Pat Elder

Pat ElderPat Elder was a co-founder of the DC Antiwar Network (DAWN) and a member of the Steering Committee of the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth, (NNOMY).  Pat is currently involved in counter-recruitment projects in a dozen jurisdictions in the DC metropolitan area.  Pat’s work has prominently appeared in NSA documents tracking domestic peace groups.

 

Documents:

audio Pat Elder - National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth

Military Recruiting And How To Confront It

Pat Elder | Originally published in Popular Resistance - June 29, 2017

Wars start in our high schools and this is where we can end them.

This year the Army’s goal is to recruit 80,000 active duty and reserve soldiers. The Navy is trying to sign up 42,000; the Air Force is looking for 27,000, and the Marines hope to bring on 38,000. That comes to 187,000.  The Army National Guard will also attempt to lure 40,000.

Military youth swearing inThese soldiers are needed to maintain the status quo for a year, aside from a last-minute increase of 6,000 additional Army soldiers added by President Obama.

The Pentagon is attempting to recruit somewhere around 227,000 troops this year, and they’re having one hell of a time finding them, even while they enjoy unprecedented physical access to kids in our high schools and equally unprecedented exposure to their minds through popular culture.  In 2010 there were 30.7 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 24. 227,000 works out to .73% of prime recruiting age.

The military is forced to relax several standards to bring in soldiers. They say today’s kids are either too fat or too dumb or too misbehaved to make the grade.  They claim youth are misinformed about life in the military, but we know most youth don’t want to relinquish their freedom and risk their lives to serve in a military that is overly enthusiastic about going to war.

SkoolLive - School Jive - A new, interactive digital invasion of our high schools by corporations and the military

Pat Elder -

For years DOD recruiting commanders have attempted to circumvent student privacy protections that are designed to shield minors from the wholesale transfer of student information from the nation's high schools to the Pentagon's Military Entrance Processing Command.

The DOD markets "career opportunities" through the schools, relying on a variety of methods, from Channel One, a 12-minute, highly commercialized, daily TV program that reaches as many as 5 million children a day, to various posters and announcements touting military service or other schemes like the Career Exploration Program. For the most part, however, these outreach efforts ultimately rely on the schools as a third party from which to extract student data. Until now, the DOD's quest for greater access to children has been somewhat stymied by pesky state and federal laws that regulate the flow of student information from the schools.

Halt the military invasion of Catholic schools

By Pat Elder -

Image: Flickr photo cc by Debra SweetDuring the Second Battle of Fallujah in November 2004, 1st Lt. Jesse A. Grapes saved the lives of three wounded marines in his platoon by entering a burning house, where he encountered the enemy soldier who had been firing at his troops. Six years later Grapes was named headmaster of Benedictine College Preparatory, a Catholic military school in Richmond, Virginia. The June 2010 issue of the school’s newspaper, The New Chevron, called Grapes a “patriotic war hero.”

In describing Grapes’ Iraq War exploits, Benedictine’s student newspaper dismissed the fact he was accused of ordering marines under his command to shoot four captured prisoners. Grapes refused to talk to government investigators, citing his Fifth Amendment rights.

It’s quite a lesson for students at Benedictine, which is kind of a poster child for the modern militarized Catholic school. Every year Benedictine requires all juniors to take the military entrance exam. The school operates an Army JROTC program and has a student organization that teaches students how to use small arms. Of course, these are expected activities in a military school. The question is whether these activities are appropriate in a Catholic school.

Military testing in the nation's high schools is a violation of student privacy

Pat Elder -

Pat ElderDuring the last year or so about half of the states have enacted legislation aimed at protecting student privacy. Meanwhile, President Obama has called for a Student Data Privacy Act, saying “data collected on students in the classroom should only be used for educational purposes — to teach our children, not to market to our children.”

Most of the new laws and the President’s proposal have omitted the most egregious violation of student privacy in the nation. It is the Department of Defense’s administration of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to more than 650,000 children in 12,000 high schools and the retention of demographic information, social security numbers, and 3 hours of test results for recruiting purposes without parental consent.

A Military Whitewash Campaign

Pat Elder - The National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy -

We own your freedomA bill that would have protected the privacy of Connecticut's school children was recently defeated by the Democratically-controlled General Assembly. The legislation was designed to prohibit the release of student information without parental consent.

Parents should be confident that they can send their children to school and know that extremely sensitive information about their child's verbal and math abilities will not be sent to a third party without their knowledge or consent. Parents should not have to worry that detailed demographic information, including social security numbers, are released without their O.K.

Parents have cause to be concerned because the military is excluded from the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). - That's the Federal law, passed in 1982 that allows mom and dad the opportunity to consent to the release of any information about their kids. (1)

SB 423 is a bill that would have prohibited the wholesale release of student information to military recruiters gained through the administration of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Career Exploration Program (ASVAB-CEP) without parental consent.

Few realize that it's possible for a Connecticut child to attend school, take a military entrance exam proctored by DoD employees and have all the information sent to military recruiters without parents knowing about it.

The legislation would still allow the military to use the ASVAB for recruiting purposes. (2) Instead, a student would have to visit a military recruiter and fill out a form to use the test scores for enlistment. ASVAB results are the only information leaving Connecticut's schools about students without providing for parental consent. It's a violation of civil liberties and it should stop.

Statewide ASVAB Option 8 Bill SB 423, Advances in Connecticut

Pat Elder -

Members of the Connecticut House of Representatives meet during the final day of session at the Capitol in Hartford, Conn., Wednesday, June 5, 2013.We’re working with the ACLU of Connecticut to pass SB 423, a bill that would protect the privacy of high school students who take the ASVAB.  On March 19, 2014, SB 423 passed the Connecticut Education Committee 22-10 on a purely partisan vote.

We’re hopeful the bill will make it to the floor.  Ahead of the vote, the committee received this testimony opposed to the legislation from Lt. Colonel Michael D. Coleman, Commander, U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion, Albany, NY. The letter apparently didn’t sway a single Democratic vote.

For those of us across the country who have been working on this issue for years, this letter represents the epitome of deception, ignorance and arrogance. Please take a moment to read the Lt. Colonel’s letter and our response. 

Linchpin of Pentagon’s School-based Recruitment: Student Testing Program (ASVAB) Rife with Errors and Contradictions

Pat Elder -

Student Privacy Compromised by Massive Program

Pentagon's ASVAB testingIn late December, 2013 the Department of Defense released a database on the military’s controversial Student Testing Program in 11,700 high schools across the country.  An examination of the complex and contradictory dataset raises serious issues regarding student privacy and the integrity of the Student Testing Program in America’s schools.

The data was released after a protracted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

See the State ASVAB Databases and the National Database.

The DoD’s Freedom of Information office reports that 678,000 students participated in the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Career Exploration Program (ASVAB-CEP) during the 2012-2013 school year, down nearly 10% from the previous school year. The three-hour test is the linchpin of the Pentagon’s school-based recruiting program and provides the Military Entrance Processing Command (USMEPCOM) an invaluable tool in prescreening candidates for military service.

The ASVAB is the military’s entrance exam that is given to fresh recruits to determine their aptitude for various military occupations. Since 1968 the test has also been used as a recruiting tool in high schools. It’s used by USMEPCOM to gain sensitive, personal information on high school students, the vast majority of whom are under the age of 18. Students typically take the test at school without parental consent and often without parental knowledge.

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