The Tide it is a Changin’

Mainstream media starts reporting on the militarization of America’s schools.

By Pat Elder

Children watch an interactive screen showing an advertisement for military recruitment in an Arizona school hallway.

There have been three remarkable breakthroughs in the last month regarding the media’s willingness to report and comment on the alarming process of the militarization of America’s high schools.  For more than a generation, the corporate media has imposed an apparent moratorium on in-depth reporting on deceptive, school-based DOD recruiting programs.

The Associated Press, after years of nudging, finally reported on the list of high school JROTC programs the NRA Foundation funds across the country. Although this information has been available to the public for a generation, it has never been reported by the mass media. The foundation’s IRS Form 990 clearly associates the NRA with JROTC shooting programs in high schools across the country.

It’s a shame the same news organizations still refuse to report on the role of the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) in managing high school firing ranges and marksmanship programs. The CMP is the privately-run, super-secret congressionally chartered small arms and ammunition dealer with assets exceeding $220 million. We’re still waiting for the media behemoths to report on the CMP’s 990.

In an equally surprising development, the Economist Magazine reported on high school firing ranges associated with JROTC military programs that operate in thousands of high schools. The British publication, a flagship of the neoliberal order, asks in its headline, “Should the army subsidise high-school soldiering?” This is an unthinkable development, similar to the magnitude of a presidential visit to Pyongyang or the overnight unleashing of trade war.

In a third development, USA Today reported on SkoolLive, a military-funded scheme that conspired to place interactive 6’ kiosks in America’s public high schools. The critical article raised objections to the military’s practice of circumventing state and federal laws while prompting children to upload sensitive, personal information. SkoolLive has taken its website offline.

We hope to see reporting soon on the CMP and the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, (ASVAB), a fraudulent military testing program in 12,000 schools. Of course, there are several dozen other despicable practices perpetrated by the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command in our nation’s high schools that also deserve to be outed.

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