Evaluator: Peter Phillips
Obama’s new Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has close ties to the US Military. While administrator of the Chicago Public Schools Duncan offered a key role in public education to the military. Chicago’s school system is currently the most militarized in the country, boasting five military academies, nearly three dozen smaller Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps programs within existing high schools, and numerous middle school Junior ROTC programs. The military academies Duncan started are nearly all located in low-income, minority neighborhoods. Of the 10,000 students are enrolled in a military education program only 4% are white.
In Chicago school district’s five military academies, affiliated with either the Army, Navy, or Marines, all students are required to enroll as well in the academy’s Junior ROTC program. That means student/cadets must wear full military uniforms to school everyday. As part of the academy’s curriculum, they must also take a daily ROTC course focusing on military history, map reading and navigation, drug prevention, and the branches of the Department of Defense.
Cadets can practice marching on an academy’s drill team, learn the proper way to fire a weapon on the rifle team, and choose to attend extracurricular spring or summer military training sessions. At the Phoenix Military Academy, cadets are even organized into an academy battalion, modeled on an Army infantry division battalion, in which upper-class cadets fill the leading roles of commander, executive officer, and sergeant major. Three of these military academies were created in part with Department of Defense appropriations. When the proposed Air Force Academy High School opens this fall, Chicago public schools will be the only public school system in the country with Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps high school academies. 10,000 students are enrolled in a military education program of some sort in the CPS system.
“The Duncan Doctrine: The Military-Corporate Legacy of the New Secretary of Education”
Andy Kroll, Tom Dispatch.com, January 18, 2009