Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Memphis School Board Discusses Military Testing

Posted By on Tue, Feb 13, 2007 at 4:00 AM

It looks like the Memphis City Schools (MCS) board may continue to allow student information to be released to the military through Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test.

At a special MCS board staff conference meeting last night, members discussed a resolution proposed by board member Jeff Warren that would shield students’ personal information on the test from military recruiters.

“This is not a military or anti-military question,” said Warren at last night’s meeting. “It’s a question of student’s privacy.”

An optional test administered to high school juniors and seniors by the military, the ASVAB is designed to help kids make career choices. However, the test also provides military field recruiters with information on high school students qualified for enlistment.

Currently, the district allows the military to give the test under Option 1, which means phone numbers, scores, and other personal information from all students who take the test goes directly to the military. Students who score well often receive mailings and phone calls from recruiters, whether they’re interested in joining the military or not. The option Warren supports is called Option 8.

However, recommendations from the board’s attorneys lean toward sticking with Option 1, but placing more emphasis on informing the students as to where their information is going. They would also require that parents sign a consent form, allowing them to opt out of allowing their child to take the test.

As it stands, there is no district-wide policy regarding how individual schools handle the ASVAB.

“We don’t know the consistency by which schools are informing parents,” said superintendent Carol Johnson. “The recommendations would require it.” -Bianca Phillips

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