- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 2, 2003

RICHMOND (AP) The No Child Left Behind Act is known for its emphasis on standardized testing, but it also emphasizes something else: military recruiting.
The law signed by President Bush last year requires schools that receive federal funding to provide military recruiters with access to students' directory information that is given to prospective employers and colleges: name, address and phone number.
However, students and their parents may opt out. The law requires that schools give them the opportunity to not have their information released to military recruiters.
The law merely formalizes what has been common practice in Virginia schools, as well as those in other states in the South, said retired Army Col. Charles Thornton, who serves as director of Army instruction for the Richmond school system and Benedictine High School.
"Southerners love the military," he said. "It just goes back to history, when the military was a way out of poverty, a way to see the world. It goes down to ROTC, even down to Junior ROTC."
This love seems to extend to the schools, which have traditionally been open to letting the military recruit students.
Judith S. Holland, head of the guidance department at Richmond's John F. Kennedy High School, said she remembers her school giving out directory information to military recruiters who ask for it as long as she can remember.
Recruiters from the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force are a common sight in schools. They sometimes set up information tables during lunch periods and even during PTA meetings.
"We just had two Marines in here this afternoon," said Col. Thornton, who is based at Kennedy.
Lyle E. Evans, Henrico County's assistant superintendent for administrative services, said most parents allow their children's information to be released to the military. He said the county sends a notice out annually that tells parents about its policy on student records.
In nearby Chesterfield County, Dale Kalkofen, the assistant superintendent for administrative services, said her school system traditionally provides a list of high school seniors to military recruiters in October after giving parents the chance to opt out. She said the No Child Left Behind Act extends this service to high school juniors.
"We did have to scramble to make sure all members of the junior classes knew that we needed to make their information available upon request and they could opt off the list if they preferred," Miss Kalkofen said.

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