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10/07/2004 Archived Entry: "High school students reported to military"
This disturbing news item comes from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "Names, phone numbers and other information about Seattle high school students must be provided to the Defense Department on request -- unless parents opt out in writing by Saturday. The No Child Left Behind Act, an expansive education reform bill passed two years ago, requires high schools across the country to release information about juniors and seniors to military recruiters and to give them the same access to students as college recruiters and prospective employers."
More than ever, homeschooling is becoming the glittering hope for freedom in our society. No wonder it is being demonized (See blog entry 09/22/2004) by authorities, especially within the public school system. Seemingly benign measures, like "No Child Left Behind," are being used for military purposes. I know, I know, the NCLB isn't benign...but it is cast that way. Who can disagree with holding out a hand to help children advance? Now it seems that the hand extended constitutes a blatant grab by the military who may well hoist your child up and over to Iraq or some other godforsaken acreage in order to bleed for the political and financial gain of elite interests. Having said this, however, homeschoolers still face a tough balancing act in deciding how much information on their children they turn over to the State. I know one avid privacy advocate and homeschooler who did not register his children's births, etc. because he wanted them to live free. Now that his eldest has turned 16, the "child" wants a driver's license to drive to work, which he *cannot* get without going through literally months of paperwork and special waivers. Nor can the "child" enter college without extreme machinations that put him right back into the system. Arguably, the "child" is more prominently in the system than ones who abided by all conventions and, so, blend into the background with millions of others. I don't know where that balancing act reaches equilibrium. Maybe it never does. After all, the moment you protect the privacy of your family, the government may change all the rules and throw every precaution you've taken out of whack, out of the window. The State demands your child and it has become more and more aggressive about owning the bodies of the daughter and son you've raised with love. The demand is always phrased in benign terms, of course. "We'll turn their info over to the military because we are concerned that no child is left behind and their maths scores may be slipping." My hat is off to every single parent who homeschools. it is a real act of love. In saying this, however, I don't slam those parents who choose to send their children to public school. That's what my parents did...and they had no choice if they wished my brother and me to be educated. We were a poor, lower-working class family; it was not possible even to keep good food on the table all the time. I remember eating potatoes, milk and bread for dinner -- and nothing else -- more than once. BUT public schools were a different animal back then, back in the golden days before political correctness and the omnipresent State who inculcates values. Back then, schools actually stressed teaching the basic skills, such as reading and math. Poor kids, like me, had a fair better chance of "making it" in life.
BTW, Thomas Knapp's blog has an interesting take on the inevitability of a draft...which is, after all, the subtext of all I've written above.
Best to all,