If you follow the Stop Recruiting Kids Campaign and you've been seeing our JROTC memes and wondering, "Hey, how much of that is actually true?" then you're in the right place!
Even though the Department of Defense (DOD)'s official position is that JROTC is not a military recruitment tool, the truth about JROTC points to a different reality than the one the DOD wants us to believe.
- JROTC = Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps
- JROTC is run by army, navy, marines, and air force
- Programs are offered at more than 3,400 high schools enrolling over 500,000 kids
- Programs target 9-12th grade
Programs are concentrated in lower-income school districts
- Chicago, for example, has a huge proportion of schools that function as JROTC academies
- Partial DoD funding makes it an attractive option for struggling, poor urban schools
- DOD provides only partial funding for JROTC, and because of double staffing requirements it results in a net loss of local school funds
Students are sometimes required to participate by their schools
- Students are often allowed to claim PE or academic credit for JROTC, even if the classes are taught by instructors without relevant subject credentials
- Approx. half of JROTC programs offer rifle marksmanship programs to students
- Curriculum includes military history, protocol, civics, physical fitness, drill team, color guard, and US and world history, all according to the Pentagon’s perspectives and military standards
- “We’re aiming at kids who aren’t in trouble but who aren’t fully realizing their potential either” -Ozzie Wright, principal of the Philadelphia Military Academy. JROTC claims to be a program that can help kids reach their potential but in fact, it excludes students who fail to meet minimum academic and behavior standards
JROTC & Recruitment
Somewhere from 20-40% of JROTC participants join the military, either going straight into enlisted ranks, joining ROTC, or attending a military academy.
- Benefits offered to JROTC grads include slightly higher entry-level pay, advantages in applying for college ROTC, and the possibility of being nominated to attend a military academy
- JROTC falls under the Pentagon’s recruitment budget
- JROTC “one of the best recruiting devices we could have” -Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, Feb. 2000
- JROTC presence in schools helps to popularize the military’s culture and values which leads kids to view military careers as a good option right out of school
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- How did your experience in JROTC affect your decision to join the military (or not join)?
- How do you see JROTC being used for military recruitment?
- What concerns you about having the Pentagon in schools through programs like JROTC?