Thanks to Louisiana Senator David Vitter, the No Child Left Behind Act contains a clause which requires schools to give military recruiters the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of high school students. As most people have heard by now, parents may opt their adolescents out of this process. However, No Child Left Behind also provides that schools that do not hand over the information are subject to losing federal funding.
In Florida’s Duval County, school officials have made a bargain with parents: It’s okay to opt your kids out of the military recruiter list, but if you do so, your teenager’s photo will not appear in the yearbook, and she will not be listed in sports activities or on the honor roll. Where I come from, this practice is known as extortion, but I’m sure the Pentagon sees it as negotiation. Duval County officials, though they believe they are operating within the confines of the law, have agreed to make some changes next year, which would give parents more options. However, these changes do not appear to effect the “negotiation” aspect of the process.
Though all credit goes to Senator Vitter for this particular aspect of the mess that is known as No Child Left Behind, it would be unfair of me to not ask alll of Congress to take a bow for its passage.