If a military/JROTC academy
is starting up or already running in your community, begin raising questions.
Teachers and parents at the school may share your concerns. Meet with the
principal, teachers' union representatives, student groups, or school board
members and challenge them to consider what tradeoffs have been made, whether
a quality program is being provided, and whether the program treats all students
fairly and with respect.
about tradeoffs: What did the school give up to get this program?
- How much school district
funding is going into the academy this year? Next year? Future years? What
else could have been bought with that funding?
- How much federal/military
funding is the program receiving each year?
- Have other programs
in the school or district experienced budget cuts recently (e.g., music,
- What contributions
is the academy getting from the private sector? Might those same resources
have been available for a non-military program?
- What other electives
or special programs might students be enrolled in if JROTC wasn't there?
- What was the space
the academy occupies used for previously? What effect does the academy have
on the space needs of the school's other programs?
- Are jobs normally held
by union members being filled by non-union, retired military personnel?
about educational quality: Are students gaining essential knowledge and skills?
- How was the curriculum
for the academy program developed? Who has evaluated it?
- What is the normal
procedure for the introduction of a new curriculum or text? Was it followed
for the academy? Does the curriculum meet accepted standards?
- Specifically, is the
content of the program consistent with the school's standards and regulations
around issues of multiculturalism, violence, and conflict resolution? Is
marksmanship a component of the curriculum?
- How are the outcomes
(e.g., academic performance, behavior, graduation and dropout rates, post-graduation
success) for academy students being measured and evaluated?
- How do credential requirements
for the military instructors compare to those for other teachers?
- Do courses count toward
college entrance requirements? Are they academically challenging, college
about equity: Are students being treated fairly?
- What does it mean to
call the academy a program for "at-risk youth?" Who can participate? Is
the program closed to students who don't meet minimum standards for academics
- Do special education
students and students with disabilities have full access to the activities,
resources, and classes of the academy, whether or not they meet the qualifications
- Can openly lesbian
or gay students participate in the program? Can they qualify for all the
benefits available to other students (e.g., military-funded college scholarships)?
- Can immigrant students
who are not US citizens participate (despite JROTC's requirement that cadets
be US citizens)?
- Do female students
have female instructors in the academy to serve as role models or mentors?
- If the academy has
special facilities (like a computer lab or modern gym facilities), are these
available to students who cannot or do not choose to be part of the JROTC
- Do participants in
the program, who will receive encouragement to pursue careers in the military,
also receive adequate counseling and encouragement to pursue college, other
career training, and non-military career options?
- Is the academy free
from incidents of hazing and other forms of violence and harassment?