Maryland School Offers Homeland Security Track

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Joppatowne High School in Maryland has formed an unusual partnership with the federal government to build a curriculum to train students for careers in homeland security.

The Harford County public school system's three-year homeland security and emergency preparedness magnet curriculum includes three career paths: Science, engineering and technology; homeland security sciences with health and human services; and criminal justice/law enforcement. That includes finance, information and communication technology.

There are no high school-level textbooks for this kind of class, so a committee wrote the curriculum from scratch. Program coordinator Leah Bull says the goal is to get the students jobs.

"The average student at this school doesn't go to college, so we wanted them to know there are so many jobs you can get using specific skills and specific higher-level thinking and analysis, right out of high school," she says.

Most of the funding for the program comes from Maryland's state Emergency Management Agency. People from the U.S. Coast guard, the National Security Agency and companies that sell protective masks and suits have visited the class to offer their expertise.

Skeptics fret that the Joppatowne program might be telling kids what to think about national security rather than simply teaching them to protect it.

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