Dec 072009
 
 December 7, 2009  Youth & Schools

Carnell Hawthorne Jr. reports on an issue discussed on Pogo in the past: federal education laws known as FERPA and NCLB that come into play when the military wants to get personal or contact information to recruit students. Many parents still don’t seem to know that they have the right to send in an opt-out letter at the beginning of the school year, but if they do not explicitly opt-out, their child’s contact information and perhaps other information will be provided:

Recently at Suwannee High School all juniors were required to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test despite some parents’ view that the test should only be optional. For several parents, and apparently several students who hid out on testing day Nov. 17, full junior class test participation became a major issue.

“If they come to school on that day, they take it,” said Jim Simpson, assistant principal at SHS. “We require it as part of our school’s yearly curriculum.”

The ASVAB “is a timed multi-aptitude test, which is given at over 14,000 schools and Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) nationwide and is developed and maintained by the Department of Defense,” according to the armed services Web site www.military.com.

The site suggests that anyone serious about joining the military should take the ASVAB.

At SHS, Simpson said the test is used “for the kids’ sake, to determine job and career paths they’ll be suited for. It has a correlation score to the ACT, which makes it a great practice for that exam.”

Donna Odom, the parent of an 11th grade student, spoke recently with the Democrat about issues she has with the exam and the way it is administered at the school.

“The students were told that they had no option but to take it,” Odom said. “They were told it was a skills assessment test sponsored by the military.”

Although juniors are required to take the ASVAB at SHS, the option to withhold personal information, including social security numbers, from recruiters is available, but left to the school’s discretion.

Read more in the Suwannee Democrat.

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