This is a follow-up to the piece I just posted and the letter I sent to the APS administrators, school board, and high school principals.
The assembly given to the students of Albuquerque High School (and we find out that it was also given to Rio Grande students), was presented by a US Army sponsored organization called ‘Planning For Life.’ This organization has a website www.planningforlife.com .
An email response to a parent inquiry from the Albuquerque HS Activities Director claimed that no recruiting took place. I am currently withholding the name of the parent. I am a Highland HS teacher, and I am unaware that this PFL presentation was given to HS students, but I will get confirmation on that.
Thank you for your concern regarding Wednesday's presentation. Retired Lt. Col. Consuelo Castillo Kickbush is a nationally known motivational speaker who focused on assisting students in establishing goals after graduation. More specifically, she focused on the: mind (education), body (nutrition), and spirit (making good decisions). Absolutely no recruiting took place. Standard practice is that any speaker be approved by the APS Communications Office before they are allowed into our schools. This was the case in this regard. This program was given (free of charge) to students at Highland and Rio Grande High Schools.
If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me at 362-9147.
G. Antonio Gonzales
A thorough review of Planning For Life’s website, especially the Videos page, and the link to the site March2Success, reveal that Planning For Life is most certainly a recruiting tool for the US Army.
In the posted Videos, and on the photos page (and firsthand testimony from the Albuquerque HS assembly), many of the presenters are uniformed servicemen. This is advertising for the Army in and of itself, regardless of the content of the presentation. Watching the videos, you will also see that the military is referenced frequently in the fitness portion of the presentation, and part of this portion is also ‘boot camp’ style drills of situps and pushups. You will see that the presentations are rife with visuals of Army advertising and merchandise such as T-shirts.
On the Parent/Educator Resources page, a suggested Curriculum is given:
Suggested Program Structure/Curriculum (Interactive)
- Welcome/PFL Overview (15 min.)
- The Soul -- motivational speaker (1 hour)
- Breakout Sessions (20-25 min. each, rotating after 5 min. break):
- The Mind (education and career planning tools)
- The Body/Diet and Nutrition, led by an Army nutrition expert
- The Body/Physical Fitness, led by a local Army representative
- Closing Session/The Soul (15 min.) -- Values, Character and Leadership, led by local ROTC representative if available
- Meal provided
How can such a curriculum be implemented with the suggested personnel without a component of military recruitment? If it’s possible, I ‘m not seeing it. I have attached the PFL sample agenda, and at the very end, you will see “Students pick up PFL goodies.” This closing session can be seen on one of the videos, and those PFL goodies do not come in a PFL bag – they come in a US Army bag.
More disturbing than this, however, is the online SAT/Standardized Test Practice called March2Success. This website is maintained by the US Army and Kaplan, and is promoted in the Planning For Life presentation. While PFL claims that it is not recruiting students, this test preparation website requires that students provide personal contact information to be functional. Students who use this website can potentially be personally targeted as someone who has shown interest in a military career by recruiters. This website also contains the Army logo as a form of advertising. The recruiting disclaimer on the PFL website for March2Success is as follows:
Initial enrollment is for 45 days and students can request an extension. Anyone over the age of 13 may register. The Web site also includes links that students can use to find out more about college admissions and other helpful career planning links. There is no requirement or obligation to the student or the school to be contacted by an Army recruiter.
Anyone over the age of 13. No requirement to be contacted – but a requirement to dispense contact information. The website maintains in its FAQ that no one will be contacted by a recruiter unless they specifically requested. I tried to register on the site, but because I do not allow tracking cookies on my computer I was not able to do so.
And here are the “helpful career planning links” – that’s all, no others. I could not find ANYTHING about college admissions. Jason
This article by the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (COMD) exposes that March2Success is an admitted recruiting tool for the Army: http://www.comdsd.org/article
An excerpt from the article reads:
The Army freely admits there are several advantages to providing this online service to students. First, it drives traffic to the Army’s recruiting Web site, www.goarmy.com, and generates leads for recruiters to pursue. Students are prompted to indicate if they want to be contacted by a recruiter; Army graphics and propaganda are omnipresent. March2Success offers a state-of-the-art product to schools and students who rarely have access to free online instruction. The program helps to strengthen the relationship between Army recruiters and school staff. After all, school "penetration" and "ownership" are cited in military manuals as tasks for all school-based recruiters.
As I stated in my letter to the APS ruling bodies yesterday, what we have here is a captive student audience being recruited, however covertly, by the US Army, with the full sanction of APS (as Mr. Gonzales wrote, PFL was approved by the APS Communications Office.) I am waiting to see what kind of response I get from my letter. APS does not have a history of kind disposition towards anti-military viewpoints.
I have been informed of a community meeting at Albuquerque HS, in the cafeteria, at 6pm on Tuesday Dec. 11th. This situation presents a unique opportunity to let APS know that the military presence on campus has overstepped its boundaries, and that APS has committed a serious lapse in judgment by allowing PFL on campus. PFL clearly is nothing but a marketing tool for the Army, at a time when the Army is in need of ‘fresh meat’ due to a general decline in new recruits, and also the increased rates of AWOL and suicide. Let us make a firm statement to APS that our community will not tolerate this, or further assaults on our children.
Sincerely, and in Peace