While cleaning out my inbox, I read an older email from Google. It linked to the Washington Times article by HSLDA President Michael Smith about how HSLDA has caused the military services to see sense, and how the services now accept homeschooled graduates as Tier I recruits.
High-scoring enlisted given top tier, 30 July 2007, Washington Times, Washington, D.C.
We are excited that the Pentagon has taken this step to place home-schoolers back in Tier 1 where we believe they rightly belong.
When HSLDA firsr released this information, I wrote about it at my own blog, but in re-reading the Washington Times article, I think there is an aspect I missed in the first go-round.
Anyone who has been paying attention probably knows why “the Pentagon” has moved homeschoolers to Tier I.
- Congressional Budget Office (CBO), March 1987, The youth population decline and prospects for military recruiting in the 1990s
- Government Accounting Office (GAO), December 1994, Military Recruiting: More Innovative Approaches Needed
- New York Times, 17 December 2004, Guard reports serious drop in enlistment
- Parameters — U.S. Army War College Quarterly, Spring 2005, Demographic Trends and Military Recruitment: Surprising Possibilities (“graying” of the population)
- San Francisco Chronicle, 1 October 2006, U.S. is recruiting misfits for Army: Felons, racists, gang members fill in the ranks
- Fox News, 24 June 2007, Military’s black recruitment numbers way down
- Washington Post, 10 July 2007, Army’s recruiting goal lags for second month in a row
- National Public Radio, 16 July 2007, Military recruitment sees decline
- MSNBC, 9 August 2007, Need help with a down payment? Ask the Army
Enlisting recruits who are not graduates of brick and mortar high schools is not a new solution to the recruitment dilemma:
Army Recruiting and the Civil-Military Gap, Summer 2001, Parameters — U.S. Army War College Quarterly
Recruiting standards have been changed to access recruits who are not high-school graduates, and the Army has placed increased emphasis on recruiting in order to meet its goals, incurring significant costs in the process.
My purpose here is not to embarrass the Army or the other services, not to howl about those evil recruiters (some of whom were assigned to the job involuntarily), nor to denigrate the achievements of homeschooled grads who have enlisted in one of the armed services. I’m not even going to poke at the ill-thought-out foray whose mission was allegedly already accomplished … [makes self stop typing]
My intent is to point out that any of the military services will do what they need to do to attract recruits.
When my mother enlisted during World War II, the military services accepted women to replace men for combat duty. This strategy was not appreciated by everyone, and the honorable legacy those women left still does not have the folkloric appeal of Rosie the Riveter. The services needed bodies, and women were the only people left to recruit.
Unfortunately, a variety of social factors had combined to produce a negative public image of the female soldier. Letters home from enlisted men contained a great deal of criticism of female soldiers. …
The most significant cause of anti-WAAC feelings originated with the many enlisted soldiers who, comfortable in their stateside jobs, did not necessarily want to be “freed” for combat. The mothers, wives, sisters, and fiancees of these men were not anxious to see them sent into combat either, and many people believed the WAACs were to blame for this possibility.
Homeschooled graduates who enlist in the services today do not face the scorn, slander and libel that the WAACs, WACs, WAFs, WAVES, SPARS and Women Marines did in the 1940s. Homeschooled grads serve honorably, or (statistically) as honorably as anyone else without a brick and mortar diploma. The homeschool grad attrition rate still is not as low as that of brick and mortar grads, through no fault of their own — as teens they just don’t get the training in institutional routine, nonsense and tedium — so there is not much else to do but suck it up and drive on.
As a governmentally-sanctioned body with a mission given to it by the civilian leadership, the Army especially needs recruits now, but the recruits are scarcer than they were before. Because of the scarcity, the Army has relaxed requirements and now offers other incentives. The inclusion of homeschoolers in the Tier I category may be only another incentive.
Time will tell whether homeschooled grads will be accepted on an equal footing with their brick & mortar peers. Women, despite their rocky start, integrated into the services, so maybe homeschoolers will prove their worth and shed whatever stigma they carry. The kids can only try, and do their best.
But all this repeated trumpeting, such as “High-scoring enlisted given top tier” on an article about HSLDA’s do-over study (the first one is here), is hubris. You’d think that some people would be familiar with “pride goeth before a fall.”
posted by Valerie