When parents are properly informed, opt out rates reach 90%
policy changes in Montclair, NJ have pushed opt-out rates above 90%. Meanwhile,
the pioneering efforts of two school committee members in Portland, Maine to
better notify parents of their right to remove their kids' names from military
recruiter lists could move their district's opt out rate from last year's 2%
to as high as 90% this year.
You can opt
out your own child right now.
Here's the story in today's Portland Press Herald:
...two Portland School Committee members...plan to greet students at the
steps of Portland High School on the first day of classes, next week, to let
them know how to block [military] recruitment strategies.
They have also led an effort to move the opt-out form -- which last
year, was often overlooked amongst the pile of each student's academic year
paperwork -- to a more prominent location:
This year the option is printed on the district's emergency notification
card - an essential form for students.
"I would guess that probably close to 90 percent of the students and
families will opt out, just by the nature of being aware of it," said Spring,
who chaired the subcommittee that suggested the change.
His guesstimate was based on the experience of a handful of other school
districts who have seen dramatic rises in opt-out percentages once parents were
properly informed through emergency notification cards and other similar options:
Portland is among four or five districts nationwide that have included
the opt-out choice on emergency forms, Spring said. One district, in Montclair,
N.J., notifies incoming freshmen twice. That policy was featured in
NEA Today, the
magazine of the nation's largest education association.
"After the most recent round of notices, Montclair reports that 92
percent of parents asked the schools not to give their children's contact information
to the military," the magazine reported in its May edition.
Unlike Portland though, whose optimum opt out polices are being driven by school
comittee members, the strong opt-out policies in Montclair were largely the
result of a Montclair High student organization -- OYE
OYE -- Open Your Eyes Open Your Eyes -- that formed over two years ago and
pressured the district to change policies.
The Portland Press article also included a nice mention of our campaign:
The Leave My Child Alone coalition, a national advocacy group that has
built a campaign over the past six months, reports that 15,000 students have
"opted out" through its Web site...read
the full story here.
out your own child right now