Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Countermessage to Military Recruiters

This should be the norm at public schools across the country. According to the Metro Times, the Detroit school board recently approved allowing a nonprofit group to present a countermessage to the one delivered by military recruiters:
Finding Alternatives to Military Enlistment (FAME) believes it should have equal time as the military to have displays, speeches and other recruiting methods in schools. The federal No Child Left Behind Act contains a provision requiring public school districts to help recruiters reach students.

"We would just like permission to get into the schools and have access to the students and give them the truths that the military isn't giving them" says Jen Teed, one of FAME's founders. "They need to understand what they're getting into."
Absolutely. Enlisting in the military is a life-altering decision and it's one that shouldn't be made until all questions have been answered and alternatives discussed. "This is not meant to cast disparity on the military. It's to present alternatives," said Tyrone Winfrey, who chairs the board's committee on academic achievement and curriculum development

The F.A.M.E. website states they're committed to providing clear and accurate information so that youth can make informed and consensual decisions about their lives and military service; countering prevalent misinformation about the benefits of joining the military, compared to civilian opportunities; and ending the "“economic draft" by helping youth find educational and employment resources.

I'm sure the Bush administration isn't happy that FAME or similar groups exist, but our youth deserve to know the small print details before they put their lives on the line. What kind of details? From the FAME website:
If you sign up for a 15 month enlistment, how long can the military keep you in service?

a. Fifteen months
b. Eight years
c. As long as 35 years

The incredible never ending enlistment contract; the correct answer is C. They can keep you as long as they want to.
I doubt many recruiters offer that nugget of information unsolicited.


expatbrian said...

Excellent post. You are so right that military service is life altering, most commonly that is a negative alteration. There is a long list of "surprises" in store for the enlistee once he has signed the papers and none of them are good. Young people who are considering the military, even as just a temporary stint, need to talk to recently released soldiers, not recruiters, to get a true take on what it's like.

Lew Scannon said...

The economic draft is right, the children of the working and poor people are buzzed by recruiters, while the other children wait to take their place in the corpocracy.

Anonymous said...

While on the DetNews blog last year, I wrote about this. (Read it here) The "No Child Left Behind" law also provides that parents can "opt-out" and notify the school that their child's info is not to be turned over to recruiters. Follow the link for an opt-out form.

abi said...

"Economic draft" is exactly what our "all-volunteer" military is.

I can't think of any reason why No Child Left Behind should even have such a provision -- except that without it, this administration would have zero interest in whether kids were being left behind or not.

Kvatch said...

Too true. One serves at the pleasure of the military once in.

Very laudable...getting an accurate message into the hands of the kids.

Kathy said...

Expat, nice to hear from you. How is life treating you overseas? Sorry I haven't stopped by lately. I promise to in the near future.

Mayor, thanks for the link. It's nice to know parents can opt-out, but I doubt that fact is widely advertised in our high schools. (That's just my guess.) IMHO, that form should be sent to student's homes at the beginning of each school year.

Lew and Abi, the Bush administration is responsible for our lousy economy and anemic job growth. One might jump to the conclusion that it was intentional so they could recruit more poor people. Nah...that would imply they knew what they were doing, and we all know that's not the case.

Everyone, I hope to change over to the new version of blogger later this week. Wish me luck!