San Francisco to vote on JROTC

San Franciscans will vote on an advisory measure to keep JROTC as an option for students. Students, who are predominantly Asian-American, qualified the measure for the ballot, hoping to persuade the school board to reverse its decision to replace the program with a non-military option. (No alternative was developed, so the phase-out date was extended till next June.) From MSNBC:

Participants, called cadets, wear uniforms, study military history, practice marching and drilling and can win awards for things like marksmanship. Armed forces retirees serve as instructors, and cadets can get academic credit in fields such as physical education.

If the aim is recruitment, however, JROTC in San Francisco is a failure. Only two of the 1,465 cadets there signed up for the armed forces after graduation in 2006-2007, the latest year for which numbers are available.

Asian-American students tend to do well in high school and go on to college. I wonder if some went on ROTC scholarships.

Supporters view the elective course as valuable self-improvement — teaching them discipline, responsibility and leadership skills they say they do not get in other classes.

. . . Some gay and lesbian student groups have come out in support of JROTC and the ballot measure, saying some of their members have found a home in the program.

Via This Week in Education.

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  1. My brother participated in ROTC. (We’re Asian…grew up in the Bay Area.)

    Complete speculation only, but I wonder if Asian-Americans tend to be more conservative than other ethnicities. Not saying that we’re all super-conservative, because from my observation we’re not, but there are fewer of us who are either radically liberal and/or “OMG CONSERVATIVES ARE TEH EVIL!!!!” Being against the military seems to be a predominantly liberal trait (note: I’m not saying that all or even most liberals are like this, just that the people who *are* against the military are usually liberal themselves), so if Asian-Americans skew more conservative relatively speaking, then they wouldn’t be as opposed to the ROTC program.

    Of course, this is all dumb observation on my part. I have no stats to back this up and therefore could be completely wrong. 😛

  2. superdestroyer says:

    Juding from the San Francisco Chronicle, many of the students were taking JROTC for PE credits. That would lend itself to Asian-American families were there are probably fewer soccer moms. Also, I wonder if the average grade in JROTC was higher than the average grade for a non-athlete in PE classes. It would make sense for the non-athletes, high academic achieving students to take a class that will help in class ranking.

  3. Growing up in the Bay Area and participating in a JROTC program (though not in SF itself), I’ve known a lot of the cadets and every last one I knew was good, decent, and hard-working. The program encourages this in a way that a program designed by leftists simply can’t because their entire ideology eschews the kind of discipline needed by real leaders. In fact, the program proposed by the leftists in SF to replace JROTC entirely misses the reason ROTC works.

    The ethnic studies pilot program – which is offered at Lincoln and Balboa high schools – is supposed to be the first of a four-year sequence that would later include service learning, an internship and a leadership project.

    At Lincoln, 45 students are taking the course. At Balboa, 14 students sat in teacher Wentworth Houston’s ethnic studies course Wednesday.

    During the hour class, they talked about slavery, housing prices and ethnic stereotypes.

    This is more of the same claptrap they get in all their other classes. There are no clearly defined goals. There’s no need for teams to function based on trust. When it comes time for the kids to be out on the drill pad and do their part to make the routine work, it’s something they can achieve in the moment through self-discipline and teamwork. When it comes time for the kids to lead the formation on the drill pad, they do so respecting the members of their formation because they’ve been there.

    It’s really something to watch a 15-year-old in the first week of his sophomore year being a leader who works for the good of the team instead of his own interests. And it’s truly amazing to watch a group of 10 high school juniors and seniors lead an entire unit of 100 cadets in the absence of a qualified instructor for four months, doing everything from managing the unit budget in the tens of thousands of dollars, to ordering uniforms, to actually teaching the classes with district substitute looking on in amazement. I’ve seen it happen because of the methodical way JROTC teaches leadership and teamwork through discipline and trust; and I think it very sad that the school board of SF should want to replace a program like this with a clearly inferior substitute.

  4. Oh, and to those who would malign JROTC because of a perception of homophobia, the truth of the matter when I was in school was that the homo- and bisexual students appreciated the program as much as anyone because it was the one place in their lives where they weren’t gay, bi, or lesbian, but just cadets.

    When in JROTC, they were part of the team and helped it achieve. They could become leaders respected for their skill and integrity. The same thing happened with kids who were otherwise ostracized as nerds and geeks, or just plan odd. While not necessarily needing to embrace the militaristic aspects of JROTC, I do think that schools could learn a lot from the way it treats students as people capable of learning and overcoming challenges as individuals contributing to a team, not as skin colors or sexualities.