Commentary by Jim Brokaw, a member of the American Friends Service Committee’s Program on Youth and Militarism. He lives in Brunswick, Maine.
As high school students mature, an increasingly significant aspect of their education must be self-directed. That is, as children begin to define themselves intellectually they must do so in a process of inquiry and dialogue: a process in which they learn that the value of formulating questions is as great — if not greater — than the act of seeking answers to those questions. Enlightenment does not come to the one who does not ask.
It would seem to follow that high schools function best when they are independent of external influences. The influence of the military in our schools has never been greater than in the last 10 years. Since the inception of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to say nothing of the “War On Terror,” military recruiters have been under ever-greater pressure to satisfy the demands of the all-volunteer armed forces.