Friday, October 19, 2007

USMC High School Coming to Chicago

"Chicago Public Schools, which already has the largest junior military reserve program in the nation, on Monday will commission the country's first public high school run by the U.S. Marines, much to the chagrin of activists who have fought to keep the armed services out of city schools...

In general, the academies operate like regular public high schools. Students take a college prep curriculum and are taught by certified public school teachers. They have the same academic graduation requirements as other students in the district.

Cadets are not required to enlist in the military after graduation." (There is also an Air Force Academy High School proposed for 2009).

Critics say:
"We're already the most militarized school system in the nation, and the [district] officials just keep opening more programs, as if they have no problem being a recruitment tool for the military," said Brian Roa, a member of the National Network Opposing Militarization of Youth and a science teacher at Senn High School on the North Side. Senn shares a building with Rickover Naval Academy. "Chicago Public Schools should be in the business of educating children, not finding ways to indoctrinate them into the military."

"Let's face it, the academies are about recruitment, not academics," she said. "I think the government feels like these kids are expendable. They are saying, 'You can put the poor and minority students on the front lines.'" (source)

From what I can find online, the JROTC and ROTC statistics are more than encouraging. Higher graduation rates and schools that have ROTC programs ranking higher academically. Studies have also shown that the ROTC helps even the playing field with over 50% of the officer candidates being minorities. Maybe activists are mad that ROTC enrollment is at least 3X higher than that of the Peace Corps, but in the wake of school shootings, rapes and drug use in the hallways --I think a bit of marine style discipline might be exactly what's missing.

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