Articles

JROTC as a substitute for PE: really?

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.

The Militarization of Catholic Jesuit University Education

Robert Graf -

Not Your (Grand) Father’s Military

 

St. Ignatius surrenders his weapons
St. Ignatius
surrenders his weapons

St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, became a “soldier of Christ,” laying down his worldly weapons before the statue of the Black Madonna at Montserrat and exchanging his royal clothes for the rags of a beggar. Both before and after his conversion, he was a Catholic; but only after his conversion was his first loyalty to Jesus and not to the state.

The modern Jesuit university, Marquette University being one example, is doing the reverse. It is taking up the weapons of war at the request of the government and is adapting its Christian values to accommodate military education and training. It still calls itself Catholic, but has made itself beholden to the governing authority, with its immense military establishment, and in the process is marginalizing the teachings of Jesus and of the Church.

In 1968, at the height of the civil rights and peace movements, Marquette gave in to the pressures of students and society and opened it’s doors more widely to minority students. However the same year when many of the same students who had worked for civil rights began resisting the military presence on campus, Marquette held it’s ground.

Since that time, Jesuit universities have increasingly permitted the militarization of education. The military presence today on Jesuit campuses makes what was permitted in 1968 pale in comparison.

Army Report Analyzes Decreasing Popularity of High School Military Testing

Paula Hoffman-Villanueva -

ASVAB TestingWe hear a great deal about the over-use of tests in schools, but one test that we all need to pay more attention to is the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery). The ASVAB is purported to be a series of vocational interest and academic skills tests, and the emblem of the sponsoring Department of Defense is intentionally downplayed on the testing materials. Since 1968, millions of high school students have taken the ASVAB and, as a result, have unwittingly given the military access to their personal information. This information is then turned over to recruiters, raising serious legal concerns regarding privacy rights and protections.

Recently the Army Command and General Staff College published and approved for distribution a 2012 graduate thesis by Major Gregory V. Humble, who examines the question: "Why do schools choose to not release ASVAB scores to military recruiters?" Such studies are sometimes circulated to inform military policy and practices, and this one contains some valuable information, including statistics, that the public does not usually have easy access to.

The Impact of Media Violence on Children and Adolescents: Opportunities for Clinical Interventions

Eugene V Beresin, M.D. -

Media Violence and childrenWhile violence is not new to the human race, it is an increasing problem in modern society. With greater access to firearms and explosives, the scope and efficiency of violent behavior has had serious consequences. We need only look at the recent school shootings and the escalating rate of youth homicides among urban adolescents to appreciate the extent of this ominous trend. While the causes of youth violence are multifactorial and include such variables as poverty, family psychopathology, child abuse, exposure to domestic and community violence, substance abuse and other psychiatric disorders, the research literature is quite compelling that children's exposure to media violence plays an important role in the etiology of violent behavior. While it is difficult to determine which children who have experienced televised violence are at greatest risk, there appears to be a strong correlation between media violence and aggressive behavior within vulnerable "at risk" segments of youth. In this article, I will briefly review the impact of media violence on children and adolescents, and indicate the vital role physicians can play in helping to diminish this powerful cause of violent behavior.

Teaching War

Todd Finley -

Perpetual war cannot be discussedMy town borders a military base. Almost all my students have a father or brother or sister serving. In meeting these soldiers, I find they have the dignity of redwoods. To question the premise of our foreign engagements would be like shredding their bark. Yet, teaching war must go beyond the "good-evil" rhetoric of politicians and spin doctors and focus instead on the nuances: How and why do we get into wars? Is war working as a means to resolve our conflicts?

The Danger of Asking Hard Questions

In a neighboring school district, a high school principal refused to allow students to dramatize the United States' military presence in Iraq. The topic, he asserted, was "too sensitive." Authorized classroom conversations and texts related to war tend to be removed by history or geography. The Diary of Anne Frank meets both criteria. Additionally, almost every passage is chillingly intimate, thus making it a popular, albeit still challenged, curricular choice.

Awkward classroom silences and rolled eyes accompany teachers who espouse opinions about war profiteering. The only safe places to discuss, write about, or dramatize war are where everyone agrees with everyone else, or where the instructor has created a climate of trust. Teachers who introduce discussions of contemporary military engagements by the United States risk community blowback. Anti-war talk can be perceived as unpatriotic. Talk radio still pillories Jane Fonda, not for ruining a generation of female knees with her videos on high impact aerobics, but for her anti-war views. The threat is real for teachers who risk asking questions.

Peaceful Vocations Demands Option 8 Privacy Protections for Texan High School Youth

Peaceful Vocations -

On April 19, 2013, Diane Wood, Peaceful Vocations member and representative of the Texas Coalition to Protect Student Privacy member, presented to the Texas State Board in Austin, TX the request that “Option 8” be the choice for all Texas schools when administering the ASVAB.

The Texas state organization, the Texas Coalition to Support Student Privacy, was initiated by Peaceful Vocations and formed in 2012.  The purpose was to address the abysmal numbers of Texas students to whom the ASVAB is administered yearly.  This group's formulation is an off-spring from the group formed by Pat Elder, the National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy. Three organizations in Texas have joined us in an action to address the issue regarding ASVAB to the Texas State Board of Education (see letter below).  During the past year we launched a letter writing campaign to the Texas State Board of Education board members.

Click on images to play YouTube videos of TBOE Meeting with Peaceful Vocations



This effort was also an excellent tool to provide education to the community and an opportunity for action.   Parents and students have sent letters to various Texas State Board of Education members.  Please contact us, if you would like to get involved at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.! Read the letter submitted to the Texas State Board of Education below:

Counter-recruitment revisited: Students against the Draft and War challenges the school administration at Foss high school in Tacoma Washington

Today, 5 May, we ae planning to hold a teach-in against military recruitment in schools. However, under pressure from the JROTC at my school, my principal, Sharon Schauss, informed me yesterday that our meeting would be cancelled. This is a violation of our free speech rights and is effectively denying dozens of students interested in Students Against the Draft and War the right to organize. Meanwhile, military recruiters and the JROTC program have the freedom to regularly push their agenda at my school


Picture: Lui Kit Wong/The News Tribune, Tacoma, WA Eight years ago today, a contingent of socialist youth calling themselves Students against the Draft and War, challenges the school administration at Foss high school in Tacoma Washington, when told that their intention to have a meeting to organize a counter-recruitment action against military recruiters on their campus would not be permitted. Below is a re-posting of the documentation of the event, including the telling by the lead organizer, Clara Lightner, and the news stories that followed, the victory of these youth to prevail against the military recruiters in their school, and the follow-up interview with Clara.

In the age of Obama, and on the eve of another war for the United States in Syria, this seems an appropriate moment to retell this story to show the contrasts between the Bush and Obama eras, and maybe to spark another resistance against the next violation of the rights of our youth to be able to imagine their futures without violence pre-configured by foreign policy and the health risk this imposes on their futures and our democracy as a people.

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