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    Update: Maryland Is First to Bar Schools From Releasing Student Tests to Military

    Last month, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed Maryland Senate Bill 778, which requires high school students to choose to forward their scores on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery to military recruiters; it bars schools from automatically sending the scores to recruiters. The Associated Press has an update with info on how the vocational test is treated in different states:

    The Maryland law, the first in the nation after similar California legislation was vetoed, was signed last month […] The law takes effect in July. One other state, Hawaii, has a similar policy for its schools, but not a law.

    Roughly 650,000 U.S. high school students took the exam in the 2008-2009 school year, and the Department of Defense says scores for 92 percent of them were automatically sent to military recruiters. In the fiscal year that ended in September, 7.6 percent of those who enlisted in the military used scores from the test as part of their applications. […]

    Defense Department spokeswoman Eileen Lainez said the data is used both to screen students’ enlistment eligibility and to determine their interests and skills for nonmilitary careers. […]

    Members of the Maryland Coalition to Protect Student Privacy, which pushed for the legislation, argued the military isn’t upfront about the test’s real purpose. […]

    While Maryland is the first state to pass a law prohibiting the automatic release of scores to military recruiters, some individual school districts elsewhere, including the Los Angeles school system, have policies to the same effect. Hawaii’s Department of Education implemented its statewide policy last year. […]

    Maryland state senator Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery, said he sponsored the bill partly because school districts’ approaches varied. He said constituents also told him they didn’t think local school districts knew their options. […]

    Toria Latnie, who now lives in Michigan, said a counselor at her son’s Florida charter high school told seniors in late 2008 that the military aptitude test was a requirement for graduation. Latnie researched the exam online and refused to allow her son to take the test.

    “I was angry, very angry,” said Latnie, a mother of five. “I felt lied to, deceived, like people were trying to go behind my back and give my child’s private information to the military.”

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