In 1993 DoD started a new program to make first contact with 10 year old Americans called Starbase. It's funded out of the recruitment funds. It takes 5th graders out of their schools and onto a military base where they learn some fun science along with the promotion of military careers. This first contact makes it easier for recruiters to approach our children in High School. Starbase naturally targets low income, minority schools. Don't be fooled, this is military recruitment and little more.
If we want our children to learn better ways of managing conflict we need to provide better examples than the US military. Our military is only used because we fail at everything else. Let's teach out children how to succeed so that we might one day have a future beyond war.
I examined representations from printed and electronic web materials offered by DoD (Department of Defense)* and Portland STARBASE, a “fun academy” conducted at a military base designed for “opening young people’s minds to the military” – specifically at risk 5 to18 year-old Portland Public School (PPS) students (K-12). I am struck by the fanciful rhetoric which, from my experiences as a veteran, former officer in the US Air Force and commander of a ranger-type unit in Viet Nam, and general observer of military life and activities, severely masks the realities on the ground. That STARBASE is represented in lofty terms, of course, is not surprising since its funding derives directly from the Pentagon’s recruiting budget, and is considered by military commanders as a “cornerstone” in the creation of their public image [DoD STARBASE 2008 Annual Report]. The U.S. Military Recruiting Handbook unapologetically declares that “School recruiting is critical to long-term recruiting success…It means having the Army perceived as a positive career choice as soon as young people begin to think about the future.” And as DoD admits, STARBASE “is one element in the building of that talent pool” [italics added for emphasis]. - Brian S. Willson
- Communities for Alternatives to Starbase Education (CASE) (archived)
- Teach War No More - Milwaukee - Stop Starbase!
- DOD STARBASE – An Insidious KID Recruitment Program
- What is Peace? Say No to DoD Starbase
- Vote No Petition on DoD Starbase program - Portland Public School Board (finished)
- PPS Votes on Starbase, 10/17/11
- PPS Board approves controversial STARBASE program. 10/24/11
Starbase Programs Nationally:
Existing DoD Starbase Programs in the United States and territories as of 2020.
(Click on image to open interactive map)
- Starbase Portland: The Big Picture - YouTube
An overview of the Starbase program in Portland, a military pre-recruiting program targeting 9-11-year-olds, and the school board which keeps approving it.
- Parents rally against 'Starbase' education for kids - KATUCommunities - YouTube
NORTH PORTLAND, Ore. - A program called Starbase is coming under fire from parents who feel kids might be unfairly influenced.Outside Monday night's Portland School District meeting, held at the Portland school headquarters on 501 N. Dixon St., parents rallied against the program that takes
Articles on the Web:
- DoD Starbase Militarizes Education for Disadvantaged Children in the USA - 11/26/2015
- Critics of Starbase program gain traction - The Oregonian - 4/ 20/2010
- Inside Starbase Portland - A School Program Sponsored by the Department of Defense Raises the Hackles of Local Activists - The Portland Mercury - 7/15/2010
- Wacky Mommy vs. Starbase, or Why It’s Wrong for Portland Public Schools to Allow the U.S. Government to Do Military Recruitment on Any Students, But Especially 5-Year-Olds - Portland Public Schools Equity - 1/26/2010 (archived)