Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tabling in the high schools

As volunteers with Nonmilitary Options, we have a presence in our public high schools through literature tables during lunch hours and career fairs.

The last couple of weeks, we've staffed tables at McCallum, Bowie and Crockett high schools. We offered literature about military realities that recruiters aren't likely to talk about, information about options for college funding, travel, job training, etc., free buttons and copies of the comic-style book, "Addicted to War." One of the folks in our group doing the tabling is a veteran of the Iraq War. He has first-hand knowledge of what war really looks like on the ground.

At McCallum and Bowie, we held "Penny Polls" at our table. We offered students 10 pennies each to distribute among five jars labeled with categories of federal spending: Health Care, Environment, Military, Humanitarian Aid, Education. We invited students to distribute their 10 pennies among the five jars according to their own priorities. Here are the results:

At McCallum HS (54 participants):

Education - 30%
Environment - 27%
Health Care - 25%
Humanitarian Aid - 14%
Military - 4%

At Bowie HS (55 participants):

Environment - 40%
Military - 17%
Humanitarian Aid - 16%
Education - 15%
Health Care - 12%

After they voted in the poll, we offered students fliers showing how the federal budget is actually allocated - which shows approximately 43% going toward military spending, 3% for 'science, energy and the environment' and 1% for diplomacy and humanitarian aid. As one student said, "Whoa. This is upside down!"

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