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In fiscal year 2006, the Army made some changes to address the shortfalls. "Enlistment bonuses were increased to attract recruits to critical and shortage MOS's (military occupational specialties)," wrote Matthews, and "it dramatically increased recruiter production incentives and established a referral program which paid $2,000 for qualified referrals that enlisted and graduated from basic training." Furthermore, "In order to achieve its objective, USAREC also had to accept lower quality recruits. Waivers for misdemeanor and felony violations increased as USAREC was forced to reach deeper into the social strata of America for its personnel."
Other face-to-face time recruiters get with students often occurs casually, and each school can establish its own policy for what is required of recruiters, or what restrictions they must abide by.
"We have recruiters on a weekly basis, not every week the same branch, but what they do is we have a lobby right by our cafeteria in the high school and so they've been told they can set up a table in the back lobby, that they can't go actively into the room and pick and choose kids," said Penny of Clawson High School, who is responsible for submitting the list of student information to recruiters who ask for it. "If students are interested, they will go talk to the recruiter, but they're not to actively go talk to the kids."
Having been with the school since 1992, Penny recalled, "When I first started in this office, we were very uncooperative, let's say, in giving this information to the branches of the military, but we don't have the choice any more. Sometimes, they come into the office and I give them a hard copy of the student information, the name, address, so on and so forth. Sometimes, I e-mail it to them, usually once a year." She noted a time when there was an aggressive recruiter who overstepped the school policy. "They know they're not to approach students in the hallway. We had a Marine recruiter one day. He was friendly, but he was out talking to kids in the hall, and the principal spotted him and put a stop to that."
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law in December 2015, and is set to replace No Child Left Behind this coming fall, prohibits schools from creating an opt in process. Section 8528 of the ESSA states, "nothing in this subsection shall be construed to allow a local education agency to withhold access to a student's name, address, and telephone listing from a military recruiter or institution of higher education by implementing an opt in process or any other process other than the written consent request process," which refers to the opt out process....continued on page 8