The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) was signed into law on January 8, 2002. It is the current name for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) passed in 1965. The law comprises nine titles and over 50 different programs, the largest of which is known as Title I. Title I supports school districts educating low-income students through federal funds and programs, and includes many opportunities for parent and community involvement.
Section 9528 of the No Child Left Behind Act and related provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002 constitute less than one page of the 1,000 page NCLB law. This section threatens Local Education Agencies (School Districts) with the loss of federal funds if they do not allow military recruiter access at secondary schools receiving federal funds. The text is as follows:
''SEC. 9528. ARMED FORCES RECRUITER ACCESS TO STUDENTS AND STUDENT RECRUITING INFORMATION.
''(1) ACCESS TO STUDENT RECRUITING INFORMATION.-Notwithstanding section 444(a)(5)(B) of the General Education Provisions Act and except as provided in paragraph (2), each local educational agency receiving assistance under this Act shall provide, on a request made by military recruiters or an institution of higher education, access to secondary school students names, addresses, and telephone listings.
''(2) CONSENT.-A secondary school student or the parent of the student may request that the student's name, address, and telephone listing described in paragraph (1) not be released without prior written parental consent, and the local educational agency or private school shall notify parents of the option to make a request and shall comply with any request.
''(3) SAME ACCESS TO STUDENTS.-Each local educational agency receiving assistance under this Act shall provide military recruiters the same access to secondary school students as is provided generally to post secondary educational institutions or to prospective employers of those students.
''(b) NOTIFICATION.-The Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, shall, not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, notify principals, school administrators, and other educators about the requirements of this section.
''(c) EXCEPTION.-The requirements of this section do not apply to a private secondary school that maintains a religious objection to service in the Armed Forces if the objection is verifiable through the corporate or other organizational documents or materials of that school.
''(d) SPECIAL RULE.-A local educational agency prohibited by Connecticut State law (either explicitly by statute or through statutory interpretation by the State Supreme Court or State Attorney General) from providing military recruiters with information or access as required by this section shall have until May 31, 2002, to comply with that requirement.
The Public Education Network (PEN) , a national association working to advance public school reform in low-income communities across the country states the following:
What You Need to Know ...
NCLB Section 9528, US Department of Education Policy Guidance* and National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002:
• Allows military recruiters access to secondary school students names, addresses, and telephone listings (Section 9528)
• Gives the students or parents the right to request that this information not be released to military recruiters without prior written parental consent (Section 9528)
• Requires that the local education agency or private school shall notify parents of their option to make this request (Section 9528)
• The notification must advise the parent on how to opt out, including a timeline in which to do so (Policy Guidance)
• Parents must be notified of this option through a letter, within a student handbook, or by any means that is "reasonably calculated" enough to inform them (Policy Guidance)
• The local education agency or private school shall comply with any request (Section 9528)
• The same information that is generally provided to post secondary educational institutions or to prospective employers can be shared with military recruiters, and must be if the LEA is receiving any assistance under the NCLB Act (Section 9528)
• Schools that do not comply with Section 9528 of the NCLB Act could jeopardize their receipt of the NCLB Act funds. In addition, a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002 requires a senior military officer to visit the school district within 120 days of the denial of recruiter access. If the problem is not resolved, the US Department of Defense then notifies the Governor of the district's sate. Unresolved problems over one year old are reported to Congress. (Policy Guidance and National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002)
• Schools that maintain a verifiable religious objection to service in the Armed Forces are an exception to the Section 9528 requirements (Section 9528)
*Policy Guidance is not binding and does not have the force of law