Date of Award

2021

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Department

Education

First Advisor

Gerri August

Abstract

For more than a decade the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and more recently the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) have mandated that schools allow military recruiters access to student information with the objective of recruitment for military service. Thus, national education reform has become the conduit through which schools are legally obligated to support the military agenda to recruit children. Enabled by ESSA, the military launched campaigns predominantly in large urban schools attended by poor and working-class Black students (Furumoto, 2005), which often offer a narrow and disempowering curriculum and are under-resourced (Anyon, 2014). The practice of military recruitment suggests a “School-to-Military Pipeline” (STMP), in which poor and working-class children are targeted and led to believe that military service is the viable career choice.

Drawing upon Critical Race Theory of Education (Ladson-Billings, 1995), I examined the narratives of nine Black Servicemen’s lived experiences to understand how institutionalized racism works in the school-to-military (STMP) nexus along the lines of race, class, and gender. The findings indicated race was a determining factor in their school to military trajectory. Seven out of nine participants reported racialized experiences with teachers or military recruiters. None of the participants reported knowledge of military recruitment policy in schools. Next steps call for curricular reform: the inclusion of the critical examination of military recruitment and education policy within a CRT lens. Perhaps then school districts, parents, teachers, guidance counselors, policy makers and, most important, our Black young men will take notice.

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