ASVAB in the news
"School officials encourage students to take the test under the belief that the
purpose of the ASVAB is to assist students in exploring their various career options. We do not object to the administration of the ASVAB test; however, the distribution of the
enormous amount of data collected on the ASVAB to military recruiters is a serious infringement on the privacy rights of those students." More
"By not selecting Option 8 when it administers the ASVAB, the School District is violating not only
statutory rights, it is also violating constitutional rights."
L.A. Chapter, 2005.
Remember the 4th Amendment!
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
An illegal search occurs when an expectation of privacy that society considers reasonable is infringed by a governmental employee or by an agent of the government. More
Child Soldiers International is concerned by a range of American recruitment policies and practices that undermine the safeguards contained in article 3.3 of OPAC, in particular with regards to the voluntary nature of underage recruitment, the right to privacy of children and the requirement of prior consent of parents (or legal guardians). Child Soldiers International is also concerned by the extensive access to schools and students’ information by the US military, which suggests that the US government is pursuing the active recruitment of under-18s.
See discussion beginning on Page 10. More
Our Response to
Lt. Col. Coleman
See the Letter dated March 10, 2014 to the Education Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly Regarding SB 423 from Michael D. Coleman Lieutenant Colonel, US Army, Commander, U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion Albany. Commander Coleman’s words are it italics. Our responses follow.
1. If enacted SB 423 would require public schools that administer the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to select reporting Option 8. This option prohibits the general release of any student test information and test line scores to military recruiters. When scores are not released to military recruiters, parents and students miss out on a valuable career exploration tool and may not receive information about opportunities available to them in a civilian career field or career in the military.
Lt. Col. Coleman is correct in asserting that SB 423 would require public schools that administer the ASVAB to select reporting Option 8.
He is not accurate when he writes that children will lose the opportunity to benefit from the Career Exploration Program if SB 423 is passed. In fact, any attempt to discriminate on the basis of the release option chosen by a school or school district is prohibited by USMEPCOM Regulation 601-4, which states, “The access option chosen by the school will be honored without discrimination and without adverse effect of quality or priority of service to the school.” (1)
Ask students at any of the several dozen high schools in Connecticut that selected Option 8 if they were able to take advantage of the Career Exploration Program and if they were able to use the “Occu Find” or “Find Your Interests” components of the program. We’re certain they were.
2. The core issues behind the bill appear to be student privacy and access to student information by the recruiting services.
It’s all about student privacy! The U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command is well aware that 2,000 schools across the country that allow the military to administer the ASVAB have recently moved to select Option 8. (2) ASVAB results are the only information about students leaving the public schools without providing for parental consent. (3) This is exacerbated by the fact that the recruiting command markets the test as a career exploration test while hiding its primary function as a source of leads for recruiters. (4)
3. Participation in the ASVAB is voluntary.
The U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command has identified nearly a thousand schools across the country where students are required to take the test, mostly in the South and the Midwest. Although data released after a long and contested FOIA process reports that no schools require ASVAB testing in Connecticut, there are many schools with large numbers of students taking the test. For instance, Bristol Eastern tested 163 students last year and sent all results to recruiters without parental consent. Just how do they manage to get 163 teenagers to voluntarily sit for three hours to take a military exam?
Participation in the ASVAB is not a ruse to gather personal information on students for recruitment purposes.
The ASVAB Career Exploration Program is a great ruse perpetrated on the American people. The Department of Defense promotes the ASVAB Career Exploration Program in 12,000 schools without revealing its primary function as a recruitment tool.
According to military regulations “The purpose of marketing activities is to promote the School Testing Program to the educator public. The Career Exploration Program is the primary marketing component of the School Testing Program.” (5)
Notwithstanding the foregoing we support the use of the test and the highly acclaimed Career Exploration Program in the state’s schools. Students still benefit from the program when Option 8 is selected!
It should be noted that both Hawaii and Maryland, two states with universal Option 8, have both experienced a substantial growth in the numbers of students participating in the program.
(1) See USMEPCOM Regulation 601-4; Recruiter Release Option 3-2 a.
(2) See the original national database supplied by the FOIA office of the Department of Defense. Option 8 equates to “No recruiter contact” (right column) http://www.studentprivacy.org
(3) Rutgers University School of Law does a good job at framing this issue; so does the L.A. Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.
(4) “Within the US Army Recruiting Command ASVAB is designed to provide the field recruiter with a source of leads of high school seniors and juniors qualified through the ASVAB for enlistment into the active Army and Army Reserve.”
Section 6-2 Purpose - School Recruiting Program handbook
(5) 7-1. Purpose USMEPCOM Regulation 601-4
SB 423 – AN ACT CONCERNING STUDENT PRIVACY AND THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE ARMED SERVICES VOCATIONAL APTITUDE BATTERY.
Fact Sheet for Members of Connecticut's Veterans' Affairs Committee
SB 423 – AN ACT CONCERNING STUDENT PRIVACY AND THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE ARMED SERVICES VOCATIONAL APTITUDE BATTERY.
Information gathered as a result of the Administration of the ASVAB is the only information leaving Connecticut’s schools without providing for parental consent. The release of ASVAB data manages to circumvent the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). (1)
SB 423 will require all Connecticut high schools to select ASVAB Release Option 8 for students who take the test. Option 8 prohibits the wholesale, automatic release of student information to military recruiting services. Option 8 is described in military regulations. See Table 3-1 - Recruiter Release Options (2)
Nothing in this legislation will preclude the military from continuing to administer the test in the high schools for enlistment purposes. This act will simply require a student who wishes to use his or her scores for enlistment to visit a recruiter who will complete a form and have the student (or parent) sign it. (3)
Evidence from states and local jurisdictions that have mandated the selection of Option 8 indicates that use of the ASVAB has increased because of its popularity as a free career exploration program.
The primary purpose of the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Batter) is to provide military recruiters "with a source of leads of high school juniors and seniors." Nothing in the records of the Connecticut State Department of Education or any of the public schools in Connecticut officially recognizes this fact.
School officials or military representatives select release options, not parents or students.
Federal “Opt-Out” legislation (Section 9528 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act - ESEA) requires schools to furnish military recruiters with a child’s name, address, and phone number, provided that parents have been given the opportunity to “opt out” of lists being forwarded to recruiters. ESEA does not regulate student data being released through the administration of the ASVAB. See Best Practices for ASVAB-CEP Administration published by Rutgers School of Law
Requiring Option 8 rather than simply requiring parental permission for students taking the ASVAB eliminates any financial burden and legal risk that would be imposed on schools and school staff if they had to gather permissions and monitor which students' data must be withheld. ASVAB Option 8 entails no financial cost, administrative time, or legal risk for schools; it allows schools to continue using the test if they wish; and it addresses the issues of student privacy and parental custodial rights.
(1) See page 14 of the ASVAB Counselor’s Guide. ASVAB records are not deemed to be student records and are therefore not subject to FERPA because the DoD administers the exam. These records, are therefore considered military records, not educational records. http://www.asvabprogram.com/downloads/asvab_counselor_manual.pdf
(2) Currently 44% of the 3,750 Connecticut high school students who took the ASVAB during the 2012-2013 school year had Option 8 selected. See the Connecticut data created from the national database received on December 18, 2013 from the Freedom of Information Office of the Secretary of Defense and Joint Staff FOIA Request Service Center http://www.studentprivacy.org/state-data.html
(3) From a Washington Post article on April 15, 2010 after Maryland passed legislation like SB 423: Douglas J.J. Peters, Maryland’s Chairman of the Senate Veteran’s Caucus spoke in favor of the bill. "Why not take the extra step to help the family make an important decision about their lives?" asked Sen. Douglas J.J. Peters (D-Prince George's), chairman of the Senate Veterans Caucus and a veteran of the Persian Gulf War. "It gives them something to think about rather than just doing something ready, fire, aim."
An article in USA Today after the passage of Maryland’s law puts concerns about an anti-military aspect to this legislation to rest: “Some argued that the measure was antimilitary. Baltimore County Republican Sen. Andy Harris said the legislation gives students the impression that they should be skeptical of military careers. "I think sending any message while we're at war overseas that the military in any way is not an honorable profession is the wrong message to send," Harris said. Del. Sheila Hixson, D-Montgomery, sponsored the bill in the House, bristled at that argument. "For me, it wasn't the military piece, it was the parental permission," Hixson said. "Parents didn't know what was going on and children didn't realize what was going on."
Pentagon Data on Student Testing Program Rife with Errors and Contradictions
Student Privacy Compromised by Massive Program
In late December, 2013 the Department of Defense released a database on the military's controversial Student Testing Program in 11,700 high schools across the country. An examination of the complex and contradictory dataset raises serious issues regarding student privacy and the integrity of the Student Testing Program in America's schools
The database was released after a protracted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Best Practices for ASVAB-CEP Administration
This new report from Rutgers Law School on the use of the military's aptitude test (the ASVAB) in high schools makes a compelling case that high school counselors have both legal and professional responsibilities to ensure that student test information is not automatically released to military recruiters. Download and share it widely, especially with your local school counselors, principals, and district officials.
The ASVAB is the military's entrance exam that is given to fresh recruits to determine their aptitude for various military occupations. The test is also used as a recruiting tool in 11,700 high schools across the country. The 4 hour test is used by military recruiting services to gain sensitive, personal information on more than 660,000 high school students across the country every year, the vast majority of whom are under the age of 18. Students typically are given the test at school without parental knowledge or consent. The school-based ASVAB Career Exploration Program is among the military's most effective recruiting tools.
- Read More
THE ASVAB CAMPAIGN
The National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy has been working to educate and convince school officials Read More
The Colonel vs. The PTA
The debate in Maryland’s General Assembly over the passage of the Option 8 legislation is best understood by examining the testimony of Lt. Col. Christopher Beveridge, Commander, 12th Battalion, U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command, the state’s top military recruiter, and Ms. Merry Eisner, President of the Maryland Parent Teacher Association. Lt. Col. Beveridge opposed the universal selection of Option 8, arguing that the military, not parents, should ultimately decide on the release of student information gathered through the administration of the ASVAB. Ms. Eisner testified that parents should make these decisions. The legislation carried. | Lt. Col Beveridge's Letter
Ms. Eisner's Letter
Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich advises Ohio high school students they are not required to take the ASVAB. Although Pentagon data neglects to report mandatory testing in the Buckeye state, the practice is widespread.
State and local school officials are often unaware of the existence of ASVAB Release Options. The selection of Release Option 8 by school officials means test results cannot be used by recruiters for enlistment purposes without parental consent.
State #Tested % Opt. 8
Alabama 19653 3.7
Alaska 2631 6.8
Arizona 19881 0
Arkansas 14684 5.3
California 53836 29.6
Colorado 5525 44.2
Connecticut 3750 43.9
Delaware 1420 1.5
Florida 39063 8.8
Georgia 36246 0
Hawaii 4874 58.9
Idaho 6107 8.0
Illinois 8702 10.2
Indiana 12391 18.8
Iowa 7995 26.4
Kansas 4495 10.8
Kentucky 30527 10.9
Louisiana 12007 5.6
Maine 2887 1.1
Maryland 9933 77.2
Massachusetts 4028 43.5
Michigan 16058 13.8
Minnesota 12459 49.8
Mississippi 16933 1.0
Missouri 27195 2.2
Montana 4523 7.2
Nebraska 8130 34.8
Nevada 5062 4.3
New Hampshire 1175 30.3
New Jersey 6519 18.1
New Mexico 7240 8.8
New York 13333 27.9
North Carolina 19731 13.4
North Dakota 3817 0
Ohio 22168 7.5
Oklahoma 13168 6.8
Oregon 9300 57.2
Pennsylvania 24579 8.9
Rhode Island 548 41.8
South Carolina 15140 20.2
South Dakota 4244 0
Tennessee 20897 3.7
Texas 57003 15.5
Utah 9873 8.6
Vermont 367 49.3
Virginia 13914 12.1
Washington 11417 30.1
Washington, DC 378 0
West Virginia 4019 2.9
Wisconsin 8578 31.3
Wyoming 1340 22.2
American Samoa 716 12.8
Fed. Micronesia 1457 0
Guam 2527 25.3
Marshall Islands 522 0
Marianas 929 62.1
Puerto Rico 5663 0
Virgin Islands 1269 0
Student Privacy and the Military in Connecticut
by Pat Elder | Apr 21, 2014
We're dumfounded witnessing the influence apparently wielded by the military in Connecticut’s General Assembly. Its influence runs counter to the sensibilities and civil liberties of the citizens of the Constitution State. Apparently the Department of Defense has such clout few have the courage or political will to oppose it. This is not what democracy looks like. See CT News Junkie for more.
of ASVAB Testing
This spreadsheet with statistics from all 50 states and territories was compiled using data released by the Freedom of Information Office of the Secretary of Defense in December of 2013.
STATE ASVAB DATA
Click below to access your state’s ASVAB statistics.
The database includes the name and location of 11,700 schools administering the test, along with the most
current test date, the total of those who took the test, a breakdown by grade, and the release option chosen.
Click Here to access your state’s ASVAB data.
Click Here to access the entire national database.
The database was released after a protracted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. It is full of inaccuracies, omissions, and contradictions.
The American Public Health Association calls for cessation of ASVAB testing for recruiting purposes.
"Recruiters infuse counseling offices with the ASVAB—to assist young people in making career choices (with scores forwarded to recruiters). Nothing in the Recruiter's manual advises recruiters to reveal the risks their prospects face, neither the physical hazards on the battlefield nor the psychological trauma and its aftereffects." More
U.N. calls on US to stop mandatory military testing
In early 2013 The UN's Committee on the Rights of the Child called on the Obama Administration to "Ensure that schools, parents and pupils are made aware of the voluntary nature of the ASVAB before consenting to the participation into it." More