Marines Give City Teachers Crash Course

March 10th, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: Marines Give City Teachers Crash Course

New York Daily News
March 10, 2008 By Erin Einhorn, Daily News Staff Writer
WHEN 42 LOCAL TEACHERS set off on an all-expenses-paid trip to South Carolina next month, they’ll enjoy free airfare, fine hotel accommodations — and target practice with an M-16.
It’s teacher boot camp, part of a Marine recruiting program that sends nearly 2,000 high school educators a year to San Diego or Parris Island, S.C., to “see how we make Marines,” said Captain Don Caetano, a program coordinator.
The teachers, counselors and other people whom the Marines call “influencers” fire rifles, scale walls and talk with recruits in hopes they’ll be better equipped to advise students considering enlistment.
“There seems to be a lot of misconception of the Marine Corps from TV or the movies or pop culture,” Caetano said. “What we want to do is take you down there and ... give you the unvarnished truth about what we do.”
Yolanda Saldaña, a parent coordinator at Brooklyn’s W.E.B Dubois High School who attended the program last year, was “very skeptical” when high-ranking Marines gave speeches about the rewards of serving in Iraq. She said, however, that when she talked with young women who had recently enlisted, she came away with a new appreciation for what the Marines can do for young people.
“They had a belief in what they were doing,” she said. “It changed my mind about the whole thing. It was real.”
While in the past she would never have encouraged a student to consider the military, now she has a more open mind.
“I still have not gone and said, ‘Hey, everybody should go be a Marine, but in those four days, I learned something. I gained a new understanding of what they do, and I owe it to my kids to be informed about everything.”
Critics of military recruiting tactics are suspicious of the trips, which Caetano said cost the Marines about $75,000 per 80-teacher session. Donna Lieberman of the New York Civil Liberties Union called the program “a sugar-coated experience that is designed to turn teachers into cheerleaders for the Marines, and have them push young people who might otherwise go to college or the trades into a life-and-death battle situation.”

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