Military has best recruiting year since 1970s but harder than ever to get in

This article was written by one of the Stepping Stone ASVAB Tutors. If you know of anyone who might be interested in ASVAB tuition, please do get in contact.

With the economy struggling, the military is now accepting only the top 1% of applicants which makes finding an ASVAB tutor more important than ever.

Students Armed with New Anti-Recruiter Regulations

This article was written by one of the Stepping Stone ASVAB Tutors. If you know of anyone who might be interested in ASVAB tuition, please do get in contact.

]Re-syndicated from “The Independent”]

By Jaisal Noor
From the September 18, 2009 issue | Posted in Jaisal Noor , Local

SIGN ME UP: Dan Brown, 20, enlisted at a U.S. Marine recruiting station in Brooklyn Heights in mid-September after a five-month long job search. Brown, a Jamaican immigrant, said that one of the advantages of enlisting was receiving U.S. citizenship. PHOTO: JAISAL NOOR

SIGN ME UP: Dan Brown, 20, enlisted at a U.S. Marine recruiting station in Brooklyn Heights in mid-September after a five-month long job search. Brown, a Jamaican immigrant, said that one of the advantages of enlisting was receiving U.S. citizenship. PHOTO: JAISAL NOOR

When high school senior Ciarra Boyd recently persuaded her friend to not join the U.S. military, she got something she was not expecting: an irate call from her friend’s recruiter.

Boyd, who lives in the South Bronx and attends Urban Academy High School on Manhattan’s East Side, says she was deeply shaken by the experience.

“He [the recruiter] is yelling at me on the phone, ‘You need to mind your business. He’s a man, he can make his own decisions. You’re lucky I don’t know where you live,’” said Boyd, a member of the Ya-Ya Network, a student-driven organization involved in “counter-recruiting,” or stopping teens from joining the military.

New regulations by New York City Department of Education Chancellor Joel Klein announced earlier this year hope to monitor U.S. military recruiters who focus on courting high school students. Under the new rules, which take effect this semester, recruiters will be banned from using class time for presentations and all 9th to 12th grade students will be given forms to opt out of the provision in the No Child Left Behind Act, which automatically releases students’ contact information to recruiters.

“I don’t want to just be fed a whole bunch of lies and possibly die in Iraq,” said Tracy Hobbs, a Flatbush senior who attends Metropolitan High School in Brownsville. Hobbs is also a member of the Ya-Ya Network.

Also under the new mandate, each school must select a school official to coordinate these efforts. Schools will also be prohibited from automatically releasing test scores and contact information to the military for students who have taken the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test (ASVAB).

A report on student experiences with recruiters that was released by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer in 2007 charges that the city’s Department of Education (DOE) has failed to protect students’ rights.

Of the 1,000 students surveyed in the report, 40 percent did not receive opt-out forms at the beginning of the school year, and 45 percent were unfamiliar with the procedure for reporting recruiter misconduct.

While optimistic, many advocates are concerned about how the rules will be implemented. Ya-Ya Network Executive Director Amy Wagner says enforcing the new regulations will be difficult if students, parents and teachers are not aware of them.

There has been so little press coverage of the new rules that when The Indypendent contacted two different military recruiter spokespeople, it appeared neither knew the regulations existed.

While this policy change is the result of six years of lobbying efforts by the NYCLU, the Students or Soldiers? Coalition and other community groups, many still worry that these changes will be inadequate to prevent teens from enlisting.

Advocates are concerned that the rules will not affect how the military disproportionally targets poorer and minority communities. According to the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker social justice organization, lower-income neighborhoods, such as the South Bronx, East New York and Flatbush, have higher rates of military recruitment, while more affluent areas have lower rates.

While recruiting rates had dropped in recent years, the economic recession, however, has forced many people, like Dan Brown, to reconsider enlisting. Brown said he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at the Brooklyn Heights recruiting station in mid-September after looking for a job for five months. In the first six months of 2009, the military reported that it exceeded its active duty recruitment goals by 5 percent.

According to the progessive think tank National Priorities Project, in 2008 52 percent of U.S. Army recruits were under the age of 21, and 82 percent were 24 and under. The Army accounts for nearly half of total recruiting numbers.

While the new rules will make it more difficult for the military to contact students, the military collects information in many other ways, including data mining, online career tests, video games and marketing software.

With more than 260,000 high school students, New York City is the largest schooldistrict in the country. Advocates hope that Klein’s regulations will serve as an example for others districts and they plan to hold DOE accountable. Currently only a handful of other cities, including Los Angeles and Portland,Ore., limit recruitment efforts in schools.

Advocates are concerned over the absence of a provision that would allow students to report problems they may have with recruiters. “This policy fails to set out a clear, definite grievance procedure where if students have a problem, where to go, how to deal with it, ” said Ari Rosmarin, the NYCLU’s senior advocacy coordinator who has worked on the campaign to create the guidelines for the past five years.

“Advocates, community members, students, we are all looking this year to see if the DOE is actually going to live up to its word and implement this policy,” Rosmarin added.

For more information, and to download opt-out forms, visit

Free ASVAB Practice Test

This article was written by one of the Stepping Stone ASVAB Tutors. If you know of anyone who might be interested in ASVAB tuition, please do get in contact.

We get dozens of calls every day around the country for students looking for help with the ASVAB.  With the current job market, we are seeing a lot of young people trying to get a higher score on the ASVAB so that they can get into a specific branch of the military.

We have helped students to get into all major branches of the military with in-home tutoring including: army, navy, air force, marines, coast guard, and the reserve/national guard.

The U.S. Military offers a FREE ASVAB Practice Test for students who are taking the test for the first time or would like to get a higher score.

The Other Option for Tutoring – In-Home Tutors

This article was written by one of the Stepping Stone Study Skills Tutors. If you know of anyone who might be interested in Study Skills tuition, please do get in contact.

A lot of blogs talk about traditional learning centers like Huntington or Sylvan or about the relatively new industry of online tutoring; however, few blogs talk about in-home tutoring or what I like to call the “other” option for tutoring.

Traditional learning centers are great for students who are doing well in school and just want to focus on specific skills. It also helps if the parents have a lot of disposable income to invest in one of the programs they offer that tend to start around $800 per class. They do offer their own assessment tests which can help to identify problem areas; however, these areas of need are only in relation to the programs being offered at the learning center and do not necessarily address current school work and low grades which for many families are a larger concern.

What typically happens at Sylvan Learning Center for example is that a student is given an assessment test when they first come to the center. They are subsequently enrolled in a course which would typically be several weeks long. The student would be in a classroom type setting usually with 3 or more other students. The “teacher’s” role is more or less to provide handouts and worksheets for the students to use throughout the course. The worksheets are specifically geared towards helping each student pass the test at the end of the course created by Sylvan.

While this approach may be successful in teaching set skills, it does not typically help most students in real time, students who are failing their classes and not understanding the material and are continuing to fall further behind in school.

The learning center model can be self serving because a student is only “guaranteed” to pass the learning center class which logic would tell us should be an easily attainable goal when the entire course is geared around helping students pass the test at the end. The “guarantee” is that if a student does not pass the class then then can keep taking it until they do. The problem again, is that even if the student passes the class, they are still falling behind in school and not understanding their homework.

In addition to falling behind, the student is using their free time after school to attend the learning center classes and their parents (unless the student can drive) are having to drive them to and from classes at the learning center often several times per week.

One of the other options for tutoring which has become more or less a recent phenomenon with the advent of widespread broadband internet access, is online tutoring. Online tutoring usually takes a totally different approach to learning centers which is to work on current assignments only. Students are able to login and connect with a tutor 24 hours a day and get help in real time.

Online tutoring can be great for families on a budget because it is the cheapest option for getting help with school work. The timing is also quite flexible because a student can get help at anytime throughout the day.

The downside to online tutoring is that the tutor is in another city, often another country altogether which presents some issues for the student, mainly they are not in the same room together or they have a hard time understanding the tutor especially when the tutor lives in India.

This brings me to what I call the “other” option for tutoring which are private in-home tutoring services. In-home tutoring brings the best of both worlds and bridges the gap between the traditional learning center approach and the new resource which is online tutoring.

With in-home tutoring, students can get help in real time on current assignments. The tutor works with them one-on-one at home usually after school. The benefit of the tutor coming to a student’s home is that the parent does not need to drop them off and pick them up again later in the day. In addition, working one-on-one is hugely beneficial to the student being able to ask questions and get the tutor’s full and undivided attention.

An in-home tutor can work on only the subject areas that the parent or student wants help with. Often times a student needs help preparing for a specific standardized test like the ASVAB, THEA, or SAT and more often than not, the student only needs help with certain content areas of that particular test.

What in-home tutoring allows a student to do in this case, is instead of enrolling in an entire course to prepare for their test at a learning center, usually at a premium cost and spending hours at a time working on subject areas the student has already mastered, the student can focus their time on the areas they need the most help with.

Working with an in-home tutor, students only pay for the time they spend with the tutor and can get help right away. In-home tutoring costs less than a learning center course and slightly more than online tutoring, but is often the best option for families who need help in real time for current assignments and tests and who need flexible scheduling.