Schools must give student info to military | SummitDaily.com
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Schools must give student info to military

SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit High School students might be alarmed that federal legislation requires school staff to turn over students’ names, addresses and phone numbers to military recruiters. But the superintendent would remind them it’s better than the draft.

In what has been called the most sweeping reform in federal education law in 35 years, President George W. Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act Jan. 8. The 1,200-page document, according to White House policy advisors, is intended to help disadvantaged and minority students close the achievement gap between them and their peers. The bill includes prescriptions for school accountability, grant authorizations to improve teaching and sets new standards for teacher qualification, among other reforms.

But as school administrators continue to digest the legislation, and the federal Department of Education issues guidelines and timelines for implementing changes required by the law, addendums catch their attention.



The bill, for example, now threatens schools with the loss of federal funding if counselors don’t provide military recruiters with students’ names, addresses and phone numbers. Students and parents can request the school not give out the information without prior consent, and private schools based on religions with integral tenets as conscientious objectors (such as Quakers) are exempt.

Summit Schools Superintendent Wes Smith said the reporting requirement to the military has been around for years, but this legislation is stronger than it used to be. Smith said he’s had conversations with people who don’t like the idea of schools reporting student information to the military, but he said he reminds them of the alternative.



“It beats the heck out of a draft,” Smith said. “If people didn’t live in the ’60s, they probably don’t appreciate what that’s like. One way to look at is, the more opportunity (the recruiters) get to talk to students, the less need there is for a draft.”

Summit High School counselor Debbie Luckett said a handful of students join military branches each year. Luckett said recruiters visit the school quarterly, on average, and set up displays in the cafeteria and talk to students. Recruiters also request information on students, she said.

“They give out mailers, but I don’t think they contact students directly who haven’t shown an interest,” Luckett said. “Some students are interested in ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) programs, and a lot of students like the skills that the military offers training in.”

Other bill impacts

No Child Left Behind also requires new training standards for paraprofessionals working with students. The bill requires paraprofessionals, who are not necessarily licensed teachers, to have a certain amount of college education and specialized training, depending on the subject of instruction.

Summit Schools employs more than 40 paraprofessionals for English as a Second Language, special education, health and other classes. The paraprofessionals receive a variety of training, and some have college degrees, while others do not. By 2006, all of Summit’s paraprofessionals will have to have completed the prerequisite training and education – a requirement that could make it difficult to fill classroom positions in an already tight teaching market.

With the help of a University of Denver professor, however, Summit Schools administrators are forging a program with Colorado Mountain College to make sure paraprofessionals can get that training.

“Basically, everyone will have to have two years of college,” Smith said. “We haven’t looked at how many paras it will affect, but we’re going to make sure they can get that training.”

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or rwilliams@summitdaily.com.


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