American Friends Service Committee
Sara Burke, Managing Editor
Sam Diener, Editor
Pat Farren, Founding Editor
2161 Massachusetts Ave.
Peacework has been published monthly since 1972, intended to serve as a source of dependable information to those who strive for peace and justice and are committed to furthering the nonviolent social change necessary to achieve them. Rooted in Quaker values and informed by AFSC experience and initiatives, Peacework offers a forum for organizers, fostering coalition-building and teaching the methods and strategies that work in the global and local community. Peacework seeks to serve as an incubator for social transformation, introducing a younger generation to a deeper analysis of problems and issues, reminding and re-inspiring long-term activists, encouraging the generations to listen to each other, and creating space for the voices of the disenfranchised.
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Trading Books for Soldiers: The True Cost of JROTC
A new study by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) finds that the true cost to local school districts for hosting Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) programs is often much higher -- in some cases more than double -- the cost claimed by the Department of Defense. The report questions whether during a time of tight school budgets, with many local school districts struggling to meet students' basic needs, local school districts nationwide should be spending more than $222 million in local tax dollars on JROTC personnel costs alone.
The report, Trading Books for Soldiers: The True Cost of JROTC, presents an analysis of hidden costs to school districts considering hosting JROTC while comparing the cost-effectiveness of JROTC to non-military educational programs.
Trading Books for Soldiers contains JROTC salary data acquired under the Freedom of Information Act, case studies from local school districts, a primer on components of JROTC cost and tips for investigating school district spending on JROTC.
Among the report's conclusions:
JROTC programs cost local school districts substantially more than the cost estimates the military provides to schools.
The relative costs of JROTC courses, compared with academic subjects, may be even greater due to the fact that a JROTC instructor team carries a lighter teaching load than a single high school teacher in non-military subjects.
During the 1998-99 school year, the estimated personnel cost to a host school for the salaries of a typical instructor team (two instructors) was $76,000, more than twice the military's estimate. The military's published estimate of the cost for one JROTC instructor team is $28,000 to $32,000 annually. The discrepancy between these two estimates is because the military's estimate does not include significant components of an instructor's salary, namely fringe benefits and bonus pay.
Some programs employ more than two instructors. In addition, school districts with multiple JROTC programs may be required to hire a retired officer to supervise them.
Other Hidden JROTC Costs
Insurance, facilities renovation, and transportation all contribute to additional costs school districts must bear to provide these programs, yet rarely do they figure into cost estimates provided local school boards when the program is being considered.
The report also finds that JROTC instruction is more costly on a per-pupil basis than academic, non-military instruction. School district investment in JROTC represents a trade-off for students. Continued investment in military programs reduces funds available to support programs such as college preparatory classes, art, sports, and conflict resolution training, or to reduce class size and expand student counseling services.
Trading Books for Soldiers is the third in a series of investigations of JROTC programs undertaken by the AFSC's Youth & Militarism program. Previous reports include Making Soldiers in the Public Schools: An Analysis of Army JROTC Curriculum and Is JROTC a Wise Use of Class Time?, which examines how colleges and universities view JROTC course credit.
The reports are available for $3 per copy ($2 each for 10 or more) from AFSC, National Youth and Militarism Program, 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA 19102-1479; 215/241-7176.