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Uncle Barack Wants Your Kids

uncle-barack-wants-you1It’s not often that I agree with unrepentant terrorist, and Obabuddy, William Ayers, but when the man is right he’s right.  Seems Ayers’ neighbor, the Obapresident-elect, and his partners in government crime, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and newly appointed Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, “haf plans” for your children.

Black Agenda Report‘s Bruce Dixon interviewed “Chicago educator and activist, George Schmidt,” who calls Obama’s education secretary and basketball buddy Duncan “an underqualified stooge and privatizer” of education, and is highly critical of the job Duncan has done with the Chicago Public School System, and dropped this interesting tidbit of information:

Beginning in the first days of the 21st century, literally Chicago instituted military high schools. And we’re not talking about high schools that have ROTC programs, we’re talking about high schools that are run by and for the military. The first of those was established in the heart of Bronzeville, the south side community at 35th and Giles, in the old armory there. It’s now the Chicago Military Academy. Since then they’ve set up two more army high schools. Carver and Phoenix, a Marine high school and a naval academy which is named the Hyman Rickover Naval Academy inside Senn High School.

Since I was totally unaware of this program, I decided to do a little research, and yes, the military runs 5 inner city schools:

Today, Chicago has the most militarized public school system in the nation, with Cadet Corps for students in middle-school, over 10,000 students participating in JROTC programs, over 1,000 students enrolled in one of the five, soon-to-be six autonomous military high schools, and hundreds more attending one of the nine military high schools that are called “schools within a school.” Chicago now has a Marine Military Academy, a Naval Academy, and three army high schools. When an air force high school opens next year, Chicago will be the only city in the nation to have academies representing all of these branches of the military. But Chicago is not the only city moving in this direction: The public school systems of other urban centers with largely Black and brown low income students of color, including Philadelphia, Atlanta and Oakland, are being similarly reshaped.

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley is very proud of the military program.  In the fall of 2001, he had this to say:

Congratulations to Oakland mayor Jerry Brown on his plan to open a military academy (see “A Few Good Schools,” Summer 2001). Chicago’s experience with military academies has been overwhelmingly positive. I hope Oakland’s is equally successful.

In 1999 Chicago opened its first public military high school, the Chicago Military Academy at Bronzeville, in a historic African-American neighborhood. Last year the city began converting Carver High School on the Far South Side into its second military school. Both schools are part of the Chicago Public Schools system, not charter schools like Mayor Brown’s academy.

We started these academies because of the success of our Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) program, the nation’s largest. JROTC provides students with the order and discipline that is too often lacking at home. It teaches them time management, responsibility, goal setting, and teamwork, and it builds leadership and self-confidence.

Not surprisingly, the high-school graduation rate for JROTC students in the Chicago Public Schools is 20 percent greater than the citywide average. It’s a little early to measure the success of our academies, but the first class at Bronzeville scored 40 percent better than the citywide average in reading and 30 percent better than the average in math. Perhaps a clearer sign of success is that 1,300 students applied for 110 openings in Bronzeville’s next entering class.

Though a military academy isn’t for everyone, for some it is just what they need in order to make something of their lives.

While proponents claim that the schools do not recruit, and that their ultimate goal is prepare students for college, there’s some evidence that those people are full of hooey.  For one thing, these schools call their students “cadets,” require them to wear uniforms, stress discipline, and teach them to shoot guns.  From AFP:

Dozens of teens dressed in uniforms provided by the US Marines stand at attention in the gym of a Chicago public high school as a drill sergeant goes through a list of the day’s do’s and don’ts.

Bring your books to class. Come for extra help if you need it. And wear your uniform with pride.

“Young men, you think you can get a haircut and say I’m done for two or three weeks. WRONG,” Sgt. Major Thomas Smith Jr. intones.

“Young ladies. There’s been no problem with your uniforms but there is a problem with your ties. Again, I will go through it again. Wear your ties when you come to my class.”

One in 10 public high school students in Chicago wears a military uniform to school and takes classes — including how to shoot a gun properly — from retired veterans.

Also, the webpage of Chicago Military Academy-Bronzeville stresses it’s military curriculum:

Chicago Military Academy (CMAB) is the city’s first comprehensive military academy for high school students. The multicultural school, accepts both male and female students citywide. CMAB has a four-year college prep curriculum in addition to a mandatory Army Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) component. Our last two graduating classes earned over $1.5 million in scholarships and grants. Two of our graduates have been accepted to West Point, and four candidates were accepted to the Citadel. Advanced Placement (AP) classes are offered in four subjects. Honors classes are offered in all core subjects. Virtual courses are also offered.

A student, Natassa Bourkas, had this to say about the advantage of military prep education:

“When people see that we went to a military school, they know we’re obedient, we follow directions, we’re disciplined,” Natassa Bourkas, 16, a student at the Naval academy, told the Tribune.

Needless to say, these schools are not without controversy.  The transcript of a PBS Newshour discussion contains this exchange:

ELIZABETH BRACKETT: Minorities make up 92 percent of the cadet population. Only 4 percent are white, compared to 8 percent of the general Chicago public schools population.There are no public school military academies in Chicago’s suburbs. That disturbs Pauline Lipman, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Education.

PAULINE LIPMAN, University of Illinois at Chicago: When we talk about how these are good schools for these kids, one of the things we want to think about is, why are they not in upper-middle-class white communities? Why are they good schools for low-income African-American and Latino students and not good schools for affluent white kids?


And are we saying that those students need a different kind of discipline, a different kind of regulation, a different kind of option? And I think that’s a form of racial discrimination, and that’s really concerning to me.

It concerns Bill Ayers, too.  On his web page, Ayers, Therese Quinn, and Erica Meiners make the case against the militarization of the school system, summarizing his “radical” ideas on the subject this way:

We live in a city awash in the randomly, tragically spilled blood of our children. We live, all of us, in a violent nation that is regularly spilling the blood of other children, elsewhere. It sickens us to think of students marching and growing comfortable with guns.

In an October, 2007 Chicago Tribune article featuring the dedication of a new Marine Academy, Arne Duncan weighed in:

The dedication of the Marine Military Academy on the Near West Side comesa few days after Chicago officials announced plans to open an Air Forceacademy high school in 2009. If that happens, Chicago will become the onlypublic school district in the nation to have academies dedicated to the Army,Navy, Air Force and Marines.
District officials say the military-themed schools give students morechoices and provide an opportunity to enroll in schools that providestructure, discipline and a focus on leadership. They say the schoolsemphasize academics, not recruitment.
“We have to think outside the box, and what existed before simply did notwork for far too many students,” said Chicago Public Schools Chief ArneDuncan. “These schools are popular and have waiting lists, so that tells meparents want more of them.”

Rahm Emanuel thinks the program is a very good idea too. From his Congressional website, Oct. 15, 2007:

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives joined Mayor Daley and CEO of Chicago Public Schools Arne Duncan at the Marine Military Academy, to officially Commission the launch of the new school.  Chicago Public School’s Marine Military Academy provides Chicago’s young men and women with a college prep education that focuses on Math and Science. Emanuel secured $300,000 in federal funding for the Military Academy in the Fiscal Year 2007 Department of Defense Appropriations Act.

“Our Nation’s success depends on the quality of our children’s education. Chicago Public School’s Marine Military Academy is a pioneer of educational excellence and will become a model for public education across the country.”

Not all of Arne’s plans for privatizing the school system include the military, of course:

Chicago teacher Jesse Sharkey writes, “In the past couple years, Arne Duncan [Obama’s pick for Secretary of Education who hails from Chicago] has been turning public schools over to private operators–mainly in the form of charter and contract schools — at a rate of about 20 per year. Duncan has also resuscitated some of the worst ‘school reform’ ideas of the 1990s, like firing all the teachers in low-performing schools (called ‘turnarounds’). At the same time, he’s eliminated many Local School Councils and made crucial decisions without public input.”

On this website, the effectiveness of Duncan’s efforts is debated, here, the JROTC makes its own case, and here, in a 2003 National Catholic Reporter article, the genesis of the military push is traced to Colin Powell:

The four-year course, offered as an elective in lieu of physical education at a traditional high school or as a requirement at a military academy, comes with its own curricula and instructors, who are retired military officers certified by the branch of the armed services they represent. Army JROTC instructors receive their certification at Fort Knox, Ky., which is also headquarters for Army recruiting.

According to the military, impetus for JROTC’s growth in the last decade came from Gen. Colin Powell, now secretary of state, after the Los Angeles race riots in 1992. Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, surveyed the ruins of southern Los Angeles and decided that what the nation’s youth needed was the discipline and structure of the military. Critics say JROTC expanded substantially in the early ’90s because the military needed more skilled recruits and youth interest in enlistment had declined. As a recruiting tool, JROTC is undeniably effective. According to defense department estimates 40 percent of all JROTC graduates enlist after high school.

While I haven’t yet had the time to process all the information, I have to admit to being outraged.  Considering that both Obama and Emanuel are advocates of mandatory volunteer service, and “civilian defense,” my initial reaction to the notion that children are being militarily indoctrinated at the high school level is WTF!?!

What say you?

84 Responses

  1. I say: more examples of the illiberalism that this incoming administration of which this incoming administration reeks. The privatization or militarization of school further corrodes the ideal of the school as a place for civic development and education, a place for students to learn liberal values and to get a liberal education, one that opens their minds and develops them as questioners. Instead we get institutions that mandate conformity and obedience, quite different from the virtues of civility.

  2. Heidi Li, over on HuffPo, Ayers has an opinion piece that doesn’t address the military aspect at all. Instead he calls Duncan “the smart choice” even though he’s a failed administrator and we should all pressure him to reform the nation’s education policies. Nobody seems to be making much sense, imo.

  3. Every seven years, just like cicadas, school reformers burrow themselves out, make lots of noise, are around for a season and then disappear. Privatization of the public responsibility of education is an anathema to anyone espousing even the least hint of liberalism. It is a typical top down solution that a highly centralized delivery system like Chicago would glomp onto. It is a total abdication of local control where accounting replaces teaching. If the communities where community organizing has been successful are an appropriate barometer, locally controlled schools have been a lynchpin of success — a telling indicator. Don’t get me started on the military aspect, but it is diametrically opposite of personal responsibility that is key to successful living. Both these concepts are strategies where minimal educational attainment becomes the maximum taught.

    Cinie, thanks so much for all the work to put this together. It is so vitally important.

  4. Cinie, don’t have a clue what I said, but I have a comment visiting with Spammy.

  5. Prolix, I can see your comment, but for some reason I can’t release it. Maybe one of the big kids will come along and let you out. Sorry.

  6. Thanks, I can’t tell if it is “glomp” or “cicadas” that attracted Spammy.

  7. The problem with this is my lack of trust for the leadership of the country. Some teens do benefit from a military-style educational experience. My question is where are they going to be led? Are they to be cannon fodder in Iraq or used to put down peaceful protest at home?
    Why should economically deprived children be directed toward the military in numbers unequal to economically advantaged children?
    Secondly, are these children being taught to hit the streets to support Obama during elections or to put down demonstrations against him?

  8. Yes, very worrying cinie.

    I spent an afternoon once, just clicking on the Annenburg project under Obama, the money spent (enormous), results achieved (minimal), backlash for teachers (unpleasant), and Ayers influence (extensive and foggy). It was so vast that it was beyond me.

  9. BTW, are these children being taught to respect their fellow women cadets or to view them as objects to be sexually harassed or raped? Considering the level of violence toward women which exists in today’s military, I certainly hope that this issue is openly and aggressively addressed.

  10. My concern, or one of them, is, if we privatize and militarize our schools, can they still be “public?” Will they ever be truly integrated? How will they be regulated? Who benefits? The kids, the military, or the businessmen? Education as a business doesn’t feel right.

  11. cinie, it’s a delicate balance. I remember reading that Germany’s businesses worked with schools to insure that they had a workforce that was prepared for employment. I support that. Not all children are college material. My brother was one. He was undisciplined and suffered from our chaotic home life. His experience in the military, forced on him by our mother, helped him to develop personal and professional skills which allowed him to become successful in the business world.

    I’m not advocation education as business. That doesn’t feel right to me, either, and I’ve seen many charter schools which were no more than a drain on tax dollars without any benefit for the children who had been turned over to people who knew nothing about providing children with an education. OTOH, there are a lot of failing public schools. Some innovation is necessary, imo.

  12. That should be “advocating” in the second paragraph above.

    Thanks, cinie, it was a very stimulating article. That comment by Obama has concerned me since I first heard it and I’m disgusted that the media has not required a more thorough explanation of the comment from Obama.

  13. I have always thought that the militarization and privatization of Chicago’s schools was jaw-droppingly frightening. It can only be viewed as the start of the elimination of public education. What happens to students who are not “obedient”?

    This radical approach to education, along with Obama’s desire to privatize low-income housing, are two of the reasons that I was so vehemently opposed to his candidacy. We have already seen where privatizing low-income housing in Chicago has led (not just Rezko, but Valerie Jarrett and her Habitat Co.). Yet Obama surrounds himself with people who support programs that deliver government funds into private hands with little accountability and (possibly) indoctrinate rather than educate minority students

    I think we need to know exactly who and what was behind Obama.

  14. I have mixed feelings about this, actually. I’m certainly not pro-military, and the idea of recruiting young people disturbs me, particularly when it appears discriminatory, but my son was in a JROTC program, and it was the farthest thing from a recruiting program. He learned discipline and leadership skills that he hadn’t had the opportunity to get anywhere else and he really seemed to enjoy it. I think it made a world of difference in his life. The local schools had an annual drill competition, and I have to tell you, it brought me to tears watching those kids.

    One of the reasons, of course, that it’s proposed for inner city schools and not the burbs, is that there are problems inner city kids face that the privileged never will. Is the underlying inequity that presents them with these problems fair? Absolutely not. And I think it’s a travesty that we don’t have a public school system that is truly equal for all. But if you can keep kids who are otherwise turning to gangs and crime and drugs for their self esteem and give them genuine pride in themselves, I think it does have some value. These are kids that are otherwise unlikely to get that sort of experience from athletics (which can be equally militaristic, btw) or arts or academic achievement.

    To answer JeanLouise’s question upthread, they did seem to learn respect for women in my son’s JROTC program; there were a number of girls in the program, and there was a sense of equality and pride in everyone I saw. I believe one of his closest friends at the school is a girl he met in the program. Of course, I don’t know if this program was anything like what they’re doing in Chicago.

    On a side note, the JROTC no longer exists here in San Francisco. San Franciscans voted it out. There were a lot of heartbroken students when that happened. And there has been no attempt to replace the program with something that can provide equal opportunities for kids at risk to become engaged and succeed in school.

  15. I can’t imagine a single left-wing, elitist, Obot acquaitance of mine being in the least bit upset about any of this because of two phrases in the post: “inner-city” and “minority”.

  16. Well let’s see if BO’s two girls will be attending one of these schools.That should settle the question shouldn’t it?

  17. Great post. I did not know about this and I am a Chicagoan.

  18. Thank you for writing about this. I caught the privatizer, charter schools, merit pay about this choice – and I knew it was bad. Having kids in school, it means I’ll continue to be f*ed, (W & ted NCLB were the beginning). And that’s why Obama was funded and propagandized over Hillary – the corporations that want all our institutions privatized needed a stooge – and Mr “Present” was it!
    Also, it’s going to be a very interesting Tuesday in the Senate
    http://edgeoforever.wordpress.com/2009/01/03/senate-games-racial-chicken-part-deux/

  19. I dunno what I did wrong, caught in moderation again! help !

  20. Excellent post. I can agree to an extent that a choice between “gangs” and a JROTC program has an appeal. They need to stop the training in shooting guns immediately! If it’s not a recruiting instrument, then how can they justify guns?

    Also I would like to see high schools that have the Peace Corps as a model. I’m sure that there are other models besides the military that could promote discipline.

    I do not think a democracy can survive without public schools. For me my nearly all white public school experience still put me in contact with people that I otherwise would not have closely crossed paths with. I consider that very valuable.

  21. My only question is: Is this happening anywhere else in the country; or just Chicago?

  22. Since my original comment is still in moderation: great topic, entry
    Coming Tuesday

    http://edgeoforever.wordpress.com/2009/01/03/senate-games-racial-chicken-part-deux/

  23. I played the video, and the sound terrified my cat right off my lap.

  24. It seems that posting a link gets one in moderation. For hours. I tried to bring up the Tuesday showdown in the senate – 2 senators will be challenged. Click my name I guess.
    I also tried to comment on the topic, but the moderation ate that up.

  25. Just what the kids need. All those guns on the streets can now be used more effectively. No longer will we have to worry about stray bullets. They’ll learn to shoot straight and hit their target,

  26. Honestly, once Obama is inaugurated, I am certain he will try to make this happen throughout the country, and I am terrified for the result. This whole deal reminds me of Hitler’s Germany and Communist China under Mao Zedong.

    Although I approve strongly of ROTC programs – we do need to respect and love our military – turning all schools into military schools is a step toward facism. I think we need to write to people in charge, governors, senators, people more directly involved in the running of school systems and demand two things: that the state gain more control than the national government and the states refuse military schools.

  27. can we say “Nazi Youth Corps”?

  28. but how perfectly militarized public schools fits in with the corporate/military shill PEBO’s agenda: when he reinstates the draft, he’ll have a whole corps of young people from which to choose.

  29. Adolph Hitler had a similar training program in German schools from 1922-1945. He called it Hitlerjugend and it was made up of boys between the ages of sixteen and eighteen. Their division was actually deployed during the Battle of Normandy against the British and Canadian forces to the north of Caen and it earned itself a reputation for ferocity and fanaticism. By the end of World War II it was common to find 12 year olds being drafted and defending Germany.

    Is this where we are going with the obsession of turning our schools into mini military training grounds? Because it has only been 63 years since our still living veterans were fighting these teenaged and 12 year old soldiers. Either these plotters are following a very undesirable repeat of history or they are so ignorant that they know not what they do. Either way, these children need to be protected from their elders’ blindness because if we can’t teach our children without turning them into warriors we don’t deserve to be called a civilized nation.

  30. There are a few confusing things in this discussion. First, charter schools are definitely public. They are exempted from a lot of the requirements that other schools have in order to allow for new models to develop. The intention behind charter schools was to come up with innovative methods that could then be adopted by the entire system. In addition it was to develop alternatives for kids who don’t fit in traditional schools. That is why many liberals do not oppose them. Not surprisingly the problem has been that in many states, there has been little oversight ,allowing fraud and failure to occur far too often. Other states have stricter controls but so far the hoped-for benefits have not been realized. In addition, although some states have instituted charter schools in good faith but others have used them as a stepping stone to privatization.
    As for contractors running schools, those schools are still public in that they are funded publicly and answer to the school board or whomever oversees them. I would like to know who they hired in Chicago to do this. From what I know the for-profit contractors (like Edison) have generally been a disaster. Big surprise since their end goal is to make money, not to educate kids. I don’t know if there are any good non-profit contractors that run public schools.
    I think that with the proper standards and oversight, both these options could be workable, but in the real world, not so much.
    As for the military schools, it doesn’t surprise me that they appeal to inner cities. Too many of those children live in very chaotic situations and thrive on order. Too bad there aren’t other models which are not run by the military. It is very troubling. Kids are not mature enough to make a decision about whether they want to be part of that culture.

  31. Why would anyone be happy with an Educator from Chicago??
    Don’t we already a “Citizen’s Army” in the Nation Guard.
    People just don’t even listen to what this man says.

  32. BernieO, thanks. Yes, I erroneously jumped to the public school discussion. I’m not sure where Obama stands on vouchers.

    It is the oversight of “public schools” not following the curriculum and standards of the other “public schools” that is key. I remember Bush’s cry of “avoiding red tape” at every turn to dismantle oversight in all areas of government. Of course, oversight can be oppressive and idiotic as well. Balance!

    Regardless of the value of military schools, at the high school level there is no need for training in shooting guns.

  33. Bernie O, for years I have said that the public school system needs to be more responsive to the needs of “different” students, and having seen how programs for the disabled and mentally challenged students have been utilized, it can be done without such restrictive programs as military schools. One of the most successful of these programs was the introduction of vocational training at a high school level.

    I would take it a step further and allow apprentice programs for students who do not want to follow an academic program to a college education. We’re a service economy anyhow and these kids are better off being trained and earning an apprentice salary than drilling in auditoriums and roaming the streets looking for a fight.

    Jobs teach discipline and give rewards and prepare you for life better than being prepared for war — unless that is all our future is to be, endless war with as yet unknown enemies. Or are We the People and our democratic way of life now considered “the enemy”?

  34. Obama’s plan for a civilian army has always troubled me, as it was pointed out we already have a National Guard. At least for the National Guard, it’s a volunteer army. When it becomes mandatory for all young adults–that’s when we have become no better than Nazi Germany.

    I know of the military schools in Chicago, but never gave them a second thought. I didn’t realize there were so many of them, though. I’m not sure if there is a tuition there, I don’t think so. But I’m not surprised there is a waiting list. The regular public schools are so bad and many of them are so dangerous, any parent would want to do something to keep their kids out of the gang life that they are sucked into while in those public schools.

    My oldest daughter who is a teacher lived in Chicago and taught at one of the roughest schools in the area. It was a school that taught kids who couldn’t pass 8th grade to get into high school, but the kids were too young to drop out…it was their last chance. She lived in Hyde Park, but not all of Hyde Park is safe and has the best schools. She said that the school district in Chicago was appalling and the only thing they cared about was moving the kids up to the point of getting a high school degree or to the age of 16 when they were no longer responsible for them. After that, if they dropped out and went into gangs, it wasn’t their problem anymore. She couldn’t stand teaching there anymore and was often derided by the principals and other teachers for giving the kids “hope” to go to college. She moved out of Chicago and is living in PA now with plans to get her Masters Degree and then her PhD. Oh…and when living in Chicago, she pulled her son out of the school system to home school him. She said she had to “re-teach” him everything, the public schools were only decent until you got to the third grade, after that…they didn’t care anymore.

    I couldn’t believe when I heard Obama talk about the Chicago school system as if it was something to be proud of. It was obvious to me that he had no clue as to what the real public schools were like…is kids didn’t go to “those” schools. They went to the elite charter schools, if I recall.

  35. What a post !!! Thank you so much for your research !
    How does militarizing public schools differ from training children to be cannon fodder at an early age … especially with most being AA chidlren ??isn’t that inherently r@cist?

    This is truly insanity and 180 degrees from what we want from public education . The information about bo, that did not come out during the campaign seems to be a bottomless well of “abominations ”

    In the meantime …..
    Enjoy some great music with your politics and something to cheer you this morning

    GODDESS RADIO 10AM til 1 PM EDT followed by SISTER MOON ROCK AND LOVE RADIO 1PM til 3 PM
    Celebrating the WOMEN OF INDEPENDENT MUSIC !
    Click my name and then the big listen button or copy paste this link into your player where it says play url

    http://audio.cygnusradio.com:8000/cyg1_hi.m3u

  36. I have a friend who has taught in an “inner city” school for fifteen years and she is very good at what she does. The odds against her children t being successful are almost impossible to overcome. She teaches fourth grade and this year she has a “good class” in that only 50% are reading at or below the first grade level. One advantage of teaching elementary school is that she is usually only threatened by parents and not by the children. She will advance each of her kids at least two grade levels and her class will be the #1 on the 4th grade eval. exam. Her goal is to give every kid a chance but hopes maybe one or two will “make it”. I wouldn’t last a day in her classroom and I doubt if many people commenting here would either.

    Teacher can only do so much but without changing the environment, it’s seems pretty hopeless to me. Years ago, the AA mayor of Phila. made a proposal to offer a boarding school option for inner city children. It seemed like a good idea to me but it went nowhere.

  37. This scares me–the militarization of schools. I understand that there are benefits for at-risk children (similar to the benefits of parochial schools), but it still reeks of 1940s Germany. The fact that these schools have waiting lists shows me that either the children, their parents, or both are starving for discipline yet I’m not convinced that this is the way to go about it.

    I also don’t get how vouchers can be legal. I don’t understand the basis for distributing them.

  38. I have asked people on several LJ communities as well as teamsarah to write their officials. The parenting and academic situation 50 years ago was much better than today. I bleieve an 8th drop-out of 100 years ago was more well-educated than today’s college freshmen. The public schools don’t teach anymore.

    Anyway, I am thinking we need to provide suggestions for education reform in addition to protesting military schools. We need to provide a viable option that makes military schools less attractive. In November and December, I sent letters all over the country insisting schools provide better depth and detail in the history classrooms.

  39. How long before Blackwater is running our grammar schools?

  40. Karen-did you see this article vbonnaire posted a couple of days ago?
    He has his own army of bulk emailers:

    http://tinyurl.com/94r25y

  41. I have never seen the article before, but I am honestly not surprised in the slightest. Writing to the people in charge as well as to newspapers and such remain our best ways of telling our officials what we think.

  42. Stanley Kurtz on the Chicago Challenge:

    http://tinyurl.com/5v4twh

    Annenberg challenge report- by Chicago university on the expensive educational reform effort in Chicago that failed to produce any measurable academic gains, according to the project’s own final report:

    Click to access p62.pdf

  43. As a woman who has been in the military, I would never advocate that my daughter, should I have had one, join. However, my oldest Son just retired from the Army after twenty years and he joined when he was seventeen, while still in high school. At my granddaughters high school there is an ROTC program which is evenly distributed between races and is in a middle-class school system. So, I’m twixt between on this issue. As long as the children, with consent from their parents, can CHOOSE to join or not, then I see it as a positive in many ways. If it ever becomes mandatory, that’s another issue entirely.

    The truth of the matter is that in lower-income areas a lot of the children join the military on their own because there are so few opportunities where they are. Even those who would go to college can be left out because there are only so many grants and scholarships to go around. That was my case for joining. I wanted to go to college and couldn’t afford to so I joined to get the education benefits. I see absolutely nothing wrong with it. Not all, or even many,if any, go into the service to learn how to kill. I never heard of anyone who went in for that reason even though we were embroiled in Viet Nam. At that time most joined to keep from getting drafted. Even though they knew they would likely still end up in Viet Nam there was still that element of choice.

    The fact of the matter is, we’re always going to have wars and to deny that is a head-in-the-sand mentality. At least these children will be trained in such a way that they will be well-equipped rather than just getting thrown into boot camp and churned out with barely enough knowledge to stay alive.

    Like I said. I’m twixt between on this one.

  44. OT: at least someone is calling Obama on his chronic ambivalence. How anyone can mistake him for a “leader” is beyond me. He is a “waiter.”

    BAM STIRS FEARS IN ISRAEL

    And Israel’s vaunted intelligence services can’t tell their superiors what Obama will do, since few (if any) of the president-elect’s supporters know what he intends to do.

    In fact, the president-elect may not know himself. He’s a babe in the woods, and the woods are full of wolves. Fighting political rivals doesn’t prepare you for fighting terrorist fanatics.
    ——
    As for our president-elect, his all-too-coy insistence that “we have only one president at a time” has been selective from the start. Glad to pontificate on stimulus packages and union benefits, Obama has used the one-president mantra to avoid taking stands on difficult issues that bedevil or bewilder him.

    Our president-elect needed to make a clear, prompt statement in support of Israel. He didn’t. If I were an Israeli leader, I’d be worried, too.

    Obama’s notorious for avoiding firm stands that might alienate any important constituency. But you can’t have it both ways in the Middle East. He needs to stand up in support of Israel. Now.

    Israeli soldiers should not have to go into battle worrying about an American bullet in the back.

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/01012009/news/columnists/bam_stirs_fears_in_israel_146762.htm?page=2

  45. I have often asked myself why was Obama given $600 Million to run for President. Why were Foreign donations accepted and not challenged by the FEC and what was the real agenda Mr. Hope/Change was espousing? Change is coming and IT AIN’T LIBERAL.

  46. From what I can gather, there is no uniform definition of “charter schools.” Government funded, they can be corporate.
    This is from the Wikipedia entry on Answers. com:

    “Some charter schools are founded by teachers, parents, or activists who feel restricted by traditional public schools.[2] State-run charters (schools not affiliated with local school districts) are often established by non-profit groups, universities, and some government entities.[3] Additionally, school districts sometimes permit corporations to open chains of for-profit charter schools.”

    http://www.answers.com/topic/charter-school

    While I agree something should be done, it’s hard to imagine that turning schools into boot camps is the answer. The direct participation of the military frankly scares me. I have no moral objection to the military whatsoever, but this blurs the line between voluntary and compulsory service for inner city kids with few options. Corporate chains of schools is scary, too. What’s next, prisonized high-schools? Somehow we have to address the underlying problems of poverty, health care, housing and overall equality instead of blaming everything on the schools as an excuse to radicalize them.

  47. OT – from previous thread, Plainjane said:

    John Linder, Congressman from Georgia, WILL be standing up when the Electoral College goes to cast their votes on January 9 to object to Obama re. eligibility to be President and request that he show PROOF of Constitutional eligibility.

    Contact John Linder Today and offer your support.

    Contact your senators and congressman today and tell them to STAND UP on January 9, 2009.

    Mailing Address for Linder Office:
    1026 Longworth House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515-1007
    Main: 202-225-4272
    Fax: 202-225-4696

    john.linder@mail.house.gov

  48. Cinie – this is scary stuff – and yes, it is also r@cist

  49. Laurie: Scariest quote from your linked article (at 10:58):
    If it works the way Obama’s top lieutenants plan, the White House will marshal hundreds of thousands of phone calls within hours if it looks as if the president-elect were losing a policy battle. With the click of a keyboard, Obama’s aides could ask supporters to flood the phone lines of Congress, making it untenable to ignore the clamor.

    Legitimate Democracy is over–this is Kos in Feb/March on steroids.

  50. Great post, Cinie! I knew that Obama was in favor of privatizing schools, but I didn’t know about the military angle. How racist can these people be? All of these schools are in “urban” (read black) neighborhoods?!!

    Remember that video that was going around a few months ago with young guys in camoflage chanting O-ba-ma, and about how Obama had inspired them? That school sounded like these ones in Chicago. This really hasn’t been covered in the MSM as far as I know. Creepy.

    Obama is in favor of privitizing all government functions. I’ve been most worried about Social Security, but this school issue is huge.

  51. OT– I put up our weblog finalist badge at the top of the right-hand sidebar. I hope everyone will go vote for us for “best liberal blog” starting on Monday. I’ll probably do a post this weekend about voting and about other nominated blogs, e.g. Uppity Woman and No Quarter.

  52. Is this the precursor to Obama’s Civilian National Security Force? Using military discipline techniques to train political enforcers is very scary. Camp Obama used some of these principles stressing obedience, ruthlessness, and purging weak do-gooders. This has absolutely nothing to do with the welfare and progress of children, but rather amassing political power. The military sees potential recruits rather than a means to subvert it for individual gain such as the political class in Illinois.

  53. bostonboomer, the video you’re talking about was from a charter school.

    There’s a FOX News article accompanying the video at this You Tube link.

  54. It’s too bad that only the “military” can provide the kind of order and discipline which is so helpful to these kids. Where else, indeed, will they have the chance to develop “leadership skills” in the usual public school system as it exists in the inner city areas? It’s true that organized sports might offer this – along with the uniforms, discipline etc. but there are not funds for these programs in poorer schools.
    The programs for children with “behavior issues” at the schools where I taught were highly structured and also demanded a sort of old-fashioned respect for teachers. The best teacher I knew in this program reinforced the idea that these students also deserved respect, beginning with self-respect.

    I am more leery of those “charter schools” whose management stand to get a lot of money out of the arrangement. The “military” schools at least appear to be making an investment in the kids – which is the way education should be.

  55. c,

    Is it only poor inner-city black children who have “behavior issues?”

    I’ve observed many wealthy, middle- and upper-middle-class children who have serious “behavior issues” and who are not “properly disciplined” by their parents. Why are their schools not more “structured” by military discipline then?

    The simple truth is that this program is racist and classist from beginning to end, and the goal is to channel poor, mostly black children toward military careers so they can be cannon fodder for the ruling classes.

  56. Isolde-about political power.
    This is a quote from an article saved on my computer (don’t have link):

    Let’s take a look at a quote from a 2004 article – Case Study: Chicago- The Barack Obama Campaign – written by Toni Foulkes, a Chicago ACORN Leader, which was published in the journal Social Policy. Did we mention that Social Policy recently pulled this particular article from their website, while leaving links to all other articles up?

    “Obama took the case, known as ACORN vs. Edgar (the name of the Republican governor at the time) and we won. Obama then went on to run a voter registration project with Project VOTE in 1992 that made it possible for Carol Moseley Braun to win the Senate that year. Project VOTE delivered 50,000 newly registered voters in that campaign (ACORN delivered about 5,000 of them).

    Since then, we have invited Obama to our leadership training sessions to run the session on power every year, and, as a result, many of our newly developing leaders got to know him before he ever ran for office. Thus it was natural for many of us to be active volunteers in his first campaign for State Senate and then his failed bid for U.S. Congress in 1996. By the time he ran for U.S. Senate, we were old friends.”

    note that Obama ran the training sessions on power every year…
    every year….

  57. bostonboomer, on January 3rd, 2009 at 11:58 am Said:

    Is it only poor inner-city black children who have “behavior issues?”
    **********
    No. but the % of the classroom who do makes it very difficult to teach. Behavior that is is unacceptable in the classroom maybe the behavior that is needed to survive in their environment.

    A story from my friend the school teacher. Among other things, she tries to teach the kids to be kind to animals. So, two weeks ago, one of the “more difficult” boy in her classroom told her that he had gone to “McD’s”, gotten an burger and fries. After he left, he noticed a dog that looked sick and hungry. He said the dog needed the food more than he did and gave it to the dog. She told him that doing good things will pay off in the long term, etc. A week later the boy tell my friend that the caught hell for his father for being “too soft” and that he had better toughen up. Needless to say, the little boy was confused.

  58. SHV-How many kids does your friend have in her class? And how many hours does she teach a week?

  59. Since Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has been overrun with Charter Schools. Fortunately, we have quite a few universities with teacher education programs that have taken over many of them and I have yet to see any of these military-style charter schools down here. However, I imagine it’s just time.

    I feel the entire Charter School movement is just one huge social experiment being foisted on the least of us. Of course, the focus of that experimentation is the minority child. Not only that, but they transfer tax payer money from teachers to middle management–the folks running the charter schools. I think in a lot of ways this is yet another way to funnel taxpayer money to dubious ‘community organization groups’ which often enrich local neighborhood pols and their supporters.

    What is the difference between this kind of experimentation and the The Tuskegee Syphilis Study ? Can children say yes to being study subjects?

  60. SHV,

    But that doesn’t just happen in poor families, and military training is not the only–or the best–solution. It is racist to do this only in poor black communities. I have been teaching(college) for more than 10 years. I teach in a private university with mostly wealthy students. They have discipline problems too. They also have divorced parents, neglecting parents, abusive parents–just like poor kids do. They weren’t sent to military high schools though.

  61. laurie, on January 3rd, 2009 at 12:29 pm Said:

    SHV-How many kids does your friend have in her class? And how many hours does she teach a week?
    **********
    It’s a fourth grade class with ~25 students. The school day, I think, is 7:30 to 3:00 five days a week. She lives 45 minutes from school, so her day starts at ~4:30 AM. She runs 2-3 miles with her dog….gets ready for work and arrives at the school at 7:00. Pretty good for a 67 year old.

  62. Dakinikat wrote: What is the difference between this kind of experimentation and the The Tuskegee Syphilis Study ? Can children say yes to being study subjects?

    And what about the study that has been going on under the Bush admin. in which poor, mostly minority children are exposed to pesticides in their homes? I don’t know if it has been stopped yet.

    And no, children can’t agree to be study subjects, but their parents can give permission for them. However, it is unethical for parents not to be given full information about what the children will be exposed to. And as a society, I think we also need to be aware if parents are being tricked into allowing their children to be abused by social service organizations.

  63. I am very concerned about education in our Urban areas.
    This is an area in our nation that really needs constant focus and methods need to be found to find effective solutions. No excuses or diversions.
    I staunchly believe in Ms.Clintons so oft saying ‘Every American child should have an opportunity to live up to their God given potential.’
    I think most Americans are concerned and agree, especially here at The Confluence.
    I think the intention to recruit for the military is something that of course should be watched.
    I do believe however that some systems that may seem initially somewhat controversial could have good results. I believe Powell’s involvement indicates this is being done with the real intention to try to help. If literacy and math rates have improved, especially at such dramatic levels, I would definitely think of it as part of various possible solutions. Discipline is taught in martial arts, it is a very powerful thing, that is considered extremely beneficial in life.

    Personally, I think, in this particular area any methods that could jerk the status quo are good. They can always be tweeked and improved on as we go forward. Isn’t that what we like to call and think of as progress ?

  64. Cinie, thanks for this post. Unbelievable that this was NEVER brought up in the primaries or subsequent months. Scary. I think our boys need to be socialized to become softer and more gracious and this type of education won’t allow for that. No taking care of plants or animals or learning about art and music. I don’t want our girls turned into mindless order-takers either. And they’re taught to SHOOT GUNS?

    And Rahm the former ballet dancer thinks this is good???

  65. bostonboomer, on January 3rd, 2009 at 12:35 pm Said:
    SHV,
    But that doesn’t just happen in poor families, and military training is not the only–or the best–solution. It is racist to do this only in poor black communities.
    ************
    I don’t disagree..I don’t think having the military runs the schools is a good idea. It’s funny though, when I was in public school, kids with behavior problems, were sent to military school at considerable expense for their parents. All that I do know is that it is a very hard road for children to learn in an “inner city” environment. I live in a poor Southern State and the poor.rural white kids are no better off. From what I have seen, the peer pressure, in both environments is weighted heavily against education.

  66. SoFla is also overrun with charter schools and they are a mixed bag. Some are almost at the point of being shut down, and some are doing quite well. Jeb did his best to privitize just about everything.

  67. I appreciate the ROTC program; and by far, I believe discipline in any human being is an important attribute to survive in this society.

    However, I have a problem with “Mandatory Volunteering.” As it is, many high schools, including California schools, have a “mandatory community service program” in order to receive a HS Diploma. I don’t know what this has taught many of this kids; the drop out rate in this state is enormous.

    I heartily agree with community service – however, when it becomes mandatory – for anybody – it is no longer volunteering. I believe in introducing volunteering for community service at an early age – Scouts programs and other groups kids belong to. Once it becomes mandatory, it defeats its purpose. And if there is a bribe attached, that’s even worse.

    Dictionary.com: a person who voluntarily offers himself or herself for a service or undertaking.
    2. a person who performs a service willingly and without pay.

  68. bostonboomer

    I taught in rural Maine, where none of the children with “behavior issues” were “inner-city black children.”

    That being said, it is true that all manner of “behavior issues” can be reframed if you are of the financial means to do so.

  69. New thread up!

  70. Here’s video of the Pritzker Military Library-sponsored PBS special on Chicago military schools:

    http://www.pritzkermilitarylibrary.org/events/2008-02-28-frontandcenter.jsp

  71. Great post Cinie . If these schools are so wonderful why is this movement so stealth? And please, Pow*ll lied us into war…he’s not Mr.Integrity. He’ll do what the Upper Crust tells him to and has done so for 40 years.

  72. The irony is that they are teaching these kids to shoot guns in school but as my son says disapprove of guns outside of the curriculum.

    I sure hope some people wake up at this idea of mandatory civil service. The DoD is just dying to get some civilians over to Iraq and Afghanistan to rebuild and there would be absolutely nothing to prevent them to deploying these kids to overseas hotspots in civilian attire rather than military regalia. Just because you aren’t in a uniform doesn’t mean you aren’t going to end up in some third world hotspot.

  73. Great post Cinie! Welcome aboard, speaking as a big fan, I’m glad you’re here!

  74. It isn’t just the “urban” areas having problems. The extremely rural areas are problematic if I remember correctly.

  75. Many kids in this country can not real above a 4th grade level.
    This bunch wants them to carry guns?
    I just got this in an e-mail and thought it would fit in with this post.

    http://www.youtube.com/jbI-363A2Q

    I hope the link works

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE, MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS, AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  76. OMG Cinnie. OMG.

    Those kids?
    Where is the money for their educations. Who stole it. Who?
    Why are they not given an education with the humanities?

    You want to see LIBERAL OUTRAGE from FDR DEMS?

    Oh Cinie. I love Black Agenda Report, btw. Glen Ford.
    It’s time to regroup our gen. Right now. THE PEACE GEN.
    Right NOW.

    While I agree that we need a military (look at the world) to do this in ithe inner city only in UNETHICAL TIMES SO MANY BILLIONS you tell tell Glen Ford. & BRUCE & Bill Moyers — get him on this OMG

    The C word is about ready to FLY.
    Unbelievable. WE ARE THE PEACE GEN AND ALL OUR KIDS DESERVE EQUAL EDUCATION, and education in the ARTS and LETTERS get Madonna on this — and get Ayers too. Jes*s $%&&()(*&^%%^&)(*^^%&&*^!

    I hope the Obots are watching right now, I hope they see our gen, JFK and MLK’s legacy rolling into action.

    Where is the money from all those gambling casinos to fund education?

    What is going on at the indian reservations?

    You tell me.

    Oh no — this isn’t how we do it, is it?

    No. OMG.

    OMG.

    Where is Ralph Nader & what the F have the dems been doing for the last 20 years. Everything we worked for DOWN THE DRAIN?
    OUR VALUES?

    No — as they let the moguls buy up the media and press in every town and stop all the reporters?

    Oh Cinnie. RD. EVERYBODY. OH WHO DID THIS TO OUR DREAM? WHO DID THIS TO OUR DREAM.

  77. It happened so fast.

    My family lives in a middle-class suburb of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. In the Fall of 2003, a School Board Member brought up the idea of letting the JR ROTC into the District (high school only) in order to attract families that would be interested in having their kids participate. Struggling for money, as so many School Districts were/are, the idea gained support.

    Early 2004, the Air Force ROTC made their pitch to the community at a School Board meeting to start their program in our high school. Very little opposition was made. The School Board voted yes.

    Fall of 2004, the JR ROTC program began in the high school. By Winter Holiday concert time, the cadets were participating in events at the Middle School. By the Spring Carnival at our elementary school, the cadets were there working by taking tickets, etc. and walking the hallways and keeping those wild kindergardners under control.

    We now have the JR ROTC program in the Middle School as well as the high school. The uniformed retired Sergeants who run the programs patrol the lunch rooms and keep order in and outside the schools. No event begins before the cadets’ color guard is done marching. (Interesting-to me anyway-side note..the foreign language class choices of Spanish and French now include Arabic.)

    Former Defense Secretary William Cohen told Congress in 2000 that “it’s (JR ROTC) one of our best recruiting tools.”

  78. GET OPRAH ON THIS AND EVERY BLACK MOVIE STAR AND JACK NICHOLSON — GET JANE FONDA!

    this is what we worked to achieve — we are for all people — we wanted everyboyy to have the same shot at life, the same chances, poetry art FUC —- I have tears Blinding me.

    Tears. Who did this? Which DEMS weren’t true to their promises?
    We voted them in. They were to help humanity — to help all people?
    Birth control was to stave off poverty for women so they had a chance too.

    Public schools are the way to go — everyone getting a chance –who is responsible for this?

    Obama is in our gen, he knows what we know and he grew up integrated — his mom was focusing on helping the world like we wanted to — he worked in the inner city.

    Where has Jesse jackson been on this?

    OH. These are people I look up to! I mean it — they are the leaders–

    the book on this is called “there are no children here” — it is about the inner city — oh.

    this was not our dream — not our dream of how it was going to be

    oh.

    You get Oprah on this right now. Oh.

    YOU GET THE NYT ON THIS> the TRUMPSTERS that have done this in the Dems? Find out.

    I’m willing to help O right now. He worked in the inner city — he cannot be all bad — he and I both “served” in the trenches of the streets –he in chicago and me with the homeless OF ALL COLORS I MIGHT ADD.

    this gen of ours needs to go to work on our old dream some more —

    these kids ALL NEED AN EDUCATION that is equal and has the HUMANITIES attached — it is never too latenever too late — and never too late to learn and it would be fun as well — for people — they need this or the will not have soul —

    their souls won’t get a chance, for anything — HILLARY IS NOT GOING TO PUT UP WITH THIS — no she won’t. She won’t — not with her feminism.

    Get Jesse Jackson, we love that dude!

    Nobody knows about this Cinnie.

  79. EVEN PEOPLE WHO GO TO MILITARY SCHOOL NEED ART! AND LITERATURE.

    Boy did Mccain ever tell us washington was broken

    oh you guys,

    well, you put Pluto in Virgo gen in action and they will do something — in our childhoods there wasn’t this focus on money. There just wasn’t — and crooks? Got punished.

    You tell O I will get my people to help set up a decent curriculum for all if he wants it.

    YES WE CAN.

  80. Obama threw the black community under the bus with his VP, AG, Economic, Defense and Education picks.

  81. Obama is pure symbolism like the Cosby Show. He’s done nothing so far that concretely helps his community.

  82. Oh please – now Obama is responsible for the military academy high schools in Chicago?? don’t you have other subjects to relate Obama to to smear him more?

  83. ellen-are you aware that Obama’s ONLY administrative experience is in Chicago education?

    He was an investor (along with the Pritzker Cousins Foundation ) in The Chicago Public Education Fund -“a results-oriented foundation created to increase community investment and act as a catalyst in improving Chicago’s Public school system.”

    He was also deeply involved in the Annenberg foundation’s attempt to reform Chicago’s school system. In 1995 he was already serving as chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge and was on the board of directors of the Woods Fund of Chicago, the Joyce Foundation and Leadership for Quality Education.

    Start googling and you’ll find a lot of information.

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