Lessons From the Military: What Can Schools Learn From Junior R.O.T.C. Programs?

Ninety-nine percent of students in the Army Junior R.O.T.C. program at Francis Lewis High School in Queens go on to college.

Love or hate the military, there is something to be said about the leadership, discipline, and responsibility it teaches. Those same high expectations are evident at the 17-year-old Army Junior R.O.T.C. program at Francis Lewis High School, a 4,000-student overcrowded school that serves a largely immigrant population in Queens, New York. The New York Times recently profiled the program, and in the video above, you can see it and the 741 cadets enrolled in it in action.

In addition to regular academics, the kids get lessons in civics and personal finance, and just like in the military, they can earn leadership medals. Most of the students don't have any desire to be a soldier—99 percent of the R.O.T.C. students go on to college and not one cadet has ever dropped out— and their GPA's and SAT scores are sky-high. That's a seriously impressive statistic, one that demands that we ask, what can other public schools learn from this program?