Student privacy protections
may be undermined
For years DOD recruiting commanders have attempted to circumvent student privacy protections that are designed to shield minors from the wholesale transfer of student information from the nation’s high schools to the Pentagon’s Military Entrance Processing Command.
The DOD markets “career opportunities” through the schools, relying on a variety of methods, from Channel One, a 12-minute, highly commercialized, daily TV program that reaches as many as 5 million children a day, to various posters and announcements touting military service or other schemes like the Career Exploration Program. For the most part, however, these outreach efforts ultimately rely on the schools as a third party from which to extract student data. Until now, the DOD’s quest for greater access to children has been somewhat stymied by pesky state and federal laws that regulate the flow of student information from the schools.
Imagine then, the Pentagon’s keen interest in a plan by upstart SkoolLive LLC of Fallbrook, CA to install thousands of giant 6-foot i-phones with flashing, screaming, streaming interactive screens in thousands of high school hallways across the country. These life-size digital kiosks allow kids to directly upload their personal information without having to deal with school policies or state and federal laws!
The company has agreements with more than 2,000 schools in 27 states and intends to triple that number, according to press reports.
According to SkoolLive, school officials allow the free installation of these devices because they are convinced the gadgets “enrich a student’s school experience by replacing mundane printed posters with high quality digital ads that require less space, reduce visual clutter, move schools into the digital age, and saves tons of time, money and trees.” http://www.skoollive.com/#!about-us/mainPage
But these officials may not be seeing the entire picture.
From the screen of the SkoolLive website directed toward potential advertisers, "The SkoolLive Kiosk screens are touch sensitive. The feature allows the company to offer “interactive” ads. With this interactive feature, advertisers are able to conduct student surveys, determine product preferences, enter contests, send text messages containing promo codes, discount coupons, etc. Our proprietary software captures and analyzes this valuable data, providing advertisers the analytics and feedback necessary to effectively measure audience acceptance as well as the effectiveness of their ad."
The placement of these SkoolLive kiosks may, however, circumvent The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Generally, the law states that schools may disclose information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, etc., but the schools are required to allow parents to request that the school not disclose information about children. Many state laws go even further in protecting student rights. By allowing the placement of these giant interactive kiosks, schools, in essence, may be allowing the transfer of student information without providing for parental consent.
Additionally, SkoolLive’s interactive hallway contraptions may be violating Section 8025 of the Every Student Succeeds Act, (ESSA) https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/1177/text
Interactive Army advertising on giant kiosks
The law says schools shall provide, upon a request made by a military recruiter, access to the name, address, and telephone listing of a high school student, unless the parent submits a written request, to the school, that the child’s information not be released. Schools must notify parents of their right to opt out. SkoolLive’s kiosks remove the role of the school and allow the military to extract information directly from unassuming minors.
Not only that, but schools stand to make thousands off of each kiosk per month, the company claims, depending on the marketing dollars each generates, although SkoolLive may be exaggerating the income potential of the 6 foot i-pads. SkoolLive officials apparently told Chris Marczak, assistant superintendent of Oak Ridge High School in Tennessee, the company had estimated each kiosk could generate between $2,000 and $5,000 monthly for each of its schools.
The interactive capability is sold as a way for students to access more information about a particular notice or event. Need to know more about purchasing high school rings or yearbooks? Click here. Want to leave your contact info for an advertiser to get in touch? It’s simple!
Want to know more about jobs in the Army or more specifically, how to find out more about taking the military’s enlistment test, the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery? That information is readily available is a slick, colorful, interactive format in high schools across the country and it may be coming to a school near you. SkoolLive describes the Army’s use of their interactive kiosks this way, "The Army wanted students to be aware of Army career options while learning student preferences. As a part of their Career Exploration Program, the Army ran a full-screen video interactive career survey. Students entered their grade, selected their career preference and registered to win one of three prizes given away monthly. Winners were showcased in a follow up ad.
Jim Metrock, of Birmingham, AL heads Obligation Inc., http://www.obligation.org/ a brilliant public interest group that opposes commercialism in schools. "A captive audience of school children is very attractive to advertisers," he said. "This is taxpayer-funded school time, and it doesn't make sense that companies can buy time to have with students." Nonetheless, SkoolLive’s venture is much in line with the corporatization and militarization of America’s schools. For more information on the role of the military in SkoolLive’s business plan, contact Armed Forces Representative MAJ (Ret) Jason C. Hall, email@example.com
ASVAB in the news
Military Whitewash Campaign Kills Student Privacy Bill in Connecticut
A bill that would have protected the privacy of Connecticut's schoolchildren was defeated in May largely due to a misinformation campaign by the military recruiting command.
"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
Is ASVAB useful in predicting
success in college - or not?
The official ASVAB website says the test does a poor job as a predictor of success for students who desire to go to college. The DOD site admits that the ASVAB is an improper substitute for the ACT or SAT because "the ASVAB is designed to predict success in the military.”
From the website: "Why can’t I use my ACT or SAT score to enter the military? "The ASVAB is designed for a different purpose than the ACT and SAT. The ASVAB is designed to predict success in the military, while the ACT and SAT are designed to predict success in college. As a result, the content of the ASVAB is different from the content of the ACT and SAT, and different examinee populations take the ASVAB and ACT and SAT tests. Therefore, performance on the ACT or SAT is not necessarily a very good substitute for performance on the ASVAB, or vice versa."
In contrast to the above, examine this snippet fed to schools to promote the ASVAB to students, "Whether you’re planning on college, a technical school, or you’re just not sure yet, the ASVAB Career Exploration Program can provide you with important information about your skills, abilities and interests – and help put you on the right course for a satisfying career. See your counselor for more information."
Outgoing Recruiting Commander Admits ASVAB is Losing Popularity in the Nation's Schools
In one of his last public comments regarding ASVAB testing, departing US Army Recruiting Commander Maj. Gen. Allen Batschelet admitted the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is losing its popularity in the nation’s high schools. “We’re seeing an increasing trend with schools shutting us out from access or making access pretty restricted,” Batschelet said. “Schools are either choosing to not administer the ASVAB or withholding results from recruiters.”
“There are unintended consequences, Batschelet explained, “because we think it is indirectly sending the signal that service to country in the military is not an honorable profession or something to which you should aspire.”
Batschelet is drawing the wrong conclusions to explain the test’s unpopularity.
Sorry, general. It’s the privacy! School officials are discerning the malfeasance of the ASVAB testing program and parents feel they should be entitled to make decisions regarding the release of their children’s personal information, rather than the recruiting command!
Why work against military recruiting?
The Department of Defense is in desperate need of reform. There’s just not a lot of truly visionary thinking going on between those shaved temples in the minds of the men who run the recruiting command. American society has undergone revolutionary change in the last generation but the Pentagon is very, very slow to catch on and they’re deservedly suffering the consequence for their reactionary stances on the most pressing issues they face. They talk the talk but little changes.
The tide is turning and the recruiting command is seriously feeling the pinch. As long as the US Military Entrance Processing Command sees us and others who seek reform as threats and enemies of the state, there's little chance despicable conditions in the chain of command will improve. We are their brothers and sisters and we also love this country, although we view things very differently...
Consider the startling statistic that there have been more than 20,000 deserters in the Army alone during the period from 2006 to 2014. Desertion is so common the military often looks the other way. The Army has pursued just 1,900 cases of desertion since 2001, and most of these prosecutions have resulted in little more than a slap on the wrist.
Desertions are just one manifestation of a dysfunctional American military. The overwhelming majority of Americans who are ripe for military service aren’t interested or don’t qualify. The recruiting command is experiencing its greatest crisis since the end of the draft in 1973, although most Americans are oblivious.
The military's marketing pitch sounds pretty enticing but 15 percent of all enlistees don't make it through initial-entry training, and another 25 percent leave during their first permanent duty assignment in the operational Army. The means 40% of all Army enlistees never complete their first term. (2) The U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command is headed for a calamity on many fronts. More.
New Hampshire Passes
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.
The data covers the 2012-2013 school year. We're waiting for the results of our most recent FOIA request.
Click Here to access your state’s ASVAB data.
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.
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.
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."
See Concluding Observations IV 21 (c)
Recruiting & Testing in the Parochial Schools
Summer is the season for high school football practice. Two years ago, the players at Central Catholic High School in Portland, Ore., got a different kind of coaching. For the first time, U.S. Army recruiters volunteered to run Central Catholics’ Rams through their strength and conditioning paces—helping them prepare for the annual “Holy War” match-up against arch-rival Jesuit High School.
According to an article in the Recruiter Journal (the monthly magazine for Army recruiting), the Army “footprint” for the big game included a Humvee parked outside the stadium, and a pre-kickoff event in which local recruiters placed “unit patch decals from various Army divisions” onto players’ helmets.
“Not once at practice did we talk about the Army,” said one of the recruiters. “It wasn’t about the Army, it was about how we can integrate ourselves into the community in a way the community will accept us and not feel like we are a threat.” In 2014, one of Central Catholic’s standout players was selected to participate in the annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl, a national football showcase which has been described as both the “crown jewel” in Army marketing strategy and a “springboard to bolster recruiting efforts.” Each year, a different coach is selected to lead the squad of the nation’s top high school players, and in 2013 the squad was led by a man who by then was quite well known in Army recruiting circles: Central Catholic’s football coach, Steve Pyne.
In recent years, the Pentagon’s military recruiting capabilities have experienced a quantum leap—including unprecedented access to Christian schools.