Youths are drafted by anti-anti-army

posted by Mike on October 25th, 2006

Just got off the phone with the T&G’s Jackie Reis. If I heard correctly, a guy is starting an anti-opt-out contest for Worcester’s schools. He’ll donate $2500 to the Disabled American Veterans in the name of whichever class has the lowest opt-out rate.

This is great!

  • More parents and students will learn about opting out. The opt-out rates at the Worcester high schools are so low that any publicity, pro or con, will probably educate people about opting out.
  • As the grandson of a disabled American veteran, and as someone who’s met more than a few disabled vets through my work with the homeless, I’m really happy that he’s donating to this charity. If the opt-out contest accomplishes nothing else, it has raised $2500 for the vets. (Note that our prize is a mere $250. If we’d made ours $1000, would the counter-prize have been $10,000? Something to think about for next year.)
  • This is exactly how people should settle their differences. “Oh yeah? Think you’re so tough? We’ll see who can donate more to a good cause!” Reminds me of when Bill’s Place set up a competing soup kitchen as part of a feud with the St. John’s crowd.

The only bad thing about this is that it complicates matters. When this year’s opt-out numbers are released, there are too many variables to be able to say if any of these contests had an effect. I was a bit concerned that we announced our contest too late in the year for kids to act on it. The counter-contest, if it happens, will be really late in the school year. Any kid or parent who’s going to opt out has probably done so by now. Is that kid going to turn in another form to un-opt-out in order to get his school’s name on a check to the DAV? Seems unlikely.

(N.B. The title of this post is a play on the title of Clive McFarlane’s confused column about the original contest.)

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