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Monday, December 1, 2008

No Child Left Unrecruited

Certainly, George Bush has left the Obama Administration much clean-up work to do. The notorious No Child Left Behind Act is such an example, and is currently up for renewal. I suspect this may likely be one of the first projects undertaken by the Obama Administration. Despite this being quite a controversial bill in and of itself, there is a provision buried deep within the bill that many people are unaware of. My motive, as always: Knowledge is Power.

Have you ever questioned how military recruiters get your address and phone number? As part of Bush’s plan to enhance America’s educational system through the No Child Left Behind Act, military recruiters now have unfettered access to students’ high school records.

Hidden amongst the 670 pages of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is a provision which requires public high schools to provide private student data to military recruiters. This provision, in Section 9528 of the act, grants the Pentagon access to school directories with students’ names, addresses and phone numbers, so they may be contacted and recruited for military service. Prior to enactment of this bill, schools have been explicitly instructed to protect the integrity of students’ information. The No Child Left Behind Act paves the way for the military to have unimpeded access to underage students who are ripe for solicitation for the military. If a school does not comply, it risks losing vital federal education funding.

In addition, the Pentagon also recently set up a database of 30 million sixteen to twenty-five year-olds, including name, address, e-mail addresses, cell phone numbers, ethnicity, social security numbers and areas of study. This Pentagon database is updated daily and distributed monthly to the Armed Services for recruitment purposes. And yes, the military is exempt from the restraints of the Do Not Call List. Once they have your private information, be prepared to receive phone calls from your dear Uncle Sam.

The No Child Behind Act should serve as a wake up call to students and their parents to reclaim their privacy, to reinvest their energy into demanding quality education, and to remind our leaders that stealing money from education to pay for military recruitment is unacceptable.

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