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Special Drill: Military Recruiting in IL High Schools Dressed Down

January 23, 2008

Chicago, IL – It's a demanding drill for the Chicago Board of Education, which takes a closer look at military recruiting in high schools today. The board is considering giving principals the right to limit recruiters' access in schools after complaints that some recruiting materials could be seen as misleading, and that low-income students of color were being specifically targeted.

Darlene Gramigna with the American Friends Service Committee says putting some limits on recruiting seems fair, in light of all the options available to high school students.

"It makes sense to limit them to the same amounts that colleges and universities have. Colleges don't come in every week and recruit. They come in about once a year."

Gramigna thinks the expansion of military academies in public schools should receive some scrutiny, too. She says Chicago has more such academies than any other public school system in the country.

"We think that that money that's given to small schools related to the military could be better spent in terms of educational options for high school students."

Chicago isn't the first large school district to review military recruiting. Seattle also has set limits on recruiters, and the San Francisco school system has disconnected from military junior officer programs. Supporters of the academies say they teach discipline, improve student test scores, and prepare students for college. The academies also are popular, with one more set to open next year.

Deborah Smith/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - IL