Back in 2007, Mother Jones reported on Maryland’s Joppatowne High School, the first school in the country to offer a homeland security curriculum. Today, the L.A. Times reports on nearby Meade High School, which started a similar four-year program this year. According to the article, areas of study include Islamic jihadism, nuclear arms, cyber-crime, and domestic militias. But that’s not all:
New themes even were added to their science, social studies and English classes.
"There's a lot of homeland security issues in 'Romeo and Juliet,' " said Bill Sheppard, the program coordinator. "Like, how do you deal with infiltration in your own family?"
Cringe. Aside from these tortured efforts to give everything a security spin, here’s what bugs me: The L.A. Times describes Meade as a “long-troubled public high school.” According to the website Public School Review, almost a third of Meade’s 2,150 students qualify for free or reduced lunch, and its graduation rate is just 82 percent, lower than the district average. The program’s website says part of its mission is to give students skills they need to “seek employment and/or postsecondary education in the homeland security career field.” I just can’t imagine a well-off school justifying what is essentially a political agenda with the promise of jobs. And it’s working. To wit:
"This course will help me get a top-secret security clearance," said Darryl Bagley, an eager 15-year-old. "That way I can always get a job."
Sort of chilling, right?