Tomorrow we enroll our daughter at the local high school. In preparation we’re filling out the paperwork: address and phone, prior schools, information about parents, and so on. “Who may pick your child up from school?” Mother and father. “May we include this student’s address in the Student Directory?” Yes. “Do you grant permission to release video and/or still photographs of this student to media groups?” Hmm, I guess, sure. “Do you grant permission to release information about this student to military recruiting officers.” What? No, of course not.
We turn to the next form: Parents’ and Students’ Opt-Out Form for Disclosure of Personal Information to Military. Again? Here’s what it says:
According to the Federal No Child Left Behind act of 2001: “(1) …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.” …The No Child Left Behind Act REQUIRES that the school district provide student names, addresses, phone numbers to recruiters from the U.S. military and institutions of higher education UNLESS a parent or the student request in writing that this information be withheld.
No Child Left Behind is the Bush program for improving educational quality and accountability in primary and secondary schools. How does providing information about our daughter to the military enhance the quality of her education? At least this school makes it explicit that we can opt out of this requirement — I suspect that a lot of schools don’t even bother.
So we check the box: “I request that you DO NOT release the name etc. to any Armed Forces recruiter or the US Department of Defense.” But then the next box throws us: “I request that you DO NOT release etc. to any institution of higher education.” Our first reaction: sure, release the information; it might help when the time comes for university. But wait a minute… why is this question on the same form as the military recruitment form? Maybe it’s a trick question; maybe if we check the first box but not the second the high school sends the information to West Point or the Air Force Academy, who then hand over the information to the military recruiters and the Pentagon. No; let’s check that box too.
I wonder if the school is obligated to inform the Pentagon that our daughter just spent four years attending school in France?