ASVAB is Military's Stealth Recruiting Tool
by Pat Elder
Tuesday, Apr. 01, 2008 at 2:06 PM
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is the military's most valuable recruiting asset. You can stop this predatory practice.
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The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, (ASVAB) is the military's entrance exam that is given to fresh recruits to determine their aptitude for various military occupations. The test is also used as a recruiting tool because it is given to 605,000 children in high schools across the country. Scores from the student ASVAB provide a fast track to enlistment and are valid up to two years. Many regard the ASVAB as the military's most valuable recruiting tool.
In internal military documents, the army admits the ASVAB is a recruiting device, but to the American public, it is a "career exploration program". After the test is administered, military recruiters make calls to unsuspecting youngsters using individualized profiles gathered from test data.
While there are built-in requirements of an opt-out notification in other releases of student information to non-school parties (e.g., under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and No Child Left Behind), there is no such requirement in the ASVAB student testing program. Students across the country routinely take the ASVAB test and their private information and test results are forwarded to military recruiting services without their parents' consent.
Although there's no requirement to provide opt-out notification regarding ASVAB information, military regulations provide for several options regarding the release of student information. Please take a moment to read the military's regulation for an explanation of the various ASVAB release options available to public school systems. See pages 12 & 13 of Military Regulation #601-4 http://www.mepcom.army.mil/publications/pdf/regs/r-0601-004.pdf Although Option 8 allows school systems to block student information from reaching military recruiters, many districts are unaware of the option.
Please email your local superintendent and school board and ask them to select release Option 8 for their students who take the ASVAB test. For more information on where the ASVAB is given in your area, contact firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.nnomy.org
Peace & Justice Organization
Your Town, USA
Superintendent of Schools
Dear Superintendent __________________,
I am writing to ask you to protect the privacy of students in the __________ County Public Schools who take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, (ASVAB).
Although the military promotes the ASVAB as a voluntary "Career Exploration Program" administered to juniors and seniors, the US Army Recruiting Command admits the ASVAB is a military recruiting tool.
A large majority of the students who are given the ASVAB in schools are under the age of 18 and, therefore, legal minors, yet unless a school district takes measures to protect student privacy, the very detailed personal data gathered from the ASVAB is automatically forwarded to military recruiting services.
(See this brief by the National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles Chapter.)
In the last year, many school districts, including three of the nation's largest, Montgomery County and Prince George's County in Maryland, and the Los Angeles Unified School District, have taken steps pursuant to military regulations that allow for the administration of the test but preclude test data from falling into the hands of military recruiters. The District of Columbia's Public Schools no longer allow the ASVAB to be administered.
The U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command identifies various options schools have regarding the administration and release of ASVAB information. These options range from Option 1, which permits test results and other student information to be released to military recruiters without prior consent, to Option 8, which prohibits using the ASVAB test results and private information for recruiting purposes (students can still decide later to individually release their ASVAB results to a recruiter). School officials typically cite the importance of ensuring student privacy when selecting Option 8. Inaction on the part of a school system will cause the military to automatically select Option 1.
The Montgomery district requires students to have a signed parental permission form to take the test.
See USMEPCOM Regulation 601.4 Personnel Procurement Student Testing Program 25 July, 2005, pages 12 & 13 for an explanation of the various options available to public school systems: http://www.mepcom.army.mil/publications/pdf/regs/r-0601-004.pdf
If the ASVAB is to be given, we urge you to select ASVAB release Option 8 and require parental consent for all children taking the test.
cc: Board of Education Members, ____________ County Public Schools