Friday, April 02, 2004


Every time I take Belief Net's Belief-o-Matic, the results are fairly consistent. Here we go:

1. Liberal Quakers (100%)
2. Bahá'í Faith (93%)
3. Unitarian Universalism (92%)
4. Reform Judaism (89%)
5. Neo-Pagan (83%)
6. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (82%)
7. New Age (81%)
8. Mahayana Buddhism (81%)
9. Jainism (80%)
10. Orthodox Quaker (75%)
11. Orthodox Judaism (74%)
12. Hinduism (69%)
13. Islam (66%)
14. Sikhism (64%)
15. Taoism (63%)
16. Theravada Buddhism (61%)
17. New Thought (59%)
18. Secular Humanism (57%)
19. Seventh Day Adventist (51%)
20. Scientology (50%)
21. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (45%)
22. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (40%)
23. Nontheist (35%)
24. Eastern Orthodox (33%)
25. Roman Catholic (33%)
26. Jehovah's Witness (28%)
27. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (25%)

Take it for what you will!

No Child Left Behind (Except for Gays and Pacifists)

A disturbing factoid I've come across, thanks to a Quaker news alert: in short, education legislation forces schools to work with military recruiters.

George Bush's "sweeping" education reform -- sweeping, much like a plague sweeps across the land or a fire sweeps through a tenement slum -- is the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001. It has its strengths, to be sure, but it is not above criticism. Of course, you'd never know this from the cultists at the US Department of Education and their unwavering support of this legislation, as though it is revealed scripture. I've seen first-hand some of the changes, including a major ideological change from active support of bilingual educational and minority languages to a primary thrust of "English language acquisition". Other than a comment that linguist Tove Skutnabb-Kangas equates linguistic homogeneity with cultural genocide in her work, Linguistic Genocide in Education, I don't have much more to say on that issue right now.

More to the point here, though, is that NCLB requires schools to give military recruiters information. First, the legislation:


‘‘(a) POLICY.—

section 444(a)(5)(B) of the General Education Provisions Act and except as provided in paragraph (2), each local educational agency receiving assistance under this Act
shall provide, on a request made by military recruiters or an institution of higher education, access to secondary school students names, addresses, and telephone listings.

‘‘(2) CONSENT.—A secondary school student or the parent of the student may request that the student’s name, address, and telephone listing described in paragraph (1) not be released without prior written parental consent, and the local educational agency or private school shall notify parents of the option to make a request and shall comply with any request.

‘‘(3) SAME ACCESS TO STUDENTS.—Each local educational agency receiving assistance under this Act shall provide military recruiters the same access to secondary school students as is provided generally to post secondary educational institutions or to prospective employers of those students.

‘‘(b) NOTIFICATION.—The Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, shall, not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, notify principals, school administrators, and other educators about the requirements of this section.

‘‘(c) EXCEPTION.—The requirements of this section do not apply to a private secondary school that maintains a religious objection to service in the Armed Forces if the objection is verifiable through the corporate or other organizational documents or materials of that school.

Yes, in one section is says or an institution of higher education. I think given the name of this section and the fact that the thrust is toward military recruiters, that reference to IHEs does little to distract from the real orientation of his section.

This provision is troublesome for a number of reasons, not least of which is the issue that this is a violation of student privacy. I am more disturbed by the fact that the Department of Education does not simply cooperate with the military--that I can dislike, but understand--but in this, it serves the military. I do not believe that institutions of education, institutions created to nurture youth and foster growth, should be so closely aligned with warmaking. This act also effectively ended the activities of some schools to ban military recruiting from schools because the military discriminates against our gay brothers and lesbian sisters.

There are a number of commentaries already out there on the net that I recommend:

* No Child Left Unrecruited -- commentary from the United Methodist Church General Board of Global Ministries

* No Child Left Unrecruited -- yes, same name. From Rethinking Schools.

* Uncle Sam Wants -- an overview of NCLB from the American Friends Service Committee.

* No Child Left Military Recruiters--commentary from Church of the Brethren.

* No Child Left Behind Feature -- information and materials from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Read it, think about it. Maybe this hits me more because in the final analysis, I choose "Dove" over "Hawk", and because I work for an office that is funded by the US Department of Education--an office that is little more than a parrot for NCLB, and I am confronted daily with "values" that are against mine.