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What’s the difference between education and obedience? If you see very little, you probably have no problem with the militarization of the American school system — or rather, the militarization of the impoverished schools . . . the ones that can’t afford new textbooks or functional plumbing, much less art supplies or band equipment.
The Pentagon has been eyeing these schools — broken and gang-ridden — for a decade now, and seeing its future there. It comes in like a cammy-clad Santa, bringing money and discipline. In return it gets young minds to shape, to (I fear) possess: to turn into the next generation of soldiers, available for the coming wars.
Kenneth J. Saltman - Public schools in the United States have increasingly come to resemble the military and prison systems with their hiring of military generals as school administrators and heavy investment in security apparatus—metal detectors, high-tech dog tag IDs, chainlink fences, and real-time Internet-based or hidden mobile surveillance cameras—plus, their school uniforms, security consultants, surprise searches, and the presence of police on campuses.1 But it would be a mistake to understand the preoccupation with security as merely a mass media-driven hysteria in the wake of Virginia Tech and other high-profile shootings, and myopic to ignore the history of public school militarization prior to September 11.
Last year, Henry F. Moss Middle School in Bowling Green, Ohio, offered students a brand new course. And, as a headline in the local newspaper proclaimed, this was “not your traditional class.” For starters, the teacher—an army sergeant—had told the Bowling Green Daily News that one of his goals was to expose these seventh- and eighth-graders to “military values” that they could use as “building blocks” in life. To that end, students in the class earn military style ranks, engage in army-style “PT” (physical training) and each Wednesday, wear camouflage pants and boots.
This is the Moss Middle School Leadership Corps, part of the growing trend of military-style education for pre-adolescents.
Lawrence Wittner - In 1915, a mother's protest against funneling children into war provided the theme of a new American song, "I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier." Although the ballad attained great popularity, not everyone liked it. Theodore Roosevelt, a leading militarist of the era, retorted that the proper place for such women was "in a harem―and not in the United States."
If Roosevelt were still around today, a century later, he would be happy to learn that preparing children for war continues unabated.
"Very glad to learn about this outstanding initiative, and I wish you the greatest – well-deserved – success." Noam Chomsky
"Regarding any input I have about your work to demilitarize public education in Chicago, it has my wholehearted support. We should be teaching our children how to resolve conflicts in a peaceful and constructive way." Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
A former Shreveporter who left a troubled family here to serve as a combat medic in Iraq, and who later served as a new doctor combating Ebola in west Africa, will speak in his home town later this week and sign copies of his new book.
"My mom was in prison most of my life, and my sister did time," says Antonio Webb, 32, who now is in his residency as an orthopedic surgeon in San Antonio, Texas. He grew up in the Allendale, Queensborough and Meadows neighborhood off Jewella Avenue.
"My dad did the best he could as a single parent to keep us isolated from what was going on. I was lucky in that I left Shreveport at an early age, 17, after I graduated from high school. If I'd have stayed in Shreveport there would have been a different outcome."
Congress surely meant to do the right thing when, in the fall of 2008, it passed the Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA). The law was designed to protect kids worldwide from being forced to fight the wars of Big Men. From then on, any country that coerced children into becoming soldiers was supposed to lose all U.S. military aid.
It turned out, however, that Congress -- in its rare moment of concern for the next generation -- had it all wrong. In its greater wisdom, the White House found countries like Chad and Yemen so vital to the national interest of the United States that it preferred to overlook what happened to the children in their midst.
Through articles, images, survey data and interviews, Sowing Seeds: The Militarisation of Youth and How to Counter It documents the seeds of war that are planted in the minds of young people in many different countries. However, it also explores the seeds of resistance to this militarisation that are being sown resiliently and creatively by numerous people. READ MORE