In some states high schools can receive extra credit if certain percentages or numbers of their graduates enroll in accredited colleges and universities. As reported in the March 4, 2012 New York Post “Schools Rip DOE’s Military Disservice” article written by Susan Edelman purpose of the extra credits is to encourage more students to attend college. However, students who go on to serve in the military don’t help high schools to earn extra credits.
As the article stated, “Department of Education officials met with a group of principals last week to explain changes in Progress Reports coming out this fall. Schools that send more kids to community or baccalaureate colleges within six to 18 months will get extra credit.” The Department of Education officials turned down the request to offer extra credits for military service because the military isn’t college. However, the numbers of high school graduates who complete college degrees thanks to military tuition assistance programs might eventually challenge the guidelines, allowing schools to receive extra credits for the numbers of graduates who sign up to serve in the military.
One principal said, “The military can be a stepping stone for college, especially for kids who don’t have the money — or are just committed to serve out of a sense of duty. I say that should be counted.” As more school officials, parents and students become aware of the policy, they might argue to have military experience included in the program. After all, as previously noted, going into the military is the one way that some high school graduates gain access to funds to pay college tuition.
Perhaps the DOE can track and give schools extra credits for high school graduates who enlist in the military then enroll in degree programs at accredited colleges and universities within a certain number of years. On the other hand, by not offering high schools extra credits for the numbers of graduates who enlist in the military, schools may be kept from the temptation of encouraging graduates to join the military just so they can qualify to receive the extra credits.Even if the policy isn’t overturned high school graduates who enlist in the military can walk away with valuable work experience, leadership skills, improved communication skills and reputable college and university degrees. They can also continue to work with government officials to ensure military personnel are afforded the same rights and privileges as students who enroll in college as soon as they graduate from high school rather than serve several years in the military before they obtain college degrees.