Monday, January 26, 2009

No Child Left Behind Act - A Sneaky Military Recruitment Tool

by Loki
Any act of legislation is going to have its proponents as well as its critics. My parents, both retired teachers, were staunch critics of the No Child Left Behind Act signed into law in 2001 shortly after our now infamous 43rd president of the United States, George W. Bush, was sworn into office. I hadn't much thought about the No Child Left Behind Act until my sixteen year old daughter suddenly started getting calls from military recruiters. Our family is quite familiar with military service and how recruiting new members really works. My ex-husband served in the Navy and had mentioned how he was lied to by recruiters when he enlisted, desperate to fill quotas (he could write a book on all the broken promises, lies, and downright manipulation of the system that caused him and our family a lot of heartache and sleepless nights). To his credit, he proudly served his country, winning many awards, but thought that those who enlisted should be told the truth about what they were actually signing up for and not misled by false promises and out right lies. Needless to say, he was furious that his baby girl had been contacted by a military recruiter without our permission. We soon found out that the military did not need our permission and that the high school she attended was required by law to give military recruiters the name, phone number, email address, areas of study and interest of every student enrolled in their school. This requirement came about from the No Child Left Behind Act and can be found at the following link: As parents, we can opt our children out of this requirement, but we at least need to be aware we can do this, which I was not. You will notice that schools are required to notify you of this right but neither I, nor other parents I've spoken with about this matter, had been told we had a choice or that this requirement even existed. Something this serious should require an opt-in form, not some cleverly hidden opt-out one, that way there is no doubt. In doing my research for this article, I kept coming across the name, Cindy Sheehan. You may remember her as the mother of a soldier who was killed in Iraq who became a very vocal anti-war activist. The media did a great job painting her as quite the lunatic, camped out in a ditch in front of George Bush's Texas ranch dubbing her make shift diggs, "Camp Casey" named after her dead son. I never followed her story close enough to gain an understanding of just what it was she had been protesting. Constant sound bites from television and radio made me think that she had lost a son in the war and was now protesting our invasion of Iraq. My thoughts were that he had joined the military and that's what militaries do; yes her loss was tragic but no different than the thousands of others who had also paid the ultimate sacrifice. But why was she constantly coming up in my research into the No Child Left Behind Act? Well, it seems that is how her son found himself in a distant land with an enemy hell bent on killing him and doing so just five days after him setting foot on foreign soil. Most would argue that he joined the military when he was 21 so he was old enough to know what he was doing and to understand what might come a long with that decision. Her argument, which I'm not sure many people are aware of, was that the military recruiters had pursued him since he was in high school and the years following and had used several underhanded tactics to finally get him signed up. This of course rings true with what my ex had told me. Her opinion was her son never should have been put in harms way in the first place because he never had any interest in joining the military until he was contacted repeatedly by recruiters. As more information came out about the war, she thought the invasion of Iraq was as unnecessary as her son's death had been and all of it the products of lies so she joined that front as well. I'm not here to voice my opinion of the ongoing war in Iraq. I simply want parents to be aware that they can opt out of the requirement for their child's information to be freely handed over to military recruiters. I believe this sneaky collection of children's names is a violation of privacy and more should be done to let parents know it is happening and that you should expect a call from your local recruiter. Military service is a noble profession and without it, we would lose the few remaining freedoms we still have left. However, I believe that no one has the right to lie to my child, behind my back, about how wonderful military life is and make attractive promises they never intend to keep to get them to sign up. If it was such an attractive line of work, the government would not have to come up with unlawful ways to get peoples information and force recruiters to tell bold face lies because of pressure to meet enlistment quotas. I know these lies happen because my ex-husband and I were victims of them; plain and simple…just thought you might like to know. Please, no comments from close minded individuals looking to pick a fight. I love my country, and I love and support our military. My family and I have done our time so I have a right to give my opinion on this important matter. You can get the opt-out forms and more information by going here: For more from the mind of Myla, please go to

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