Schools deny boosting military recruitment
ASSOCIATED PRESS (firstname.lastname@example.org)
December 24, 2007
LAS VEGAS (AP) — School administrators are denying they meant to set a goal of raising the percentage of southern Nevada students who enlist in the military from a current 3 percent to up to 7 percent by 2009.
“The district has never done anything to promote military involvement,” Clark County School Board President Ruth Johnson told the Las Vegas Sun amid questions about a reference to military service in a new in-house school report card.
Johnson said a part of the “Quality Assurance Framework” addressing military careers needs to be rewritten to avoid the impression “that somehow we were trying to funnel our kids into the military, where they would be in danger.”
“We follow the law and provide access (to recruiters) and leadership programs at the high schools,” Johnson said. “But enlistment has always been a choice left up to the families.”
Lauren Kohut-Rost, deputy superintendent of curriculum and instruction, said the intent of the assessment document presented at a recent public meeting was to measure post-secondary activity by district students.
“What we would like to do is increase the percentage of seniors who have a plan beyond 12th grade,” Kohut-Rost said. “That’s what this is really about.”
An American Civil Liberties Union official said he was troubled the assessment made it into print and was presented to the public.
“Either this instrument was drafted incompetently, or they are being disingenuous,” said Gary Peck, executive director of the ACLU of Nevada. “There really isn’t a third option.”
At the same time, Peck said, the district deserved credit “for recognizing the problem when it was presented to them, and correcting it.”
“We’re not anti-military,” the ACLU official added. “We’re just looking for people to play by the rules.”
District officials say that of 12,000 seniors in the class of 2007, 3 percent indicated their intentions to enlist in the military, down from 4 percent last year and 5 percent in 2004.
Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, military recruiters have the same access to campuses and student information as college, university and career training recruiters.