In Nov. 2008, San Franciscans voted on a ballot measure supporting the JROTC program in schools. The School Board had earlier voted to phase out the program and replace it with other phys ed programs. The ballot measure passed, but because it was entirely advisory, it did not mean the Board had to follow the recommendation. In the same election the composition of the school board changed with the election of new members and the new board decided to keep JROTC. Now the State Legislature is considering a bill requiring the San Francisco Board of Education to continue offering the JROTC program. Whether or not the bill is passed in both houses remains to be seen, but the issue raises important points about who is actually charged with making decisions about school issues. Surely it is the Board of Education which makes those decisions. Having the state legislature step into the process seems unwise because there are many educational questions that should be settled by local elected authorities. No matter whether you support or oppose the JROTC, it’s important for citizens to consider the implications of process in our schools. What is it they say about “eternal vigilance“? Let’s remember to be wide awake as we watch what legislators are up to.
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