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A Military Recruiting Tool in High Schools

Posted by libhom Thursday, August 21, 2008

This is from New York Peace Action. I didn't know about this, and I figured you might not either.

Dear Peace Advocate,

On August 6th The Philadelphia Inquirer created a major breakthrough in our collective counter-recruitment work by publishing an investigative report on the ASVAB, or Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, the military’s tool for finding and sorting potential high school recruits.

The ASVAB is a test that is often marketed in schools as a “career exploration program” without mentioning that scores are turned over to the military so that recruiters can hand-select the students they wish to contact.

High schools around the country have different policies on the ASVAB. Some don’t offer the test. Some students have the option of taking the test. Some schools require all students to take the test, but don’t report the scores to the military and some schools require all students to take the exam, and then turn the results over to the military.

As a result of a Freedom of Information Act request, the Inquirer was able to gain access to a database of the 11,900 high schools - 364 in New York State - that gave the ASVAB test to 621,000 students in 2006-07. Each school is listed with information on how many students took the test, whether the test is mandatory, and whether the results are given to the military. (The search function doesn't work well - use the "View by State" function instead.)

In your five minutes for peace this week, please see where your local high school is on the ASVAB continuum and write to your school board or principal. If necessary, demand that your local school join school leaders and administrators across the country in protecting students’ privacy. If your local school already protects students from the disinformation of military recruiters, make sure to take the opportunity to thank them.

As always, thanks for all you do.

One thing that really creeps me out is that some high schools make the test mandatory. If I were one of the students at those schools, I would really screw up the test, especially in any area that sounded like it was related to fighting in wars. It's not like the test is used for college admissions. I also wonder how much the various schools disclose to students and parents about how the data is being used.

Data comparing the class and racial makeups of the schools' students to the levels of participation in ASVAB would be interesting and relevant.

The database is nationwide, so you don't have to live in New York to find out about your local school.



  1. Good grief! That's pretty scary. I checked for my town's high school and found that it doesn't give the test. You're right that data on student body class and racial makeup would be pertinent. Interestingly, I'm in a wealthy white school district, though I'm not wealthy. I'd bet that if my district were poor and heavily black and/or Latino, the high school would give the test—and report the scores to the military.

  2. Dave Dubya Says:
  3. Nothing to be alarmed about here.

    It's what all the other militarized police states do.

    If that doesn't wake up younger people, Johnny McMorewar's draft will.

  4. Anonymous Says:
  5. You know I don't think the test is such a bad idea as long as it is voluntary, not giving people the choice is what scares me, even more so when the school just hands over the scores to the military without informing the test taker.



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