Tuesday, March 01, 2005

More High Schools Just Saying "No" To Military Recruiters

For decades, military recruiters have been welcomed by America's high schools to give students an aptitude assessment, which is known as the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) Test. In some areas of the country, the taking of the test is considered a rite of passage for many soon-to-graduate high school students as they ponder their post high school graduation plans.

The Boston Globe is reporting that military recruiters are now experiencing some changes in the way many high schools are regarding their requests to administer the ASVAB to students:

Immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks, military recruiters had no trouble getting New England high schools to offer the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, which is used to screen promising candidates.

But three years later, in the midst of a controversial war in Iraq, things have changed dramatically.

"It's much more difficult right now to get into schools," said Petty Officer Jason Lowe, ASVAB testing coordinator at the Military Entrance Processing Station in Boston, which handles enlistment processing for Rhode Island, much of New Hampshire and parts of Massachusetts.

"People aren't happy, I guess," he said. "They just don't like the military in there right now with everything going on in the world. It makes it real tough."

Administrators at Nashua High School North this year reversed a long-standing policy of giving the three-hour test to the entire junior class, which usually numbers around 500.

When I was a high school student in the town of Winter Haven, Florida, the military showed up one day and gave all of us juniors the ASVAB test. At the time, we thought that it was sort of neat because we told that we would get the results in the mail. Sure enough, a few weeks later an official-looking envelope arrived in the mail. After all these years, I still remember my weakest area: "Attention to detail." (Uncle Sam sure nailed that one!) But that was longer ago than I care to say... This is the here and now:
Principal R. Patrick Corbin [of Nashua High School-Ed.] said an increasing number of students were opting not to take the test; 60 parents last year sent in letters to exempt their children from taking the test. And another 100 students school-wide were absent on testing day, he estimated.
The future of the test, at least in New England, doesn't look too bright:
Lowe [a Navy test coordinator-Ed.] said his test administrators were in 30 New Hampshire schools during the 2003-04 school year, but this year only 19 are scheduled to offer the test.
In November of last year, we reported that several universities and colleges had sued (and won) the right to bar military recruiters from their campuses. It now seems like many American high schools are also following suit in preventing the military from accomplishing its mission in the recruitment of volunteers to help win the war on terrorism.

As we said before, hasn't anyone told these people that we are a nation at war? Is this any way to support our troops in the field?

The schools should be assisting our military recruiters in their efforts to attract motivated young people to serve their country, not hindering them.

Update:(03/08) We have learned that there are a number of people that call themselves counter-recruiters who are actually trying to persuade enlistees (and potential volunteers) not to serve in our Armed Forces. Read our post here.

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