Letters to The EditorOpinions & Editorials

Letters to the Editor, 10/22/08

Editor – The reasons behind the elimination of the JROTC by the San Francisco Board of Education was one that was thoroughly weighed out for its potential effects on the students. The virtues attributed to the JROTC are not at all virtues that are exclusive to the program, but are in fact a reflection of qualities inherent with SFUSD. Proponents of Proposition V point out that over 90% of JROTC cadets are students of color, but fail to attribute this to the fact the over 90% of SFUSD students in general come from communities of color. Proponents of Proposition V also point out that over 90% of JROTC cadets go to college, but fail to attribute this to the fact the over 90% of SFUSD students in general also continue on to college.

The bottom line is, JROTC does not yield a higher success rate than the district as a whole; the only thing that sets it apart from general academics courses is that it’s a military program that has time and again been praised for its effectiveness in recruiting students into the military. 40-50% of JROTC graduates end up in the military, and no hard evidence to refute that has ever been produced by proponents of Proposition V.

It is also true that JROTC discriminates against LGBT cadets. It does so by denying LGBT JROTC graduates college ROTC scholarships and other benefits that non-LGBT JROTC cadets receive, an unfair way to dole out educational benefits to students. But what is also unfair to all students is the fact that $1 million of local taxes is spent to fund a program that only caters to 500 students. If we really want to foster choice for students then let’s take our money back from The Pentagon and use it to expand the existing non-military leadership programs.

Russell Stephens

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