The Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) is a high school program offered as an elective or substitute for physical education. It uses a military setting to teach students a variety of character traits and life skills. Researchers agree that students, faculty and the surrounding community all benefit from the existence of these programs.
According to a 2006 case study performed by Joseph A. Santora Jr. on Passaic High School for his Doctor of Education requirements, students are acquiring many of the advantages the JROTC program seeks to provide. When asked a series of questions regarding the benefits they had received from JROTC, students agreed that they had learned leadership skills, improved their attendance and gained better self-esteem and self-discipline.
Opportunites for All
Unlike other high school programs, JROTC offers opportunities to students at all academic levels, including special education students. In fact, special ed teachers at schools like Passaic High School commonly encourage their students to enroll in JROTC, saying that it provides a positive form of structure and support. JROTC also welcome students of all nationalities, with 90 percent of participants being students of ethnic minority, according to NavyLeague.org.
Positive Role Models
JROTC provides an excellent opportunity for high school students to learn from positive role models, as the programs are run by active and retired military personnel. This environment of mutual respect can help to reduce discipline problems both in school and at home. Additionally, JROTC programs provide jobs for members of the military who are no longer deployed.
In a poll published by NavyLeage.org, JROTC programs received 100 percent support from PTAs, school principals and graduates from the schools surveyed. JROTC is also highly supported by the surrounding communities, who benefit from the hundreds of hours of community service the students perform, according to the poll. Furthermore, JROTC events and competitions often serve to bring parents and other members of the community together to support these high school students.
Some parents have expressed concern about JROTC, claiming that the U.S. military uses this program to recruit high school students for the military. While students in JROTC are informed about military opportunities, they are not obligated to participate in any military service after JROTC, and many take advantage of scholarship opportunities or college credit offered through their JROTC program. In actuality, schools with JROTC report lower drop-out rates, better grade point averages and higher SAT scores—benefits that support students as they graduate and enter college. Students who do enter the military after high school do so with a wide variety of advantages, including higher rank or advancement, according to USArmyJRTOC.com.