[fla-left] [militarism] Military May Get High School Access (fwd)

Michael Hoover hoov at SPAMfreenet.tlh.fl.us
Tue May 16 11:08:48 MDT 2000

> MAY 12, 01:33 EDT
> Military May Get High School Access
> Associated Press Writer
> WASHINGTON (AP) - Alarmed by declining recruitments, the Senate is moving
> toward requiring public schools to give military recruiters the same access
> to high schools that colleges and the private sector
> now enjoy.
> The Pentagon estimates that approximately 2,000 public high schools have
> policies that bar military recruiters from one or more of the services.
> Included in a $310 billion defense bill expected to be debated in the full
> Senate later this month is a provision designed to help the Pentagon turn
> around declining enlistments by giving service recruiters more access to
> high school students.
> ``Most schools provide their school directory to companies who sell rings,
> caps and gowns and yearbooks,'' said Sen. Tim Hutchinson, R-Ark., the
> principal sponsor. ``This language will simply level the playing field
> between the military, college recruiters and representatives from private
> industry.''
> It has bipartisan support on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which
> adopted it unanimously this week. But there is no such provision pending in
> the House, and the measure is opposed by organizations representing local
> school boards and administrators.
> ``We believe this is a local school district matter, and not appropriate
> for the federal government,'' said Reggie Felton, director of federal
> relations for the National School Boards Association.
> The measure would make it illegal for public high schools to discriminate
> against military recruiters if those high schools allow private-sector and
> college representatives on campus.
> It also require military recruiters be given the same access to ``student
> lists and directory information'' that is extended to colleges and private
> companies.
> ``Lack of access to high school students is the biggest problem faced by
> military recruiters,'' Hutchinson said.
> The only way to keep the military out would be if the local school board
> took a specific vote to deny them access to the school.
> As originally proposed, the legislation would have denied federal education
> funds to schools that violate the proposed law.
> However, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and several other Senate
> Democrats objected strenuously, and that provision was removed.
> The fight really isn't so much about recruiting in high schools but ``over
> access to students' names and addresses,'' suggested Bruce Hunter, a
> spokesman for the American Association of School Administrators.
> He said while only a relatively small number of high schools physically bar
> military recruiters from their campuses, ``there's a huge number of school
> districts that don't give names to anybody.''
> Hunter said deleting the funds cutoff provision improved the legislation
> but that whether to allow military recruiters into a high school ``should
> be a community decision.''
> Lt. Col. Catherine Abbott, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said the military
> services have been ``working very hard to get access to the high schools''
> but that it is often difficult.
> With year after year of declines in military recruitments - blamed in part
> on the strong economy and the availability of higher-paying private sector
> jobs - the military has sweetened its enlistment packages.
> In many cases, enlistment bonuses of $5,000 or more are offered. The
> Pentagon also has a program under which it will help recruits pay for two
> years of college in advance of military service.
> ``Young people deserve to know all the options available to them,'' said
> Hutchinson, who said many school administrators exhibit ``an anti-military
> bias.''
> The provision was included in a bill authorizing Defense Department
> programs for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.
> Last year all military services except the Marine Corps failed to meet
> their recruiting goals.
> Through March 2000, Pentagon figures show, the Army, Navy and Marine Corps
> were on track to meet their recruitment goals for the year, but the Air
> Force was meeting only 83 percent of its goal.
> Legislation in both chambers would give the military a 3.7 percent
> across-the-board pay increase next year - following a 4.8 percent increase
> in military pay that took effect last January.
> According to the Armed Services Committee, last year there were 4,515
> specific cases of denial of high school access to Army recruiters, 4,364
> instances of denial for the Navy; 4,884 cases of denial for the Marine
> Corps; and 5,465 instances for the Air Force.
>     ---
> On the Net:
> Senate Armed Services Committee: http://www.senate.gov/~armed-services/
> National School Boards Association: http://www.nsba.org/about/index.htm

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