd be much more concerned that his future is being mortgaged and his prospects at improving his standard of living aren't very good unless he either joins the military or goes into serious debt.

To make the military attractive, you either have to compete directly with the private sector in terms of salaries and benefits -- or -- raise the bar so that entering the private sector and obtaining a well-paying job (where you're doing something other than donning a paper hat) is increasingly difficult. In other words, institute economic policies that aggressively put the squeeze on the middle class and actively promote the military as the "way out" for children of the working poor.
posted by mstefan at 9:54 PM on December 1, 2004


* If you don't want to join the military, the recruiter will not waste multiple contacts on you.

I wish the recruiter who hounded me for months had had your bulleted list. I could have saved both of us the time and aggravation by simply pointing out that entry. Seriously, I've had cultists who knew I was interested in hearing their beliefs recruit me less aggressively than the air force.

(Note to people who can't get a recruiter to go away: telling them you died is a good way to get them off your case. "Hello, is Josh there?" "No, I'm sorry, I died last week.")
posted by hades at 10:46 PM on December 1, 2004


Optionally you can use the Army recruiter mercilessly. Make him buy you lunch, drive you around, use him as an alibi, amuse yourself by hashing over your contract for long hours dragging guarantees out of him only to end the session when he refuses to guarantee you a personal driver.

Use early and often the phrases: "Your busting my balls here Sgt. Deathsend."
"I wasn't born yesterday, either."
"So are you gonna talk to me, or are we just gonna keep bullshitting each other?"

Bring a game boy. Make sure you have someone who can pick you up. Work out an improv routine with your troop around the Sgt. Pretend you have competing offers from the CIA or Mafia.

Then move on the the Navy, Marine and Air Force recruiters.

Slipping this into "No Child Left Behind" is irritating for a number of reasons.
If there's a draft though I'll oppose it blood, tooth and nail.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:55 PM on December 1, 2004


when I was a sophmore in high school 1970 ROTC was a mandatory subject It smelt of facsim to me and gave me the same creepy feeling that the locked in the gym, mandatory, pep rallies instilled. groupthink. and I guess it really is preparation for "real life"...
posted by hortense at 12:06 AM on December 2, 2004


Isn't equating the ethical dilemmas involved in producing alcohol or soft-core pornography to those involved in being trained to kill human beings a little bit dismissive?

To suggest that a recruiter talking to a poor person is predation implies that poor people are more easily fooled.

Bugmuncher: it implies that poor people, in that they are desperate, are more likely to swallow a deal they know is raw -- not out of ignorance, but because it so often feels like there's no other option. That is not an autonomous choice. In any case, recruiting techniques that fool folks are immoral no matter how poor (or rich) the fool.
posted by onshi at 12:26 AM on December 2, 2004


People know what they are signing up for.
* Everything is in writing.


Dude, if that were true, there would be no such things as scams, or gambling, or credit card debt. Nobody has a fucking clue what they're getting themselves into, ever. Especially with the military.

You might say that people are stupid for not knowing what they're getting into, and I'd agree with you. But you have to understand that saying "they should have known what they were getting into" isn't at all equivalent to "they did know what they were getting into".
posted by breath at 12:41 AM on December 2, 2004


Not that long ago, when I was in high school about once every three weeks we'd have a 'special guest speaker' come in to talk to us, a military recruiter. The recruiters had the run of of the school, stopping kids in the hall, they'd walk into the middle of class and just take over whenever they wanted to, it was ridiculous.
posted by nulledge at 3:02 AM on December 2, 2004


So this means that public secondary schools are required to support organizations that practice discrimination...since they are required to provide military recruiters with access to their facilities, and the military discriminates against homosexuals.

Great.
posted by Vidiot at 3:12 AM on December 2, 2004


(by the way, welcome bugmuncher!)
posted by Vidiot at 3:19 AM on December 2, 2004


So this means that public secondary schools are required to support organizations that practice discrimination...since they are required to provide military recruiters with access to their facilities, and the military discriminates against homosexuals.

Well, take that up with Congress. . . I would say that the civilian government is much more conservative on that issue than the actual military. But we do what Congress tells us to usually because of military subordinate to civilian.

Look, I disliked the military intensely growing up, and I took an ASVAB because everyone took the ASVAB. And when they called up to talk to me, they did take me out to lunch, and all that stuff. And I eventually even signed up considering I really wasn't sure if I could work my way through college and all that. It wasn't that they were even sneaky, they just presented a deal, and after abandoning some of the ideas I had before, I took it.

I'm glad I took it. I like what I do now, and though I sometimes chafe at some of the policies of the military, I consider it a worthwhile spending of life for me. I convinced my brother to even join because I felt that it would best for him and now he's learning to be a Sonar Tech. I wouldn't say I preempted his choice, only that I strongly encouraged an alternative that he wasn't looking at before. In the end, he took it.

It isn't that bad. On the Navy side of the house, which I know of, there is a strong pull to get more and more educated recruits because of the strong technical needs of the modern fleet. We need people without college degrees to operate reactors, act as nurses, manage the paperwork of the service, so we can't just accept everyone. A lot of times, armed with the right information, they can even advocate a job which that person might even like and be decent at learning. I mean, how else do you propose keeping the recruiting for the armed forces?
posted by Lord Chancellor at 4:59 AM on December 2, 2004


I don't like this, but I don't think it's really anything new; my husband was hassled by recruiters 15 years ago. He finally got them to stop calling by saying he wanted to major in interpretive dance. And thanks to don't ask don't tell, you can always "out" yourself, no?
posted by emjaybee at 6:34 AM on December 2, 2004


Color me ignorant, but I had always assumed that military recruiters were part and parcel of public schools. Hunh.

Either way, I can't work up a proper froth over this. We had recruiters at our high school, people took the ASVAB, they called me a few times, beable beable beable. I just said "no thank you" politely and that was it. Recruiters badgered my more athletic friends but they also refused, if they weren't interested. So they worked in the private sector to pay for college. And then our salutatorian went to Annapolis because he wanted to. He certainly could have afforded other options.

I really don't see much of a problem with this, aside from the federal intrusion itself which I find objectionable on general principle. And yes, I was a Lefty Federalist™ even before we lost the election!

Now, the ends to which the military are being used currently, on the other hand...
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:35 AM on December 2, 2004


I agree with most of you who say this is nothing new and a kid can always say "No." Except the last line of the article bothers me:

"The only thing that will get us to stop contacting the family is if they call their congressman," says Major Johannes Paraan, head U.S. Army recruiter for Vermont and northeastern New York. "Or maybe if the kid died, we'll take them off our list."

So as the parent of an underage kid, apparently they can ignore your wishes as well as the wishes of the target child. If they are this openly aggressive in a new story, I can only imagine how aggressive they are in real life.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:57 AM on December 2, 2004


hades,

Did you tell the recruiter you didn't want to join? I think that would be a way to get him or her to stop attempting to recruit you...

(I knew I should have included some qualifier about an indefinite number of solicitations until they know you don't want to join. I was also thinking of qualifying that other recruiters may not be in the same loop and won't know you already told one recruiter you're not interested)

I eventually told the recruiters talking to me in high school that I had a rich grandfather.

breath,

You are correct.... but then again if you and I both agree that someone who doesn't read what they're signing is stupid... maybe the military won't want them, either. I can't think of anyone that would want to entrust a mission's success to Pvt. Stupid.

vidiot,

Wow. good point.

All the more reason for the breaking up of public schools and the elimination of compulsory education! (runs, hides his public school-educated self)
posted by bugmuncher at 7:13 AM on December 2, 2004


Marine recruiters - I enlisted during my senior year of high school, 1992. The recruiters were at the school once a week, which was affluent, North Dallas location. They weren't particularly aggressive....at first. Upon hearing that I was interested, they gave me some information and asked permission to contact me at home. I granted that, talked to my parents.

They then asked for permission to meet with my folks to talk more about the service.

The pressure really started after I did processing/physical/ASVAB testing. There were weekly "poolee" meetings for the high school kids who were planning on shipping to boot camp after high school. This was mostly physical training and general motivational propaganda. They want to keep kids motivated, because the attention span of a 17 year old can waver. They'd call if I missed a meeting wondering what was up. Sometimes they'd stop by the hardware store I worked in after school. When I blew out my knee, they were pretty concerned about me, and they were visibly annoyed when it turned out they had to release me on a medical and I was unable to ship to boot camp.

Recruiters do not want recruits who do not want to be there. They want recruits to be informed, and they want them to look forward to the service.

Aggressive recruiting is nothing new. And if you tell a recruiter, plainly and simply, "No," then he will not waste his time trying to sell you on the service. Don't blame these guys for doing their jobs. If they have a list to call, fine. Just say no if you're not interested. Trust me, they'll stop.

Also - it may be a "cush" assignment, but it's usually a very short one. Recruiters are rotated pretty regularly back into their units - I believe (at least for the Marine Corps, anyway) that recruiting duty is required for promotion to particular ranks at some point, but I could be wrong about that.
posted by TeamBilly at 7:30 AM on December 2, 2004


rorycberger, the one difference I see is that if, after accepting a job offer from, say, Wal Mart, the 18-year-old kid finds out he was lied to (or even misled) by the recruiter, he can just quit. That option isn't there with the military.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:21 AM on December 2, 2004


He also stands a reasonable chance of not being shot to death working at WalMart (and he'll likely barely notice the slow soul sucking).
posted by fenriq at 11:50 AM on December 2, 2004


Isn't equating the ethical dilemmas involved in producing alcohol or soft-core pornography to those involved in being trained to kill human beings a little bit dismissive?

Ok, but isn't ignoring my third example in that string (Genentech) also dismissive?

I'm all for genetic research but it's hard to deny that there are some serious ethical issues with things like cloning, genetic enhancement, etc. Another example would be health insurance: if you are the guy who decides if people get coverage or not, you could definitely be responsible for people living or dying. Not to mention the doctors, who have to turn away uninsured patients all the time. Or public defense attorneys, who may be forced to defend clients that they know are guilty. There are many jobs out there that require these kinds of decisions every day, being a soldier is just one of them. Also, I don't mean to be dismissive about killing people - that's certainly not something that I could do, which is why I would never sign up for the military - I just think that there are many such jobs that require a certain type of person with certain morals and values to be able to do such unpleasant things, and the military should have the right to try and find the best people to do this particular job.

rorycberger, the one difference I see is that if, after accepting a job offer from, say, Wal Mart, the 18-year-old kid finds out he was lied to (or even misled) by the recruiter, he can just quit. That option isn't there with the military.

That is definitely an interesting point, and a bit of a hole in my argument. However, I doubt any recruiters are telling kids "Just try it for a month and see if you like it..." When you sign up for the military, you know that this is a binding contract. When you sign up for Wal-Mart, you do so with the assumption that you can quit anytime. Note that this isn't the case for all jobs, as many people are forced to sign legally binding contracts when they are employed. Again, this is something that should factor into your decision to take a job or not. Finally, as others mentioned, if you were really desperate, you could always "out" yourself if you want a quick discharge due to all of the "don't ask, don't tell" nonsense.

He also stands a reasonable chance of not being shot to death working at WalMart (and he'll likely barely notice the slow soul sucking).

At Wal-Mart, sure. But at the 7-11 around the corner...
posted by rorycberger at 12:14 PM on December 2, 2004


"It's a cookbook recruiting manual!"
posted by kindall at 12:22 PM on December 2, 2004


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