Young people who choose to serve in the armed services deserve our thanks. But all too often the choice to enlist isn't rooted in patriotism. Rather, it's a decision that's made when a teenager has few other options. And it doesn't help that military recruiters have infiltrated public schools in order to convince kids as young as 15 to join up instead of go to college.
David Goodman examines the intersection between military recruiting and public education in his piece, "A Few Good Kids?". Goodman shows that the military doesn't just rely upon persuasive recruiters. It's got other tricks up its sleeve, like luring potential recruits to undercover Army websites and using secretly obtained personal information to target students. And it's all completely sanctioned by No Child Left Behind.
Here's an excerpt:
The military has long struggled to find more effective ways to reach potential enlistees; for every new GI it signed up last year, the Army spent $24,500 on recruitment. (In contrast, four-year colleges spend an average of $2,000 per incoming student.) Recruiters hit pay dirt in 2002, when then-Rep. (now Sen.) David Vitter (R-La.) slipped a provision into the No Child Left Behind Act that requires high schools to give recruiters the names and contact details of all juniors and seniors. Schools that fail to comply risk losing their NCLB funding.