The No Child Left Behind Act forces high schools to allow military recruiters access to students. Counter-recruitment groups that pitch alternatives to military service are working around the country to try to limit the impact of the Pentagon’s $3.5-billion effort. One organization in the Los Angeles area is pushing, with some success, for equal access.

Los Angeles Times:

The federal No Child Left Behind Act, signed into law in 2002, requires schools to provide military recruiters with the same access to high schools as colleges and employers, and compels schools to turn over students’ names, addresses and phone numbers unless parents opt out.

The U.S. Department of Defense spends $3.5 billion annually on recruitment and enlisted more than 181,000 people for active-duty forces in the 2007 fiscal year and more than 138,000 for the reserves. The Southland is fertile ground: Los Angeles County ranked third in the nation in raw numbers of Army recruits in 2007.

Military recruiters’ access varies among schools, with some administrators allowing them to wander the halls chatting with students, work out with the football team, and bring Hummers and sports cars on campus.

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