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Disclaimer: The author of this site maintained the campaign weblog of John Kline's opponent in the 2006 election, which made Congressman Kline a bit testy.

As with all blogs, review the facts carefully and draw your own conclusions.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Kline's Obsession with Military Recruitment

In the previous post, I noted that on June 24, 2005, Kline spoke in opposition to an amendment in a Department of Education bill. Rather than attempting to describe it, I'll let Kline's words speak for themselves:

This amendment would prohibit the Department of Education from withholding Title I dollars from school districts that do not provide private student information to military recruiters. Under the guise of "privacy rights," our military recruiters would be denied the same access to our nation's best young minds that is regularly provided to recruiters for colleges or businesses.

Mr. Chairman, military service can be a noble and fulfilling choice for our young men and women--including my son, a career Army officer. Planning for the future can be an overwhelming experience. As they consider their postsecondary options, our nation's students deserve to be fully equipped with the information they need to make good decisions.

Giving military recruiters access to college campuses is one of Kline's pet issues, and it appears he extends his concern to high schools as well. Kline believes that the Department of Education should withhold funding from public high schools who refuse to provide student information to military recruiters. While I agree that public schools have an obligation to expose their students to all career options, including military, I vehemently disagree that the schools have an obligation to give private student information to anybody --- and that includes the military.

Unfortunately, as I learned which researching this issue, current law already requires schools to provide this information to the military, in a little-noticed part of the No Child Left Behind act. Exceptions are only made for students or parents who explicitly notify their school not to give information to military recruiters, and private schools which object on religious grounds. How appropriate for this administration that a school can object on religious grounds, but not on the grounds of personal privacy.

Personal information about an individual belongs to that individual, to disseminate as they need or desire. For minors, their parent or legal guardian has an obligation to guide them to wise decisions about divulging their personal information. That's where it ends. If schools are routinely giving this information to colleges and business recruiters without student consent (and I find it really hard to believe that they are), then Congress should put an end to it, instead of demanding that schools give that information to the military too.

The most likely reason military recruitment is down is that young people see how badly this administration treats its uniformed personnel. High school seniors are understandably hesitant to commit their lives into the hands of people who have demonstrated incompetence and callous disregard for human life and the rule of law time and time again. That means military recruitment will continue to suffer until the voters get rid of the Gang the Can't Shoot Straight. Since Kline is a loyal supporter of that gang, he needs to suck it up instead of pressing schools to turn young, impressionable students over to the hands and high-pressure sales pitch of military recruiters.

Update: In fairness to Kline, it appears that forcing high schools and colleges to give military recruiters unlimited access to their students isn't the only remedy he supports for anemic military recruiting. Apparently he also wants to raise military pay, saying "If we’re going to get thousands of young men and women running down to join an 'Army of One' we’re going to have to spend some money". Good for him.


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