Correction to This Article
This article about a new law in Maryland incorrectly said that students can opt to withhold from military recruiters information from a military and vocational exam. Although parents can separately ask that schools withhold their child's name, address and phone number from military recruiters, students do not have a direct option on the test to withhold information from it, which includes, among other things, their Social Security numbers and test results. The new law requires schools to withhold the test information from recruiters.

Md. law limits military recruitment of high school students

By Michael Birnbaum
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 15, 2010

Maryland schools will no longer forward scores from a popular vocational test to military recruiters under new legislation that requires high school students to send the information themselves.

The test, the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB, is administered by the military in schools across the country as a public service and is used by career counselors as a tool to guide students toward an array of jobs, not just those in the armed services.

Unless the school or a student checks an opt-out box, the scores are released to military recruiters, who can get in touch with prospective recruits. The new law, signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley this week, requires Maryland schools to check the opt-out box.

"This was a victory for the privacy of student information and the right of families to engage in decision-making," said Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Montgomery), who championed the bill in the Senate, where it passed, 25 to 22, this month. The bill passed in the House, 102 to 37.

Many school systems, including those in Montgomery and Prince George's counties, haven't forwarded the scores for several years. But the new law will apply that policy statewide.

The change has some concerned.

The scores let recruiters "enter a meaningful dialogue as to potential military career opportunities," Army Lt. Col. Christopher J. Beveridge, commanding officer of the Baltimore Military Entrance and Processing Station, wrote in a letter to the legislature last week. "Much of the rhetoric behind the bill is bent on disrupting any efforts to build, support, or sustain the military."

State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick also cautioned last week that the bill "could interfere with an established process that assists many Maryland public school students . . . in the evaluation of appropriate career choices and in making academic decisions."

But supporters of the measure, including some veterans, dismissed the concerns.

"Why not take the extra step to help the family make an important decision about their lives?" asked Sen. Douglas J.J. Peters (D-Prince George's), chairman of the Senate Veterans Caucus and a veteran of the Persian Gulf War. "It gives them something to think about rather than just doing something ready, fire, aim."

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