Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Thoughtful Editorial on Military Recruiters in the PI

There was a good editorial in the PI today about the upcoming vote at tonight's Board meeting about the Visitors to Schools policy which includes military recruiters. The military is a job/career option, of course, but attention should be paid when both colleges/universities and the military are selective in which schools they visit. I think the idea of a twice-a-year job/career/college fair for high school students is a good idea that would allow students to see more options at one time. The quiet shout-out to Brita is well-deserved.

7 comments:

classof75 said...

I agree with this post after yet another disruption of a school board meeting by YAWR- headed by Locker, earlier this year


It’s a shame that Philip Locker (Stuyvesant '96 & Oberlin College, grad date unknown) didn't stay for his name to be called to speak or didn't encourage others to stay and listen to the community that had gathered for the meeting.

Teenagers love a protest- we get that. They have been encouraged by Locker and other adults long out of high school to disrupt many school board meetings.

They have made their point, IMO & I am concerned that their concern seems to be that high school students, particularly low income minority students are not capable of making their own decision regarding what to think about the military and want to restrict information to them.

If it means that colleges and businesses seeking employees are also denied access to the high schools on campus, they are happy to accept that decision.

High school students make important decisions every day; regarding their studies, how and when to operate a motor vehicle, choice affecting drug/alcohol use, sex, even possible gang related crime and violence, yet they are deemed not capable of resisting the lure of the "military complex" and must be protected from it.

So what if Locker and his followers get their way?

What will happen if the military is not allowed on campus? The military branches have recruiting offices in town, they are unlikely to be impacted as much as the colleges from other parts of the country, who would love to have Seattle students but would then limit their presence to college fairs held in the convention center, not an atmosphere conducive to getting questions answered.

When colleges are in the high schools, I have seen students become more aware of what they need to do to attend college and more interested in their studies.

Ironically, when they are less aware of colleges, if admission representatives are removed from schools, the students may be more aware of joining the military as an option after graduation than they are of college requirements.

I am most concerned about high school students that are perceived as not being able to make their own decisions.

These students will be voting for the next president, if they aren't capable to decline politely when approached by a recruiter and need Locker and co, to do it for them, shouldn't we be pushing for more curriculum that will prepare them to think for themselves?

I know it isn't on the WASL, but colleges often consider logic to be a math course, and intro to logical thinking could serve students better than Marxism 101.

Anonymous said...

I think that the credit needs also to be directed to Phil Brockman, for steering the SLC away from a plan to just have recruiting fairs, which would have only worked to limit all students access to college and non-military employment recruiters.

The reality is that the military and the local colleges will attend a fair, but out of state universities send recruiters to schools on thier own schedules.

I also commend Mr. Brockman for dealing with Director Flynn's silliness on this issue. She wants data on recruiting visits, he produces the data, and then without any support, she insists that it must be wrong. I wanted to yell, "where is your data that proves that his data is wrong?"

Now there is data collective piece in the revised policy, and yet last board meeting she went on a bender about data. Hello, data collection is in the policy in response to your concern.

Anonymous said...

I find the editorial, as will as the actions of YAWR to be an insult to minorities and low income students. It is insulting that YAWR believes that these students do not have the capacity to think for themselves.

Ironically, military recruits are overwhelmingly middle class. Over 70% of recruits come from households with an income of $35,000 or more. Less than 14% of recruits come from the poorest of the poor neighborhoods.

The closest you can come to the minority argument is to say that 12% of the population is black but 15% of recruits are black. But this ignores that a vast majority of recruits come from the south where blacks are represented in much greater numbers.

The reality is that the military is a viable choice for many students, and the school board is not the appropriate venue for raising your displeasure with the war in Iraq. I can give YAWR the address of Congressman Reichart if they really want to go stage a protest where it matters.

Charlie Mas said...

I like the new policy.

I think that all recruiters - educational, employment, and military - should have equal access.

I also think that the schools have a duty to manage the visits from recruiters instead of the current laissez faire policy.

The restriction to two visits to the campus does not apply to private meetings with individual students.

As much as anything, I am glad that a recruiter can have their recruitment rights revoked if they violate the policy or if they harass students or staff or if they provide misleading or untrue information.

This is a good policy.

classof75 said...

I have downloaded but havent yet read through all the data associated with the new policy- but it does appear to be more temperate than what I was envisoning and still should give students good access to information

Anonymous said...

As Melissa posted a link to the PI editorial, which I found horriably offensive to the students it was patronizing, I thought I would post the three letters ran in response:

Students smart enough to make own decisions
I was disappointed to see Joe Copland's gross misrepresentation of military recruiting in his Wednesday column, "Don't give military recruiters more chances to exploit vulnerable students."

Based on my experience as a 2005 graduate of Edmonds-Woodway High School, I can tell you that our school's military recruiters waited patiently at their booths. They did not "target vulnerable students" -- only those who approached them and were interested in finding out more information, such as myself.

And to dispel Copeland's myth that "poor and minority students continue to be targeted by the military," EdmondsWoodway, which some might peg as an affluent, non-minority school, had heavy recruitment, just like any other public high school.

Copland writes that students are "vulnerable" like we are too stupid to make decisions for ourselves. I ask that you please quit patronizing 18-year-old adults. Some of us choose to enlist in the military, while others, like me, talk it over with a recruiter and don't.

Joe McCleary
Edmonds



Unsubstantiated bunk doesn't pass the bias test
Apparently, Joe Copeland can't see beyond his own political bias, and has no problem spouting unsubstantiated bunk. The military doesn't, as he claims, exploit vulnerable students, that is, poor minorities. The military is the one institution in this country that is truly diverse in its character and makeup. It closely matches the national averages for our overall population. It provides a myriad of opportunities for young men and women that they wouldn't normally get. It's a known fact that the poor, which unfortunately, minorities make up a large percentage, don't go to college and aren't considered or recruited unless they display a significant athletic ability.

His intolerance and close-minded view of recruiters is apparent. Without a significant military we wouldn't have the luxuries that currently exist in this country.

Our military keeps the wolf from the door. I would suggest he show a little more respect and tolerance for those who choose to serve as well as our military in general. "Patriotic dissent is the luxury of those who have braver men fighting for them." Of course a little honesty would be appreciated, as well. Just because he types it and it's printed doesn't make it true.

Ken Horner
Renton



High schoolers deserve more credit than they get
Something just doesn't correlate in Joe Copeland's "Don't give military recruiters more chances to exploit vulnerable students" column in Wednesday's P-I.

Apparently many of Seattle's older public school students are informed enough to vote, yet they are so "relatively uninformed" that military recruiters shouldn't be allowed to have any type of communications with them.

Apparently Seattle's high school students are old enough, mature enough to receive abortions, birth control pills, etc. without parental consent, yet they're too "young" to even talk with military recruiters.

If Copeland's opinion, and that of the "activists," is correct, that Seattle's students are indeed this uninformed, this young and naive, heaven help the future of Seattle. Heaven help the future of our country.

Fred Long
Port Angeles



Our country's defenders should be treated better
I am retired military with multiple tours in Vietnam. The military left me with a nice retirement income. Who do you think defends this country? The Tooth Fairy?

Walter Montgomery
Seattle

Dan Dempsey said...

I agree with Charlie. The new policy is wonderful. It would have been even better had it been developed more rapidly or keeping the public aware that action was taking place.

A lot of people have been burned by no action on a large variety of topics. Ongoing communication is important to dispel frustrations.

I am concerned with the YAWR tendency to make this more about adult concerns than what is best for students and families; given their current thrust that seems to be toward getting the recruiters out at all costs. One of those costs appears to be the well being of many of our community members.

The YAWR chant of: “This is What Democracy Looks Like” is now beginning to look more like this is what tactics that disregard the other person's right to disagree with my opinion looks like.

“Freedom of speech for me but none for you” is a bizarre take on what Democracy looks like.

The district came up with a great policy on this one. As usual it won’t satisfy everyone and can not. Great job and congratulations are in order for Phil Brockman and all those involved. Let us give the board a job well done on this one.

Dan