Education Week - October 28, 2015 - (Page 20)

COMMENTARY Do Military Recruiters Belong in Schools? T By Seth Kershner & Scott Harding he United States stands alone among Western nations in allowing military recruiters to work inside its educational system. Section 9528 of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act requires that public high schools give the military as much access to campuses and student contact information as is given to any other recruiter. However, University of Kansas anthropologist Brian Lagotte finds that school officials do not fully understand this policy and often provide military recruiters unrestricted access to their campuses. Many schools allow military recruiters to coach sports, serve as substitute teachers, chaperone school dances, and engage in other activities. In some cases, recruiters are such a regular presence in high schools that students and staff regard them as school employees. The military does not advertise what it is doing in public schools. But for the past four years, we have been researching those who make it their business to closely monitor the actions of military personnel in schools: parents, students, military veterans, and citizens affiliated with the grassroots "counter recruitment" movement. Many of them told us that Getty state education commissioners, district superintendents, school principals, and other policymakers react with surprise at their efforts to rid schools of the undue influence of military personnel. In fact, most public officials are unaware of the extent of the military's presence in education settings and the ways in which the Pentagon can access private data about high school students. Until now, there has been a lack of hard data describing the extent of military involvement in schools. Last year, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the U.S. Army provided us with documents about recruiter activities in Connecticut high schools during the 2011-12 academic year. The data offer only a snapshot of what recruiters for one service branch-the Army-were doing in one state. Certain trends emerge that should be of concern to educators and parents everywhere, however. At a number of Connecticut high schools, Army recruiters are present-in one form or another-on a weekly basis. This kind of blanket coverage could only be possible with the Army's enormous recruiting budget: $338 million in fiscal year 2013. In contrast, most college recruiters do not have these kinds of resources to be in schools with the same regularity. On the AP U.S. History Framework Approaching the Past Without a Present Agenda T By Jeremy A. Stern he past year's very public battle over the College Board's new Advanced Placement U.S. History framework-the suggested concepts and skills students need to know for a college-level history course-has, as they say, generated more heat than light. Yet beneath the overheated rhetoric, including wild accusations of anti-American indoctrination, there was a legitimate debate to be had. On the one hand, the board was entirely correct that the vague, decades-old framework that preceded the 2014 version urgently needed to be replaced. The 2014 framework was also meant to accompany a heavily reconceptualized AP exam, commendably focused on historical comprehension rather than rote memorization. The new instructor's guide and framework aimed to clarify the key concepts that would appear on the exam, freeing teachers from a draining "better memorize everything in the textbook" approach. Too many critics failed to consider what the framework actually was and what it was for, and attacked it for failing to list famous names and events, as if it were a detailed and prescriptive curriculum. On the other hand, the 2014 framework's content summary was properly criticized for a tendentious and overly judgmental approach to history. While much coverage of the subject was perfectly sound, too much seemed to urge condemnation of the past for failure to live up to presentday moral standards. To its considerable credit, the College Board took substantive critiques very seriously. The board would normally release small further revisions, based on teacher input, after the new document's first year in use. But in the summer of 2014, it announced an unprecedented open-comment period: Instead of issuing a minor 2015 revision based solely on AP teacher feedback, the board would undertake a major redrafting based on input from all interested parties. The much-revised 2015 version, released in late July, is the result of this serious attention to criticism, and the board's commendable desire to produce the best and most useful framework possible. I am on record, in print and online, as a critic of the 2014 framework's biased tone. Last year, I participated in a meeting with College Board representatives at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute in Washington (at which the open-comment period was first proposed). Afterwards, I was asked to submit a detailed critique. My concerns were substantially addressed in the first wave of revisions, and I was brought in as a formal consultant during the final revision process this past spring. Inevitably, I still have quibbles with content items here and there-points I think could be clearer, broader, or better-focused. But my major concerns with the 2014 version have been thoroughly addressed in the 2015 revision. The first version drew fire mainly from the right, drawing accusations of anti-American bias-and the 2014 version's presentism did too often give such an impression. Now, inevitably, some on the left have accused the College Board of caving to political pressure and returning to archaic flag-waving "triumphalism." Before the new version was even released, Newsweek, responding to a document its staff had not yet even seen, sought to set the narrative, declaring that the revision "emphasizes American exceptionalism." (The term "American exceptionalism," which did not appear in the 2014 version, now does in the revision-once, last on a list of general concepts relating 20 | EDUCATION WEEK | October 28, 2015 | Getty " The clear purpose was to strive for balanced and neutral coverage, not to replace one bias with another."

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 28, 2015

Education Week - October 28, 2015
Study Paints Chaotic View of Testing
In L.A., Tensions Rise Over Teacher Investigations
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: ‘Ephemeral’ Apps Put School Leaders in Tricky Spots
Unequal Access to Advanced Classes Targeted
Fighting Subtle Bias
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Oak Foundation Aiding Those With ‘Learning Differences’
Long-Term Study to Track Adolescent Brain Development
Blogs of the Week
In Minneapolis, a Targeted Effort To Bolster Black Boys
School-Parent Linkages Chip Away at Cultural Barriers
Fate of Programs Complicates Path To ESEA Compromise
Some School Choice Backers Tepid On Title I Portability Proposal
State Chiefs Look to Montana For Ways to Meet the Needs Of Native American Students
Signs Point to Increase in High School Graduation Rates
Blogs of the Week
SETH KERSHNER & SCOTT HARDING: Do Military Recruiters Belong in Schools?
JEREMY A. STERN: On the AP U.S. History Framework
Unearthing the Humanity Beneath Stereotypes
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
JOHN HATTIE: The Effective Use of Testing: What the Research Says

Education Week - October 28, 2015