I’ve received tons of letters in response to my post yesterday on the San Francisco school board’s decision to kill its JROTC program. I’m reprinting a sample, plus one published in the San Francisco Chronicle this morning and another received by California Conservative, which is tracking the story:
[San Francisco Chronicle] Editor — It is a sad day for the students of San Francisco’s public schools. With the elimination of the JROTC program, the school board killed a program that offered an alternative for many students (“School board votes to dump JROTC program,” Nov. 15).
The only reason that I can think for this action is the board’s fear of an alternative voice on campus; the fear that its “progressive” views will somehow be diluted by students who found a home and a place to grow in the JROTC.
I spent three years as a cadet at Lowell High School’s JROTC program. I was shy and reserved as a 10th-grader; when I graduated three years later, I was the deputy battalion commander. I also gained experience as a company commander, teaching a class of 30 cadets. No other school program provided me with that kind of experience. I never once thought about joining the military; it is precisely because there was no military commitment that many students enrolled in JROTC.
The school board does not seem to care about programs that benefit students, just about eliminating competing ideas. This action looks and smells like tyranny, instead of democracy.
Letter from a SF bay reader at California Conservative:
Last night I was watching San Francisco Bay Area’s channel 11 (http://www.nbc11.com/index.html) when a lead story was announced before the 11pm began. It was about the San Francisco school board just coming to a decision to terminate the SF JROTC program and it was a 4-2 vote in favor of terminating JROTC. There appeared to be numerous high school kids protesting against the decision and it seemed that the majority of them were 1st generation Asians Americans. It was obvious from the crowd that these kids were devastated by the decision as many of them were in tears.
I had a sneer of disgust on my face while viewing the story. I know that in the past few years that the vitriolic left in SF had been very aggressive about removing any and all military influence from our city’s schools. What really made me “pop my cork” though was seeing Medea Benjamin’s sour puss being interviewed by Channel 11 as a proponent for removing JROTC.
Channel 11 only identified her as a concerned “parent” during the brief interview and not as the acting head of Code Pink with a lifetime of Stalinist-left activism behind her belt.
I would love to find out what groups were behind this move.
When I retired from the Army in 1999, I was a JROTC instructor for a year. This is not a program that teaches military skills unless you count marching (not much different than what the band does). It teaches history, citizenship, communications skills, organization skills and leadership development. A good portion of each unit’s year is spent supporting community service projects, like the Special Olympics for example.
For a bonus, it tosses in discipline, values, courtesy… But, I’m sure a program such as this is not valuable to San Francisco’s public school students. The students in JROTC as a group have higher academic scores than other students. Did I mention that a good number of full, 4 year college scholarships are earned each year by JROTC Cadets. Maybe the school board will give that back to these students. What a shame.
The ban on the JROTC program only proves that community leaders are afraid of anything they cannot control and lack the character to see the value JROTC programs teach our youth.
My children were ‘military brats’ (they have no problem with the label). They were born in Korea (mother is Korean) and went to pre-school and grades 1&2 in Korea. When we were transferred to Hawaii, they continued in schools (sponsored by military families). After my retirement and moving to Kauai, they immediately enrolled on their own into the JROTC programs in High School. Their reason was that it provides them the leadership and discipline necessary to function in their community, state, nation, and world-their words.
One went to U.H. and stayed with the ROTC program for the same reasons expressed earlier. He has graduated and joined the military and is now stationed in Korea (50 miles away from where he and his brother were born).
The other is a Senior at ASU majoring in computer engineering and science. While he is not active in the ROTC program at ASU, he uses the concepts of character building learned in JROTC, to allow him to assume leadership position with ASU’s Asian Club. The club’s goal is to ensure all Asian and Pacific Island, foreign exchange students at ASU have a place where they are able to express their views and to assure that can overcome the culture shock of associated with experiencing America for the first time.
All I can say is–to recite the mantra of yesteryear (San Francisco’s Height Ashbury era really)–“Give Peace a Chance” and let the JROTC program show the students how the Peace Is Maintained.
Timothy A. Skinner
As I write this the news here in SF just lead with the story about JROTC
being fazed out, and I am saddened and angry.
Of all the programs in the San Francisco Unified School District, JROTC
has brought discipline and self respect to many young people through out
the years. Yet on the news I see a Cindy Sheehan wannabe call those that
have gone through the program as being trained to be “occupiers” and
“murderers”. (I wonder what that woman really thinks about the program!)
The Mayor of San Francisco once said, “Where San Francisco
leads, the country follows.” If that’s the case, I fear where this will
lead us as a nation!
Stanley Kurtz issues a call to arms:
The No Child Left Behind Act includes a provision denying federal funds to schools that bar military recruiters. If that provision of NCLBA applies here, then the administration must enforce it. If, on the other hand, JROTC is not technically classed as “recruitment,” then the coverage of the Solomon Amendment (for universities) and the No Child Left Behind Act (for K-12) needs to be expanded by congress to include both the ROTC and the JROTC.
The administration and the (formerly) Republican congress have dropped the ball on this issue. First, let’s give credit where credit is due. The Bush administration has enforced the Solomon Amendment’s application to law school recruitment, and has very successfully defended against a legal challenge to the Solomon Amendment, winning a unanimous decision in the Supreme Court. (The Solomon Amendment denies federal funds to colleges and universities that bar military recruiters.) For all this, the administration deserves our praise. Congress and the president are also to be credited for inserting a recruitment protection provision in the No Child Left Behind Act.
Having said all that, many of America’s finest colleges and universities are still barring the ROTC, while continuing to pocket millions of dollars in federal aid. This should not be permitted. Either the Solomon Amendment and No Child Left Behind should be invoked against bans on ROTC and JROTC programs (which are de facto forms of recruitment), or the definition of what counts as recruitment should be formally expanded by congress to include ROTC and JROTC.
This is both the right thing to do, and a winning political issue.
San Francisco kills JROTC program
Waging war on JROTC
They don’t support our troops
An attack on the ROTC
More recruiters under attack
I am not afraid of you
The moonbats strike back
Seditious Santa Cruz vs. America
UC Santa Cruz hates our troops
The moonbats lose
SCOTUS Watch: Rumsfeld vs. FAIR
The campus war on military recruiters
Military recruiters under fire
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