Despite theÂ findings of the taxpayer-fundedÂ CNA StudyÂ released in January of 2004, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum in January of 2005Â to the Assistant Secretaries of the Army, Navy and the Air Force (the Marine Corps falls under the Department of the Navy, and the Coast Guard is under Homeland Security),Â granting the subjects of the CNA Study, homeschoolers and ChalleNGe ProgramÂ graduates, priority enlistment status.
- 21 Jan 2005Â Memorandum from the Under Secretary of Defense to the Assistant Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and the Air Force
Because of this it would seem that theÂ Section 522 language in HR 1815 and S 1042, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2006, a sectionÂ added without notice to theÂ greater homeschooling community,Â is redundant.Â Homeschooled individuals who want to enlist already have a way to do so, so why the need for legislation whose languageÂ is very similar to thatÂ of the memorandum?
After re-discovering the Memorandum, I put pieces of it next to pieces of Section 522 to see how they compared.
- Memorandum:Â This Directive-type memorandum clarifies recruitment policy with regard to home school graduates and National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program graduates who hold a General Educational Development (GED) Certificate.
Section 522:Â (1) POLICY REQUIRED.-The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe a policy on the recruitment and enlistment of home schooled students in the Armed Forces.
- Memorandum:Â Addressed to all the Assistant Secretaries of the military forces of the DoD.
Section 522: (1) POLICY REQUIRED.-The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe a policy on the recruitment and enlistment of home schooled students in the Armed Forces.
- Memorandum:Â Home school diploma graduates and National Guard Youth ChalleNGe GED holders manifest favorable attributes such as reduced frequency of moral disqualification; as such they shall be afforded priority in enlistment programs such that no practical limit shall apply with regard to enlistment, provided the applicant is fully qualified for enlistment and is qualified in Armed Forces Qualification Test Categories I – IIIA.
Section 522: (2) Provision for the treatment of graduates of home schooling with no practical limit with regard to enlistment eligibility.
Well, look at the difference in that comparison.Â The Under Secretary of Defense says that there is no practical limit, provided the applicant is fully qualified for enlistment.Â Section 522 says no practical limit, period.Â That’s a big difference.
- Memorandum:Â There is no requirement in Department policy, nor law, demanding that home school diploma graduates hold a GED certificate as a precondition of enlistment, nor shall such a criterion be established as part of the recruitment policies of the Military Departments.Â All education qualifications shall be coded in compliance with OSD definitions.
Section 522:Â Â (c) HOME SCHOOL GRADUATES.-In prescribing the policy, the Secretary of Defense shall prescribe a single set of criteria to be utilized by the Armed Forces in determining whether an individual is a graduate of home schooling. The Secretary concerned shall ensure compliance with education credential coding requirements.Â
That looks close enough, doesn’t it?Â The clincher is:
- Section 522: (3) An exemption of graduates of home schooling from the requirement for a secondary school diploma or an equivalent (GED) as a precondition for enlistment in the Armed Forces.
The UnderÂ Secretary says no GED required.Â Section 522 says no diploma required.Â Another big difference.
For enlistment purposes, Section 522 states:
- (1) An identification of a graduate of home schooling for purposes of recruitment and enlistment in the Armed Forces that is in accordance with the requirements described in subsection (c).
I don’t think this refers to a national database of homeschoolers, but rather to the quantification of an individual’s credentials as compared toÂ the requirements of each service.Â Section 522’s insistence on a uniform DoD policy would remove that discretion from the services, where it now stands.
The effect of Section 522 would not only be to circumvent the conclusions of the CNA Study (and 30 years of prior research), but also to circumventÂ DoD policy that allows each service to determine who it willÂ or will not accept, within current DoD guidelines, and according to its needs.Â Section 522 doesn’t seem to be about remedying discrimination, but about control of the military services relative only to homeschoolers.
You know where to send your thanks.
By the way, speaking of discrimination, how’d the ChalleNGe kids get left out in the cold?