Sunday, March 4, 2012

Noted: New York State Education Department: "The Military ... Doesn't Count"

This isn't, quite, about the war on terror. I think the New York State Department of Education's policy comes from an attitude that's - regrettable:
"Schools rip DOE's military disservice"
Susan Edelman, New York Post (March 4, 2012)

"City principals are up in arms over a new plan that gives bonus points this year to high schools based on graduates going to college - but doesn’t count those who join the military.

"Department of Education officials met with a group of principals last week to explain changes in Progress Reports coming out this fall. Schools that send more kids to community or baccalaureate colleges within six to 18 months will get extra credit.

"When a principal asked about points for grads who choose to enlist in the armed forces, he was shot down.

" 'The military isn't college. It doesn't count,' the group was told...."
This looks like more of the bias that's plagued American academia for decades.

In one sense, I don't blame folks who say that "the military isn't college. It doesn't count...." They may sincerely believe that the American military is drafted from the oppressed classes in America: poor, uneducated, minorities. Or that soldiers are brutish thugs who go around torturing and killing all the time.

On the other hand, folks who determine education policy for a state should, I think, know something about education - and today's America. At least those aspects of American culture that relate to education.

Bias: An Equal-Opportunity Issue

Politically-correct education bosses aren't the only sort of folks who can be biased.

I'm just as dissatisfied with 'regular Americans' who seem to regard all Muslims as 'Arabs,' and all Arabs as "Towlheads." Then there's that infamous "they're all Muslims" crack.

If there's a practical reason for penalizing schools that allow students to consider military service: maybe the New York State DOE decision makes sense. Maybe.

It's hard to imagine, though, that discouraging schools from letting students know about military service, which involves practical training and experience, isn't rooted in simple bias.

'Does it matter,' if schools are penalized for allowing students to consider getting out of the classroom before they enter the cubicle? I think it does. Among other things, a young adult who decides to enter military service instead of going straight into college will be exposed to a new culture. And a set of values that is arguably more firmly rooted in reality.

Me? I went straight from high school to college - and stayed there for years. In the '60s and '70s. I eventually figured out why academia didn't always make sense: and that's another topic.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.