Tag Archives: militarization

New Initiative Seeks to End JROTC Programs to ‘Counter the Dangerous Nature of Conservatism and Militarism in Public Schools’


starbase

By Danette Clark

In an effort to remove anything and everything resembling patriotism and military-style discipline and teamwork from public schools, a new initiative has been launched that specifically targets JROTC, Starbase, Young Marines, and several other voluntary school programs.

“A National Call: Save Civilian Public Education”, launched late last year, is the effort of several progressive organizations to “confront the conservative, corporate, and military influences in our educational system” and to counter their “dangerous nature.”

From the website, SaveCivilianEducation.org:

The signers of this statement believe it is urgent for all advocates of social justice, peace and the environment to recognize the dangerous nature of this problem and confront it with deliberate action.

The most aggressive outside effort to use the school system to teach an ideology with ominous long-term implications for society comes from the military establishment.

On the site’s “Where Do We Go From Here?” page, a call is made to others to join their efforts:

Progressive individuals, organizations, foundations and media all have important roles to play in confronting the conservative, corporate and military influences in our educational system.

To that end, the initiative provides a list of “ideas for action,” which includes speakers pools to address youth groups, classrooms and youth conferences, and the support of outreach and educational initiatives that “teach progressive values to young people.”

“Organizations supporting efforts to introduce history and civics lessons from a progressive perspective” are also recommended. Among those are Communist Howard Zinn’s Zinn Education Project and Rethinking Schools, an organization whose curriculum editor, Bill Bigelow, admits that he wants to “tell students that they shouldn’t necessarily trust the ‘authorities,’” and says that he sees “teaching as a political action… to equip students to build a truly democratic society.”

Bigelow, an endorser of the Save Civilian Education initiative, also teaches that George Washington was not a hero, but a war criminal.

One particular Rethinking Schools resource, Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years, was banned from Tucson, Arizona classrooms because it was found to be extremely hostile toward whites and depicted America, in general, as a racist and oppressive nation.

Other endorsers of the initiative are Iraq Veterans Against the War, Code Pink co-founder Madea Benjamin, former California Senator and former Weather Underground Organization leader Tom Hayden, and far left MIT professor Noam Chomsky, all of whom have partnered for years in their anti-U.S. military efforts.

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) is a Communist-led anti-war organization that continually works to increase its presence in public school classrooms.

Both IVAW and Code Pink partner with some of the most radical anti-Israel organizations in the world, like Al-Awda, for example, an organization that denies Israel’s right to exist.

IVAW speakers have been known to show graphic war images to students while blaming U.S. soldiers for murdering innocent civilians.

For example, as recently reported, U.S. military veteran and IVAW member Ethan McCord can be seen in a video telling high school students that U.S. soldiers are trained from day one to dehumanize the enemy and also “to dehumanize civilians here at home”. Later in the video, McCord refers to military recruiters as pimps and the army as their whore.

In a 2011 resolution on Palestine, IVAW described the United States’ military support of Israel as a “coordinated strategy to dominate the Middle East.”

Another endorser of the initiative, Countering the Militarisation of Youth, says they oppose any U.S. military presence and influence in education as well as in social media, entertainment, fashion, and even public events such as parades and memorials.

The group says their work is “breaking the cycle of teaching violence to young people”, yet ironically, they partner with groups like the Muslim Students Association, an organization founded by the jihadi terrorist group, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Save Civilian Education claims that some military programs sneak into schools under the cloak of STEM education, and therefore, calls for an end to those as well.

Also a ‘threat’, they say, are lesson plans and coloring books created by tea party groups that “teach a conservative interpretation of the Constitution, where the federal government is a creeping and unwelcome presence in the lives of freedom-loving Americans.”

According to the group, the problem with this kind of curriculum and with programs like JROTC, Young Marines, and Starbase, is that they have the “effect of popularizing military values, soldiering and, ultimately, war.”

JROTC is a voluntary program that says it exists to teach students character education, student achievement, wellness, leadership, and diversity, while preparing them for college and to be leaders in a diverse workforce.

The JROTC curriculum includes “education in citizenship, leadership, social and communication skills, physical fitness and wellness, geography, and civics.”

Starbase, also a voluntary program, says its mission is to expose the nation’s youth to the “technological environments and positive civilian and military role models found on Active, Guard, and Reserve military bases and installations, nurture a winning network of collaborators, and build mutual loyalty within communities…”

Through the Starbase program, students can “study Newton’s Laws and Bernoulli’s principle; explore nanotechnology, navigation and mapping” and “use the computer to design space stations, all-terrain vehicles, and submersibles.”

The Starbase website says the program seeks to “motivate students to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)” and “serves students that are historically under-represented in STEM, such as those who live in inner cities or rural locations, are socio-economically disadvantaged, low in academic performance or have a disability.”