Carol Platt Liebau: Could You Make This Up?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Could You Make This Up?

This account of what's happening with Junior ROTC at Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles defies credulity.

The program had been a source of pride for its participants -- until now, when "students and teachers have launched a crusade against military recruiting and JROTC." It entails no commitment to the military, but entitles participants to higher starting pay if they do enlist. The program provides classes in useful skills like financial planning, map reading, and giving PowerPoint presentation. It also includes physical education, target practice and marching drills.

In a sign of the mentality which too often dominates teachers' lounges in high schools across the U.S., numerous teachers at the school have engaged in overt activism against the program, which seems to rise to the level of harassment and pressuring of some of the participants. Here's a revealing quote from one of these academic powerhouses:

Teacher Gillian Russom said this kind of training instills the wrong values: following orders, dressing the same and relying on rote memorization rather than critical thinking. "That's necessary for a successful military, but does it create the kind of citizens we want?"

In one of the most ironic twists imaginable, these teachers are performing so terribly that there's actually not much "danger" that any of the students are actually going to make it into the military:

Harrington said few of his Roosevelt students join the armed services. Only 5% of his cadets would even qualify to enlist, he said, because the rest are in the country illegally, couldn't pass the military aptitude test, are in trouble with the law or are overweight.

Yes, obviously -- it's the military that's the big problem here.


Blogger Earth to Carol said...

Seems like valuable training. The 95% that can't make it into the military could always use target practice and map reading for say running drugs or robbing banks.

12:04 PM  
Blogger J said...

Depressing, though I couldn't help but chuckle at the irony of this:

"Lopez, the social studies teacher, keeps a stack of glossy brochures propped on his chalkboard titled "Don't Die in a Dead-End Job!"

A little late for him, but good advice, nonetheless.

6:01 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home