Wednesday, October 01, 2008

This Is Rich

A replacement program wasn't ready in time, so San Francisco has allowed JROTC programs to exist in the city for one more year. You've got to love this, though:

Board members who decided to kick JROTC out of town see it as arm of the military that reaches into schools, discriminating against gays by enforcing the "don't ask, don't tell" mandate, and recruiting teenagers for an unpopular war.

"It's a broader issue about the Bush administration and military recruiting through JROTC," said board member Eric Mar. "It's clear with the military, if you're gay and out, you don't get the same opportunities," he added...

If the aim is recruitment, however, JROTC in San Francisco is a failure. Only two of the 1,465 cadets there signed up for the armed forces after graduation in 2006-2007, the latest year for which numbers are available.

Supporters view the elective course as valuable self-improvement — teaching them discipline, responsibility and leadership skills they say they do not get in other classes. JROTC rules prevent instructors from trying to recruit participants...

They also say the arguments about the war in Iraq and the Pentagon's policy toward gays miss the point: The program in San Francisco is inclusive, with 90 percent minorities and 40 percent women, they say.

Some gay and lesbian student groups have come out in support of JROTC and the ballot measure, saying some of their members have found a home in the program. (boldface mine--Darren)


That last statement can't be true--everyone knows that anyone even remotely involved with anything military is a bigot, a homophobe, an automaton, and anything else bad we can think of.

5 comments:

Donalbain said...

How DOES that work?
Can an openly gay student join the JROTC?

Darren said...

Yes. They're kids--JROTC is *not* the real military. "Don't ask, don't tell" doesn't apply here.

allen (in Michigan) said...

I wonder how much funding the Frisco school district would've had to give up if they booted JROTC? There's an intimation that more then pocket change attends the program:

The ACLU intervened in cases where entire classes were enrolled in JROTC without giving students a choice, or where cash-strapped schools used JROTC to substitute for physical education, said Jennifer Turner, a researcher with the group's Human Rights Program.

Ellen K said...

Many of our JROTC kids take this in lieu of PE, since training is involved that is actually more grueling than real PE. This has provided a safe haven for some kids that don't fit in with the conventional high school crowd. One of my former students, a gothish girl, was in JROTC. To my surprise, she just finished basic training and is headed for Germany! Also many MANY of our Hispanic kids seek out JROTC. They enjoy the training and competition and for some of them, the military is the main way they will get a college education. But I am sure that all of the kids in Frisco are so high achieving that they don't need these programs.

allen (in Michigan) said...

I had a feeling that the "failure" of JROTC, in terms of counter-acting lefty fear and loathing of all things military might be a bit overblown in the article but I was opining that the a big chunk of the reason the board backed off from booting JROTC was that when ideological considerations collide with budgets it's the ideological considerations that quite often give way. Money talks....