04 April 2006

Deny military recuriters and lose money

I read the paper every morning when I come into work, while getting ready to start work. Just something to balance myself and get caught up on some of the things that I missed over the previous night. In the local paper today they had a statement out of Seattle, Washington. The major city near where my folks live and what I have to pay attention to get an idea of the big things going on back home for my folks. I read this little story in the Seattle Times when I got home. It is about an attempt to have an initiative passed for the next major election to kick military recruiters out of the Seattle School District schools.
Reading this and catching a sound bite from the primary pusher of this initiative, one Amy Hagopian. A former member of the Seattle School District Board and current member of the PTSA for Garfield High School. One of the top schools in the city and to a point the state, for both academics and sports. She use to be a member of the Seattle School Board until she started a flap as member of the PTSA for GHS. She passed a resolution trying to ban military recruiters from with in the walls of GHS. That started a minor broha in Seattle, as an example shown with these articles of the aftermath from the May 9th 2005 meeting. Long story short on this is that in the aftermath, the Federal Government after hearing about this threaten to pull federal funding for all of Seattle schools. The school board pulled back and fired Mrs. Hagopian and told the GHS PTSA to calm down. This all occurred at the height of the fight between recruiters on High Schools and College campus. Which in March of 2006 came to a head when a court case reached the US Supreme Court and lead to a unanimous ruling that military recruiters had to be allowed on college and high school campus with out hassle.

So where does that put us? Well I to a point don't have a problem with a gentle, calm counter protest to the military recruiters. However, what I do have a problem with is hassling and harassment of the recruiters because you don't like the current administration or because you don't like a certain policy in effect. On top of that the big push with this current initiative is to push college on kids. I can testify right now contrary to popular opinion not everyone is ready to jump from high school to college. I wasn't one, now 9 years later I am ready to try and go back to college.
College isn't right for everyone right away, and forcing kids to attend college just to make jobs for the various professors isn't right. It took me about 9yrs to figure that out for myself. I was completely tired of school after 12 yrs of public education and I did try when I entered community college to get a transfer degree, but after about a semester and a half I gave up because about half way through that first semester I saw my tuition rise and everything that I start to do on my liberal arts degree disappear into extra credits that counted for nothing. Why? Well that year the state did a review of degrees with its major schools and decided to revamp the requirements for a liberal arts transfer degree.
Why couldn't I get into a state run university right away? Well most of them had requirements that a person had to have a GPA up around 3.7 or better, a few years of lab sciences, a few years of languages, and a bunch of extra credits that trying to fit in.... Well lets us just say that I wasn't going to make it. So instead it was going to be study like hell, find a job, and try to do it all in 2 yrs to achieve a transfer degree. Job...Well finding a job in a 2 college town ain't happening folks. At least not one that could pay for books, gas for the car, and leave enough to eat on. After, getting involved with too many MLM bs and have one manger for a local retail store show me a stack of other resumes and ask me basically, "What makes you stand out from all these other 18-21 yr olds." I went home took a long hard look around, left again and went out to a spot up in the county that let me overlook a lake sat there with a bottle of Coca-cola in my hands and listen to the radio and thought long and hard. I came home, decided to drop out and join the Navy. At the end of that current semester I was in.
After that I went through all the requirements, recruiter, MEPS, long bus/plane ride, boot camp, other schools and then hit the fleet. In what amounted to about 2 yrs, I found myself. I rose to a position where I was basically middle management when I became a 2nd class PO and a work center supervisor. I was responsible for multi-dollar aircraft and equipment. Finally, I found that the break I took was good to clear my mind and actually I learned more as I went through various schools for the Navy and pay attention. Not only because I had to, but also because a lot of what the instructors were teaching me wasn't theory, but cold hard facts and they taught in a way that made sense to me. Also the instructors where there to help me and the rest of my class pass, they would take time out of their day to help us understand again and again if needed to. In college, well they were there to collect a check in my honest opinion.

That is why I feel this current push for this initiative is wrong and stupid. It is denying a chance for kids that don't have anything else in their life to try and rise above their stations in life. Not everyone is fit to go to college right after high school, and with the way that the current economy is running where you need a college degree just to become a low-end cog in the great American company, a spot where a high school diploma use to be able to get you. If the voters of the city of Seattle vote this in I really think that the federal government should pull every last federal dollar out of the Seattle school district and see how they will support the number of their programs with out raising property taxes. Let alone what would happen if the military decides to just pull up stakes and move their bases to someplace else in the state or even country? It is sad to see a city such as Seattle dry up because a number of people with some nice ideas, but misguided ways to achieve them.

*****Edit: Thanks to Mudville Gazette , for putting this up on thier Dawn Patrol for 05APR05*****

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