A little known provision buried within the No Child Left Behind Act requires schools receiving federal funding to provide military recruiters with student information.
The Pentagon’s database includes birthdates, Social Security numbers, courses and majors, grade point averages, email addresses and ethnicity for high school and college students. The data is being collected and stored by BeNow, Inc., under contract.
This will be the focal point of a town-hall style meeting Thursday night at the Nyack Center in Nyack, N.Y. Francis Pratt, the president of the sponsoring chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, has concerns about this provision and urges all parents to attend.
“You have to know the contents of the whole act to know what is pro and what is con,” Pratt said. “And this is something that the community should not take lightly.” The Journal News
The provisions for the student database have been in effect since July 1, 2002. Currently, 95% of America’s 22,000 public highs schools are in compliance with this law. Schools who fail to comply risk losing federal funding.
Private schools receiving federal funding are also required to comply, unless they have verifiable religious objections to military service.
Privacy advocates said the plan appeared to be an effort to circumvent laws that restrict the government’s right to collect or hold citizen information by turning to private firms to do the work. — Washington Post
Information is being gathered from other sources as well, including driver license records and civil data brokers. Students do have the ability to opt out of this program by “providing detailed personal information that will be kept in a separate ‘suppression file.'” Of course, the information is still gathered and stored. You just won’t be contacted.
The Army has had trouble meeting recruitment goals in recent years. In fiscal year 2005 it missed its recruitment goal by almost nine percent.