NOW Home Page
Home
Politics & Economy
Science & Health
Arts & Culture
Society & Community
Discussion
TV Schedule
Newsletter
For Educators
Archive
Topic Index
Search:
Toy Soldier
9.17.04
Society and Community
Reading, Writing, Recruitment
More on This Story:
The New Recruitment

It is not a surprising confluence of events — opinion polls show support for the Iraq War waning and military recruiters working harder to fill their quotas. In November, 2005, the Government Accountability Office released a study which showed, "the military is falling far behind in its effort to recruit and re-enlist soldiers for some of the most vital combat positions in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Military recruiters have been facing additional challenges in 2005. There have been a number of news stories critical of recruiting practices in the past few months; stories with titles like "Army Recruiters Say They Feel Pressure to Bend Rules," and "How Far Will Army Recruiters Go?" Two highly publicized cases came to light over the summer in which recruiters apparently broke a number of rules or used undue pressure on young people. But that's not the whole story; another headline tells the tale of the battle over recruitment in the schools, "Growing Problem for Military Recruiters: Parents."

No Child Left Behind

Critics of military recruiting on high school campuses are especially troubled by the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, which altered The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. The act requires schools receiving public funding to provide directory information on all students to military recruiters who request it. Military recruiters thus have access to the same type of information as institutions of higher education. Parents must formally "opt-out" to keep their contact information, and their child's, out of military recruiter's hands. Some school districts and parent teacher groups have taken on this disclosure rule. Others have gone as far as barring recruiters from school property — potentially opening up a legal battle similar to that over recruiting on college campuses that is now in front of the Supreme Court.

There has long been an accepted military presence on American high school campuses. The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) has had a place in many American high schools since 1916 — in 1964, the ROTC Vitalization Act of 1964, directed each military service to establish and maintain JROTC units for their respective services. Supporters of high school recruiting say that the military offers a valuable career and education choice for high school students.

The June 2005 issue of HARPER'S MAGAZINE published some excerpts from a high school recruiting manual. Among the instructions: "Contact the seniors in the early spring. The end of their lives as high school students is approaching fast. This is the time reality sets in. For some it is clear that college is not an option. If you can make the appointment for a sales presentation on the first contact, then do so." The manual suggests frequent re-contacting of students throughout their high school years. (Read the manual online.)

Today's critics of stepped-up high school recruiting and the dissemination of student information say that young people shouldn't be subjected to such a "hard sell" from the military. And, as critics have noted for decades, the appeal of military service and its educational perks is disproportionately appealing to the financially needy — so the dangers of military service may fall harder on the lower classes.





Government Bodies and other Organizations

Coalition Against Militarism in Schools
Advocacy group opposed to recruiting in schools.

Department of Defense
The Department of Defense's official Web site publishes daily casualty reports. The site also provides official news reports from the Iraq and Afghan operations and issues a daily press release.

Department of Education, "The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act"
Details on the law governing the release of school records and family contact information.

Military Personnel: DOD Needs Action Plan to Address Enlisted Personnel Recruitment and Retention Challenges, GAO-06-134, November 17, 2005
Report from the Government Accountability Office. The "GAO found that the components offered financial incentives to servicemembers in consistently overfilled occupational specialties." The report also notes that the Department of Defense "lacks the information needed to provide assurance to the Secretary of Defense, Congress, and the taxpayer that the increasing amount of funding spent on recruiting and retention is appropriately and effectively targeted to occupational specialties."

Leave My Child Alone
Advocacy group opposed to the release of information through the No Child Left Behind Act.

National Priorities Project
Find out the number of new military recruits in 2004 coming from any U.S. high school, county, zip code and state. Get analysis with tables and charts explaining who these recruits are in terms of income levels, race/ethnicity and more.

United States Army, Junior ROTC
Web site for The United States Army's Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps, or JROTC.

U.S. Army Recruiting Command G5
The G5 Directorate executes public affairs, local advertising, partnerships and outreach programs to support all U.S. Army recruiting objectives. The staff directs programs in the areas of public and command information and community relations, and provides policy and guidance to 46 subordinate advertising and public affairs offices that support nearly 1,700 recruiting stations nationwide.

Recent articles about recruiting

"Army Recruiters Say They Feel Pressure to Bend Rules"
Damien Cave, May 3, 2005, THE NEW YORK TIMES

"Court Eyes Military Recruiting Law"
CBS News, May 2, 2005, Report on The Supreme Court's upcoming case on whether colleges and universities may bar military recruiters from their campuses without fear of losing federal funds.

"Growing Problem for Military Recruiters: Parents"
Damien Cave, THE NEW YORK TIMES, June 3, 2005

"Hardball Recruiter Gets Promoted"
CBS News, July 14, 2005, "Correspondent Lee Cowan updates for CBSNews.com a recent story about an Army recruiter accused of questionable tactics."

"How Far Will Army Recruiters Go?,"
CBS News, May 2, 2005

"High Court to Hear Case on Military Recruiting"
Kelly Field, THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, May 13, 2005

"Realities of recruitment,"
THE MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, June 27, 2004

"Vital Military Jobs Go Unfilled, Study Says,"
Damien Cave, NEW YORK TIMES, November 18, 2005

"Youths in Rural U.S. Are Drawn To Military,"
Ann Scott Tyson, THE WASHINGTON POST, November 4, 2005

Jimmy Massey

Former Army recruiter Jimmy Massey is interviewed about recruiting practices in NOW's report.

"The Recuiter's War"
Michael Bronner, VANITY FAIR, September 2005

"Is Jimmy Massey Telling the Truth about Iraq?"
Ron Harris, ST LOUIS POST DISPATCH, November 5, 2005

"Is Ron Harris Telling the Truth?"
Jimmy Massey, Counterpunch, November 10, 2005

Did Former Marine Jimmy Massey Lie About U.S. Military Atrocities in Iraq? A Debate Between Massey and Embedded Reporter Ron Harris
Transcript of a debate heard on DEMOCRACY NOW.

Additional Sources: READERS COMPANION TO MILITARY HISTORY



Related Stories:

about feedback pledge © JumpStart Productions. All rights reserved.