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Student Privacy and the Military in Connecticut: Don't Let SB 423 Die!

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The National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy -

 Student Privacy and the Military in Connecticut  Don't Let SB 423 Die!The military in Connecticut's General Assembly influence runs counter to the sensibilities and civil liberties of the citizens of the Constitution State. Apparently the Department of Defense has such clout few have the courage or political will to oppose it. This is not what democracy looks like.

On Thursday SB 423, "An Act Concerning Student Privacy and the Administration of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery" was referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs for legislative death. Co-Chair Jack Hennessy (127th Assembly District - Bridgeport) has "serious reservations" regarding the bill. How odd it is that legislation designed to protect the privacy of Connecticut High School children should be re-routed through the Committee on Veterans' Affairs!

A child can go to school in Connecticut, be tested by the Pentagon, and have tests results, detailed demographic information and social security numbers released to recruiters without parental consent or knowledge.

Information gathered as a result of the administration of the ASVAB is the only information leaving Connecticut's schools about children without providing for parental consent. SB 423 would change that. The members of the Education Committee overwhelmingly thought it was a good bill, but Jack Hennessy has serious reservations. How does this work, exactly?

The ASVAB is the military's entrance exam that is given to fresh recruits to determine their aptitude for various military occupations. The test is also used as a recruiting tool in 106 high schools in Connecticut and nearly 12,000 across the country. The 3-hour test is used by the US Military Entrance Processing Command to gain sensitive, personal information on 3,750 Connecticut kids and 660,000 high school students across the country every year, the vast majority of whom are under the age of 18.

According to military regulations the primary purpose of the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Batter) is to provide military recruiters "with a source of leads of high school juniors and seniors."

Última actualización el Domingo 20 de Abril de 2014 18:46 Leer más...

Education Alert: Military Teaches Our Kids

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Flickr/U.S. Army RDECOMThere’s a saying in the Army recruiting community: “First to contact, first to contract.” In the United States, you have to be at least 17 years old to enlist in the armed forces. But, according to those who make a living tracking students’ feelings about the military, it would be pure folly not to start before then. Enter public education. In 2010, the most recent year for which data are available, the Department of Defense (DoD) was administering more than a dozen different programs and spending close to $50 million on K–12 outreach targeting the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

As school budgets continue to be decimated, it can be hard for some educators to turn down free STEM education. “The Pentagon has money,” as Corey Mead puts it in his book War Play, “and our public schools are starved for funds.” In their enthusiasm for Pentagon-supported STEM initiatives, educators can forget to check whether there are other motives besides spurring a love of science in the young. In fact, by avoiding the “recruitment” label, the military is able to use STEM education as a Trojan horse to gain access to students and plant the seeds for eventual recruitment.

Militarizing the STEM Curriculum

One of the DoD’s largest K–12 programs is the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP), which consists of at least nine distinct STEM educational programs. During the 2011–12 academic year, the AEOP reached nearly 53,000 students. John Parmentola, Army director of research and laboratory management, says that one of the AEOP’s goals is to encourage youth so that “someday some of them may decide to work in an Army laboratory or join the Army with an understanding of how technical fields support the Army’s mission.”

Última actualización el Domingo 13 de Abril de 2014 18:43 Leer más...

Statewide ASVAB Option 8 Bill SB 423, Advances in Connecticut

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Pat Elder -

Members of the Connecticut House of Representatives meet during the final day of session at the Capitol in Hartford, Conn., Wednesday, June 5, 2013.We’re working with the ACLU of Connecticut to pass SB 423, a bill that would protect the privacy of high school students who take the ASVAB.  On March 19, 2014, SB 423 passed the Connecticut Education Committee 22-10 on a purely partisan vote.

We’re hopeful the bill will make it to the floor.  Ahead of the vote, the committee received this testimony opposed to the legislation from Lt. Colonel Michael D. Coleman, Commander, U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion, Albany, NY. The letter apparently didn’t sway a single Democratic vote.

For those of us across the country who have been working on this issue for years, this letter represents the epitome of deception, ignorance and arrogance. Please take a moment to read the Lt. Colonel’s letter and our response. 

Última actualización el Miércoles 02 de Abril de 2014 17:19 Leer más...

Army Makes Case Against Enlisting

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David Swanson -

Remarkably, the U.S. Army War College has published a report (PDF) that makes an overwhelming case against enlisting in the U.S. Army.  The report, called "Civilian Organizational Inhibitors to U.S. Army Recruiting and the Road Ahead," identifies counter-recruitment organizations that effectively discourage young people from joining the military.

This is the highest honor the Army could give these groups, including Quaker House, the Mennonite Central Committee, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace, and Courage to Resist.  Activists often disbelieve in the effectiveness of their own work until the government admits it explicitly.  Well, here is that admission.  And counter-recruitment activists really do seem to appreciate it.

No doubt someone quickly sent the report along to the NSA and the FBI.  The report is, in fact, a few years old, and we have seen the government infiltrating at least some of the organizations named in it during the past few years.

But who really should be reading this excellent report is potential recruits.  In laying out the arguments of the counter-recruitment groups and then trying to refute them, the report's author, Lieutenant Colonel Todd M. Jacobus, makes their case persuasively and his own weakly in the extreme.  I'm not sure if this is intentional subterfuge, drug-induced self-parody, or just intellectual debility.  Regardless, the government will have new appreciation for its standard disclaimer that says the views expressed are the author's alone.

Última actualización el Jueves 20 de Marzo de 2014 17:20 Leer más...

Passing the Torch, at Last: Finding a New Generation of Anti-War Activists

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William T. Hathaway -

Not your soldierThe following is an excerpt from the book, Radical Peace: People Refusing War, by William Hathaway. It is a collection of reports from antiwar activists who share true stories of their efforts to change our warrior culture. This chapter was contributed by a "Granny for Peace," who tells of finding young allies in the struggle against military recruiting. Due to the PATRIOT Act, she wishes to remain nameless.

I grew up in the 1950s, when the USA was very conservative and bound by traditions. My parents' generation had grown up in the Depression amid poverty and then struggled through World War Two with its threat of death and destruction. By the time they were ready to start families, they were fixated on stability and security. They measured their progress by their possessions: buying their first car, first television, and first house. Their morality centered on controlling sexuality and protecting private property. Their religion was a death cult of stern patriarchs, obedient virgins, innocent babies, and threats of eternal torture. Their deepest philosophy was, "There is no free lunch." The peak of their scientific achievement was the hydrogen bomb. Fear was their strongest emotion.

Última actualización el Miércoles 12 de Marzo de 2014 18:59 Leer más...

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