Good news! The State of Hawai’i Department of Education confirmed that starting this year all public schools in Hawai’i that choose to offer the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), the military-sponsored career aptitude test, must designate “Option 8” on the test that no student information or test results will be released to military recruiters. (See the memo from Hawai’i schools superintendent Pat Hamamoto below) Students may still choose to take the test and release their test results to the military. In order for a student to take the test and have it scored, the student must request an authorization form from the military recruiting office, sign it and turn it in.
In the past, students who took the ASVAB test routinely had their information and test results forwarded to military recruiters without their knowledge or consent, even if they opted out of military recruitment lists under the No Child Left Behind Act. Here is a list of schools in Hawai’i that administered the ASVAB in 2006-07. Parents and students in these schools might want to ensure that the schools are properly protecting student information and privacy if the ASVAB continues to be offered.
The tricky thing about the ASVAB test is that it is exempt from FERPA, the law that governs privacy of information in schools. So student’s (even minors) signing the test answer sheet (a requirement for having the test scored) are authorizing that their information would be made available to the military: “To compute and furnish test score products for career/vocational guidance and group assessment of aptitude test performance; for up to 2 years, to establish eligibility for enlistment (only for students at the eleventh grade or higher and only with the expressed permission of the school); for marketing evaluation, assessment of manpower trends and characteristics; and for related statistical studies and reports.”
Last year, in the wake of recruiter abuse cases at Kapolei High School, AFSC Hawai’i worked with parents, counter recruitment activists and other concerned community members on a campaign to educate the Board of Education about the problem and to call for changes that close this loophole in the ASVAB policy. We submitted model policies to the Board of Education and warned that the release of student information through the ASVAB tests were a violation of student privacy and a liability to the DOE.
As some predicted may happen, a parent from Kona threatened to sue the DOE for the release of his son’s information to recruiters even after opting out of the No Child Left Behind military recruitment lists. In this case, military recruiters had invited several youth to a pool party and told them to lie to their parents about their whereabouts. When parents found out that their children had signed up for the Marine Corps at this “pool party”, they were obviously quite upset.
The combined pressure led to the DOE adopting a new policy to make the “no release of student information” option the default on all DOE sponsored ASVAB tests. This parent had given us an early notice of these changes, but this is the first public confirmation we have seen.
Thank you and congratulations to all who testified and advocated for protecting the rights of youth and parents. This is a big win for peace advocates and an important measure to protect students.
Also, please note that the deadline for opting out of No Child Left Behind military recruitment lists is September 15, 2009. The notification will not be as widely distributed this year. So please help to inform students and parents of their right to protect their privacy from military recruiters.
STATE OF HAWAII
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P.O. BOX 2360
HONOLULU, HAWAII 96804
D A T E
08/05/2009 Action Required
Originating Office: Office of Information Technology Services,
Complex Area Superintendents
Testing Coordinators Due Date:
Superintendent’s Office Directors
Charter School Administrative Office
Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Student Services
Office of Information Technology Services
F R O M:
Patricia Hamamoto, Superintendent
Office of the Superintendent
SUBJECT: ARMED SERVICES VOCATIONAL APTITUDE BATTERY (ASVAB) TEST ADMINISTRATION IN THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION (DOE) SCHOOLS
The ASVAB test is a voluntary aptitude test available to high school students. The results of the ASVAB test provide career/vocational guidance and establish eligibility for enlistment into the military.
Effective immediately, all DOE schools that administer the ASVAB test will choose “Option 8” for test administration. This option means that no student information will be released to the military services through the ASVAB test unless a student chooses to opt-in. Schools may also choose not to administer the ASVAB test.
The ASVAB test administration requires a student who chooses to take the test to sign a privacy act statement which reads, “Purpose: To compute and furnish test score products for career/vocational guidance and group assessment of aptitude test performance; for up to 2 years, to establish eligibility for enlistment (only for students at the eleventh grade or higher and only with the expressed permission of the school); for marketing evaluation, assessment of manpower trends and characteristics; and for related statistical studies and reports.” Without the student signature on the privacy act statement, his/her test will not be scored. School principals must be aware of this and notify the student and parent that they must opt-in for release of information in order to take the ASVAB test.
Students who opt-in to take the ASVAB test will be allowing their personal information to be released to the military through the ASVAB test and to be contacted by a military recruiter. Students who wish to opt-in to take the test must visit their local military recruiting office for the appropriate forms to do so. Attached are sample copies of the Form 680 to opt-in and Page 2 of the ASVAB test answer sheet.
If you need further assistance, please contact Karl Yoshida, Director, or Helen Uyehara, Information Specialist, Information Resource Management Branch, at 692-7263, or via lotus notes.