Thursday, November 16, 2006

San Francisco Board of Education's New Policy to Phase out the JROTC and replace with Non-Military, Non-Discriminatory Alternative Programs

I am posting the full language here of the San Francisco Board of Education's resolution which will phase out the JROTC [Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps] in SF Schools over a 2 year period and set up a task force that will build non-military and non-discriminatory programs to replace the phased out programs at 7 of our high schools. I have already begun dialogue with JROTC alumni, current students and instructors, community agencies and leaders to work together to create better opportunities for the many young people who are served by the program, but we are trying to create concrete educational alternatives for our high school students that are non-discriminatory and non-military oriented. Thanks to the many students, parents and community members who spoke out from different perspectives on this important issue, and especially to Sandra Schwartz of the American Friends Service Committee for her hard work in supporting the resolution.
Eric Mar, SF Board of Education

Click here for the PDF file of this resolution
Adopted by the Board of Education at its Regular Meeting of November 14, 2006.
Subject: Resolution No. 65-23A1
- Mark Sanchez and Dan Kelly
WHEREAS: The San Francisco Unified School District has banned educational partnerships with outside organizations that discriminate against any group based upon sexual orientation; and
WHEREAS: Civilian control of the military, and restriction of military involvement in civilian affairs is a fundamental characteristic of a healthy democracy; and
WHEREAS: The San Francisco Unified School District has restricted the activities of military recruiters on our campuses; and
WHEREAS: The San Francisco Unified School District has adopted violence prevention and conflict resolution strategies that promote non-violent behavior; and
WHEREAS: The San Francisco Unified School District requires that teachers of all academic courses be fully credentialed; and
WHEREAS: JROTC is a program wholly created and administrated by the United States Department of Defense, whose documents and memoranda clearly identify JROTC as an important recruiting arm; and
WHEREAS: No other potential employer or recruiter is given such a high profile, nor such extensive contact with students; and
WHEREAS: JROTC instructors are not certificated teachers, and may not even possess a college degree of any kind; and
WHEREAS: The San Francisco Unified School District share of JROTC salaries is provided from central budget, while regular PE teachers are charged against each school’s site-based budget; and
WHEREAS: JROTC manifests the military’s discrimination against LGBT people by offering non-LGBT students preferential enlistment options; and
WHEREAS: JROTC is one of the largest after school activities at some High Schools; and
WHEREAS: The Board of Education has received extensive testimony that JROTC promotes self-esteem, community service, and academic and leadership skills; and
WHEREAS: Many other student extra-curricular activities also develop self-esteem, academic and leadership skills, and a commitment to service; and
WHEREAS: The California Education Code permits, and some SFUSD schools allow, students to receive PE credit for sports participation, independent study, or other classes deemed equivalent.

Therefore Be It Resolved: The Board of Education finds that credentialing requirements for academic instructors and courses are not met by the JROTC, except where specifically allowable as a substitute for Physical Education; and

Be it Further Resolved: The Board of Education finds that JROTC programs on campus constitute a form of military recruitment and are in violation of our policy governing fair access for recruiters on campuses; and

Be it Further Resolved: The Board of Education finds that the JROTC program violates our anti discrimination policies with regard to LGBT students and adults; and

Be it Further Resolved: The Board of Education finds that the funding mechanism of the JROTC creates inequities between High Schools in SFUSD; and

Be it Further Resolved: The Board of Education finds that the JROTC is an inappropriate extension of the nation’s military into the civilian sphere; and

Be it Further Resolved: The Board of Education hereby begins a two-year phase out of all JROTC programs in the SFUSD resulting in no JROTC classes in the 2008-2009 school year and beyond; and

Be it Further Resolved: No new JROTC units or programs may be initiated at any SFUSD schools, effective immediately; and

Be it Further Resolved: That SFUSD staff shall not direct or require that students enroll in JROTC as an alternative to PE, or for any other reason; and

Be it Further Resolved: That the Board of Education directs that the current JROTC subsidies be re-distributed, as the program is drawn down, to SFUSD high schools on an equitable basis through the weighted student formula, to support and expand opportunities for all students.

Be It Further Resolved: That the Board of Education calls for the creation of a special task force to develop alternative, creative, career driven programs with the elements of the existing JROTC program that students have indicated important to them, which then will provide students with a greater sense of purpose and respect for self and humankind; and

Be It Further Resolved: That any new programs being implemented beginning academic year 2007-08 are evaluated before the end of the school year to test student satisfaction.

Please Note: Click here for the PDF file.
The original resolution was introduced in May 2006 and discussed in committee in June 2006 before being heard again with a substitute motion in August.
Taken up by the Curriculum and Program Committee on August 23, 2006. Substitute motion accepted by general consent of the Committee. Substitute Motion forwarded to the Board with a positive recommendation from Committee, and to be taken up for action at the September 12, 2006 Regular Board Meeting by a vote of 2 ayes (Mar and Kelly), and 1 nay (Lipson).
Taken up by the Budget and Business Services Committee on 10/18/06. Substitute motion, as amended, forwarded to the Board with a positive recommendation (2 ayes, l nay (Wynns) ). The Budget and Business Services Committee recommends to the Board that the intention of the original motion to develop an alternative program be addressed.
Substitute motion amended and adopted on 11/14/06.


Gary L said...

I am a concerned JROTC Alumni, regarding San Francisco Board of Education's decision to phase out the JROTC program. My questions relate to the future programs that are intended to replace the JROTC program. In your discussions with "JROTC alumni, students, and instructors" what were the conclusions that where made? What elements of the JROTC program are retained, and what are discarded or changed? Do the Board of Education have a thorough understanding of what JROTC teaches and promotes? Where will the funding for the task force come from?
If you can provide a link with these answers, that will be helpful.

It seems to me, that such a task force will be not be a funding priority of such as cash-strapped system. I am afraid that some of the board members neglect to see that for some students, JROTC is what motivates them to go to school. The board members don't see the massive benefits that the JROTC program provides for the students. Albeit, some of the reasons stated above are about discriminatory policy that the REAL military has, and its trickle down effect to the JROTC programs, but as an alumni, and if thorough research was conducted prior to this vote, the board members, will realize that discriminatory practices are non-existent or are at a level that is comparable to any other diverse student organization in San Francisco High Schools (JROTC has 1600 students, onlt comparable organization will be organized sports programs.) JROTC promotes all the self-esteem and leadership issues that you've covered above, but some other aspects, like civic duty, national, state, city, and school pride, the respect for authority and veterans, and skills like map-reading, first-aid, conflict resolution, and working in an structured organizations are limited in the high school setting. I feel that as a JROTC alumni, those are some of the important things that people don't usually talk about, because it is so easy to just dwell on the surface, things like self-esteem and leaderhip. Those are the things that help students become contributing members of society, and it is sad that the Board of Education has such a myopic view of an organization that helps so many students.

Anonymous said...

You left about 1600 school kids in the lurch when you cut the ROTC program. Most of these kids are working class -- the ones that the district is alway claiming it wants to serve.

Cutting out the ROTC will not change the military's gay policy or end the Iraqi war.

What you, Kelly, Lipsom, and Sanchez did amounts to a sanctimonious act of political aggrandizing. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Anonymous said...

The Rotc program is what keeps many students in school.The school board took out the program without an alternative.Where do they expect us to go?To P.E.?The class is already overflowing with students.The ROTC program has taught many students the true definition of hard work.The purpose of this program is not to recruit for the military,it is to teach students how to better themselves to gain skills needed in the future.