The journey from there to here
Published on May 13, 2005 By Gideon MacLeish In Politics

I pulled the following information off of another website. I'll let you read it, then I'll make my comments.

Buried deep within the No Child Left Behind Act is a provision that requires public high schools to hand over private student information to military recruiters. The purpose of this invasion of family privacy is to allow minor students to be recruited at home by telephone calls, mail and personal visits. If a school does not comply, it risks losing vital federal education funds. The only way to keep your children’s contact information from military recruiters, is to submit an “opt-out” letter in writing to your school district’s superintendent.

 

Now here's the surprise; I'm not going to go on a horrid rant about this (although I have SERIOUS problems about the WHOLE of NCLB, not just this portion, that's a topic for another article). Frankly, the only thing this brings about is gender equity in military recruiting. Men are REQUIRED to register with the Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday (while I don't agree with the idea of the draft, I won't challenge its constitutionality, as the right to raise an army IS allowable). This just brings their female counterparts into the picture, as the selective service information is readily available to recruiters.

But the chief reason I don't have a problem with this is that there IS an opt out. You CAN write your school's superintendent and have your child's name removed (for that matter, if the whole district is against it, they CAN refuse federal funds; no law says they HAVE to take them; again a subject for another article).

I do, however, believe that parents should be aware of this provision so they can make an educated decision. And that is why this was posted.


Comments
on May 13, 2005
I agree that it's helpful for parents that they can opt out of this, but I'm sure that few school districts are informing parents of that right, for whatever reason. I personally will be opting out for my own kids (when they're old enough for this to be relevant), because I can remember military recruiters coming to my house to talk to my younger brother when they knew my dad was working (single dad). It always bothered me that they chose to do that, given that my brother was like 16 at the time. If any other stranger adult showed up at the door and expected to be let in to an apartment where two teenagers were the only people home, the community would have been up in arms, but in that case, because it was someone in the military, it was okay.
on May 13, 2005
I agree that this definately is not right for them to be doing. I've heard about this before too Gideon and I think it's sneaky. Given that parents are not aware of this, why is that? If a child is not old enough to drink or do other things without his/her parents consent, why should this be different?

on May 13, 2005
First ... If the recruiters want the info they will get it somewhere else. If they want you they find you.

Second ... If you take the ASVAB you are screwed. I took it and did quite well. (Well that isn't saying much because if the room full of morons that I was with were all that were taking it I should have been higher than top 5%) I had recruiter showing up on my door step. I even considered the Navy. Had the recruiter in my living room. Like a good geek though I am allergic to a lot of stuff. He didn't want me. But that doesn't mean I stopped getting mail daily from these guys, or phone calls, or surprise visits.

My point is... They will find you even if you opt out.
on May 13, 2005
Great Article Gid!! Thanks for doing the job of informing us that the press is too lazy and incompetent to do themselves.

While I have nothing against Military Recruiting at High Schools or Recuiters in general. I do have a problem with the No Child Left Behind Act. Should schools turn private information about students to recuiters? That sounds like a policy question to me; last I checked, school policies and procedures were the job of school administrators and school boards... not the Fed.

Personally, I don't see any difference between schools turning private information about students over to Military Recruiters, Colleges, Tech Schools or any other third party. Either the records are private or they are not. However, what a school does, and how private it keeps its records should be between the local school officials, parents and students.
on May 13, 2005

Should schools turn private information about students to recuiters? That sounds like a policy question to me; last I checked, school policies and procedures were the job of school administrators and school boards... not the Fed.

Actually, what schools refuse to acknowledge is that they CAN opt out...it simply means surrendering federal funds. But because school districts have become far too accustomed to feeding from the federal trough, they won't.

That's the real issue in this arena (and, I'm beginning to think, on NCLB in general)...if we stop feeding from the federal trough, we MIGHT get some of our states' rights BACK!

on May 13, 2005
My point is... They will find you even if you opt out.


That is really beside the point. The point is that the school should NOT be required to provide PRIVATE information about their students.

If a student takes the test that's different. They are offering their information freely. There's a HUGE difference there.
on May 13, 2005
Sorry, feeling a bit slow again. What private information is being shared? I didn't think public schools had any information about my child that was really private.
on May 13, 2005
Hmm, decided to look for myself. Here's what I found:

"The law, passed in 2001, took effect in January 2002. Under Section 9528 of the legislation, "each local educational agency receiving assistance under this act shall provide, on a request made by military recruiters or an institution of higher education, access to secondary-school students' names, addresses and telephone listings.

"Each local educational agency receiving assistance under this act shall provide military recruiters the same access to secondary-school students as is provided generally to post-secondary educational institutions or to prospective employers of those students," the code section continues."


I see names, addresses, and telephone listings, at the same level of access as is provided to colleges and prospective employers. Information that is already shared with colleges and prospective employers doesn't sound all that "private" to me. Sounds like they just want the same breaks that colleges and employment recruiters get.

This info is already printed in the student directory of my child's school. IS this really private information?
on May 14, 2005

Baker,

You DO understand that my position is NOT against this law, right? Just to make sure we're clear that you're pressing your point against respondents and not against my post. The thing people don't realize anyway is that this changes NOTHING for men; we are required to register for  the selective service, as you are well aware, who have had this information for years. If anything, it gives women "equal rights" by making their information equally accessible.

And anyway, it provides an "opt out". Any law that includes an "opt out" such as this is not one that someone could reasonably consider a violation of their privacy. If you refuse to be vigilant in the protection of your rights, I can't honestly feel sorry for you if they're violated.

Thanks for the backup, baker

on May 14, 2005
Yes, I saw that you weren't protesting it. I think the quoted section and responses to your blog begged clarification that this information really isn't private, unless there was more here than was being reported. Not to say that there isn't, but I couldn't find anything.
on May 14, 2005
Not to say that there isn't, but I couldn't find anything.


Nor could I. And, being the "privacy rights junkie" that I am, if I can't find anything wrong with it, I have a strong feeling the flap is "much ado about nothing".
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