However, there’s another group of outsiders in schools we should be wary of: the U.S. military.
Since the end of the draft in 1973, the U.S. has relied on an all-volunteer service to maintain its 1.3 million-member global police force. Over the years the military has used a number of different recruitment methods, but the target audience has always been the same: high schoolers.
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 significantly changed how military recruiters reach teenagers. Section 9528 mandates public high schools give military recruiters the same access to students that college recruiters get, including their personal contact information. Schools became gold mines for recruiting “future soldiers.”
Last month, after the Senate Armed Services Committee, meeting in closed session, approved and sent to the Senate floor a version of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would expand draft registration to young women as well as young men, a coalition of opponents of the draft called on the Senate to end the failed draft registration program entirely instead of trying to expand it.
But the Wyden-Lummis amendment (S.Amdt. 4161) is only one of 653 amendments to the NDAA that have been proposed in the Senate, and the Senate won’t have time to consider or vote on most of these amendments. Opponents of conscription and war should encourage Senators to support the Wyden-Lummis amendment to the FY 2022 NDAA, and continue to urge Senators and Representatives to endorse the Selective Service Repeal Act of 2021 (H.R. 2509/S. 1139). Regardless of last-minute lobbying, however, the Senate is likely to join the House this month in voting to authorize the expansion of Selective Service to women, without a vote on this proposal in either chamber of Congress except as part of overall votes to approve the entire 3,000-page "must-pass" omnibus bill in which it is included.
That Congress is about to authorize the expansion of draft registration to women does not mean that it’s a fait accompli, however. Under both the House and Senate versions of the FY 2022, the authorization for the President to order women to register for a possible draft would not take effect until a year after its enactment. It’s possible that, having made their point about supposed gender equality in war, some in Congress could get cold feet or come to their senses next year, and repeal the authority for draft registration entirely before trying to follow through on implementing its expansion to women (and risking another embarrassing fiasco like the one that followed the attempt to get men to register with Selective Service in the 1980s).
Rick Jahnkow / Committee Opposed to Militarism & the Draft - The most immediate danger of expanding draft registration to women is not, as some people think, an increased likelihood of a draft. The chance of that happening anytime in the near future continues to be remote. It wasn’t even on the table for serious government consideration after 9/11, or during the multiple U.S. troop deployments to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
A much more imminent danger is the actions that will be taken in schools to convince the female half of the 18-year-old population to join males in registering with Selective Service.
In the 1980s, we saw how relatively low rates of male draft registration in some parts of the country plagued Selective Service. The agency would issue press releases claiming that young men were overwhelmingly showing their patriotic willingness to submit their names and contact information for the sake of national readiness, but then the media would often report that actual numbers of registrants were below the stated expectations of Selective Service. The embarrassed draft agency had to come up with an excuse for the dearth of registration enthusiasm, and the best it could come up with was that there was a simple lack of awareness among young men. This was despite millions of dollars spent on Selective Service registration promotions and the enormous amount of media coverage devoted to the issue. And when the first registration resister trials were initiated to “send a message” about the risks of non-compliance, we learned in California that the state’s registration rate went down!
Following this House committee vote and an earlier Senate committee vote in July (before Congress’s summer vacation), the versions of the annual "must-pass" National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to be considered later this fall in both the House and Senate will include provisions requiring women to register for the draft within 30 days of their 18th birthday and report to the Selective Service System each time they change their address until their 26th birthday, as young men have been required to do since 1980.
An alternative compromise amendment to suspend draft registration unless the President declared a national emergency and put the Selective Service System into standby was submitted before today’s committee session, but ruled out of order on the basis of arcane PAYGO procedural rules. Under the same rules, the amendment to the NDAA to expand draft registration to women was ruled in order, considered, and adopted without any antiwar opposition from members of the committee.
Monica A. F. Lounsbery, Kathryn A. Holt, Shannon A. Monnat, Thomas L. McKenzie, and Brian Funk - Physical inactivity is receiving growing attention given its documented relationship to a variety of chronic health (Strong et al., 2005) and metabolic challenges (Owen, Healy, Matthews, & Dunstan, 2010) and the fact that most adults and children do not meet physical activity guidelines (Troiano et al., 2008; USDHHS, 2008). For over two decades, the importance of schools in providing and promoting physical activity has been consistently emphasized (Institute of Medicine, 2013; Pate et al., 2008), but with the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2001, school physical activity programs, including physical education (PE), have instead sustained reduced time and resource allocations (McKenzie & Lounsbery, 2009).
PE is a primary strategy because it (a) is institutionalized as part of the K-12 curriculum and as such, has the potential to reach nearly all students, (b) is the only program where the least active children can experience physical activity at higher intensities, and has the potential to significantly contribute to daily accrual of moderate to vigorous physical activity, increase fitness, develop and improve motor and other generalizable skills. Though PE is a key evidence-based strategy for providing and promoting physical activity (Institute of Medicine, 2013; Ward, 2011) and a goal of Healthy People 2020 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010) there are many practice and policy barriers to its effective delivery; thus, its potential to impact health has not been fully realized (McKenzie & Lounsbery, 2009). Among these policy barriers is the pervasive practice of allowing waivers/exemptions and/or substitutions for physical education. This includes allowing alternative programs such as JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer’s Reserve Corps), interscholastic sports, marching band, cheerleading, and community sports to substitute for PE enrollment (NASPE, 2012), a practice which has been of great concern to the profession (Abernathy, 1960; NASPE, 2006; Sims, 2011) and public health officials (e.g., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011) for many years.
NNOMYnews reports on the growing intrusions by the Department of Defense into our public schools in a campaign to normalize perpetual wars with our youth and to promote the recruitment efforts of the Pentagon.
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