No Cadet Left Behind

Intern

A new Marine Military Academy opens this Monday on Chicago’s near West side. According to this article from the Chicago Tribune, Chicago already “has the nation’s largest junior cadet program.”Tensions surrounding Chicago’s Public School system are already high, because of recent reports that reveal a decrease in the number of children passing state exams required by No Child Left Behind. According to Chicago Public School Chief Arne Duncan, “What existed before simply did not work for far too many students,” and “[Junior ROTCs] are popular and have waiting lists, so that tells me parents want more of them.”Waiting lists for these academies do not automatically translate into parents and communities wanting more military academies. It seems to me that people recognize that there is a problem with the current public school system and are left with few options when it comes to getting a decent education for their children.Of course, the parents who are left with the fewest options are those with the lowest incomes. The Tribune reports that: “More than 11,000 students are enrolled in the district's five military academies -- most of them low-income minority students -- and nearly three-dozen high school-based Junior ROTC programs.”These academies are targeting low-income minority families and claiming that they are not recruiting tools. You can read more about the military luring teens to enlist and the problems this creates here. This situation reminds me of the G.I. Bill and other education-based incentives used to recruit soldiers. And in a time when enrollment is low, no wonder the military is moving into troubled school districts to build these academies. The Military is exploiting people for whom public school systems have failed, and these people are the low-income and poor.What “parents want more of” are not military schools, but a solution for the poor performance levels of the schools we already have.by Becki Scholl, publishing intern

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