Saturday, October 31, 2009

Military-industrial kid-poaching complex

McDonalds' sponsorship of an online maths tutoring program caused a big kerfuffle – the twin arches logo attached to the site causing Australian kiddies to develop an uncontrollable hankering for Big Macs, thus inevitably causing obesity and untimely death.

Raytheon's educational involvement – curriculum development and provision of laptops – is equally controversial, as Australia's ABC News reports:

"An Adelaide public school has come under fire for reaching a deal with the world's largest manufacturer of guided missiles to fund a new curriculum."

Not simply Raytheon the defence contractor but rather the "world's largest manufacturer of guided missiles". And what does that mean anyway? The biggest company that manufactures missiles? Biggest missile seller by dollar amount? Biggest seller in terms of volume?  Regardless, how is that "fact" relevant? Oh yeah, it's one of those big American companies.

And now for the meat of the story:

"The principal of Aberfoyle Park High School says the program will get students more interested in maths and science and encourage them to consider engineering as a career.

"But critics argue it is helping US-based contractor Raytheon poach students into the defence industry."

Sort of makes it seem camo-clad Raytheon operatives will be bagging kiddies in the dead of night, spiriting them away to clandestine educational institutions where they will be taught engineering rather than something truly useful like astronomy or economics. Hey, here's an idea, now that all Australian kids are Big Mac-addicted Raytheon can use snare traps baited with hamburgers. Can't fail.

Back to the story.  The head of the education union is also unimpressed:

"I think the question the community would be asking is whether you want a company that has been involved in global conflicts and developing missiles, working in education with our children."

And the Australian government, the purchaser of the Raytheon missiles and other defence related products employed by our military, should be kept as far away from education as possible.


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