Thursday, August 28, 2008

Community Service For All High School Students

Let Barack Obama say he wants middle and high school students to perform 50 hrs of community service a year, and he's a saint to the left.

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that if a white man wanted people to perform involuntary servitude...well, you get the idea.

Also, if 50 hrs a year of community service sounds good for high school students, how good does military conscription sound for 19-yr-olds?

21 comments:

Mr. W said...

I don't have a problem with the whole community service idea. Maybe it's the area I live in or I am getting older, but I don't think students understand how easy they have certain things. This might be good for them to experience some new things.

BTW, this will never happen. Too many complaints. I can hear the inner city parents complaining and the super rich complaining too.

michael mazenko said...

Granted, I think compulsory community service is somewhat of an oxy-moron. However, I'm not entirely opposed to the idea.

When I was an English teacher in Taiwan, I lived across the street from an elementary school, and I witnessed the most extraordinary scene everyday at about 4:00. The bell would ring, and the students would come streaming out. But they were not going home. Each was armed with a broom or mop or trashbag, and they would all clean the school before they could leave (Yes, that even means the bathrooms). The school didn't employ janitors, and the kids didn't litter too much, knowing they would have to clean it up later.

Can you imagine getting that to fly in suburban America? It would never happen because far too many people put themselves above that sort of work. I am usually a staunch defender of the American education system, and I chose America as the place I want to live. But there are certainly things we can learn from other cultures.

Of course, we'll never learn by forcing it or requiring it, and, sadly, I think that means we'll never learn.

Anonymous said...

"Is it just me, or does anyone else think that if a white man wanted people to perform involuntary servitude..."

It *is* just you. This idea resurfaces from time to time. At my brother's private high school, they instituted a requirement like this when he was attending. He was *VERY* unhappy about it and felt like he had basically been lied to (because they changed the rules for graduation in mid-stream). The school administration was all white and mostly pretty liberal in political outlook.

-Mark Roulo

Darren said...

I think you're comparing apples and oranges, Mark. That school was voluntary--public school is not so much. I don't believe in involuntary servitude.

Anonymous said...

"I think you're comparing apples and oranges, Mark. That school was voluntary--public school is not so much."

Only a bit. My brother would not have *started* there if he had known they were going to add a community service part-way through.

But ... your original question was whether white people could get away with proposing involuntary servitude. My answer was (and is), "Yes, they can." As long as it only applies to young people.

-Mark Roulo

Anonymous said...

More followup. I find this quote from Google (long link, but Google will find the quote):

"On Oct. 9, 2003, Governor Rod Blagojevich announced plans of mandating every high school student in the state of Illinois to complete a community service requirement in order to graduate."

Rod is white. So, yes, a white man can propose this (I don't think it went through ... but he proposed it).

From the same article, "If Illinois extends the requirement to high school students; it will be second to Maryland, where students are already required to complete community service hours."

This isn't a new idea.

This link points to a public high school that already requires some community service to graduate:

http://www.belmont.k12.ma.us/bhs/community/

I don't *like* these schemes ... but they aren't new.

-Mark Roulo

Anonymous said...

More :-(

http://lhs.lexingtonma.org/senate/comserv.html

I'm starting to wonder if this is much more widespread than I had thought ... maybe the meme that forcing kids to do community service is a good thing is already dominant.

That would be sad.

-Mark Roulo

Darren said...

I know it's not rare, it just strikes me as involuntary servitude.

I'll rephrase my closing question, though: if community service is good, why is national service bad?

Anonymous said...

Barak is half-white, no?

Anonymous said...

"it just strikes me as involuntary servitude."

Well, that's because it *IS* involuntary servitude. So is military conscription (even though the US Supreme Court says that it isn't).

I think I misunderstood your middle paragraph. I though you were suggesting that a white male could not get away with pushing for forced labor out of the young. If you know that this isn't rare (which was news to me!), what did you mean by the middle paragraph of this post? Sorry for being dense ...

And of course ...
"if community service is good, why is national service bad?"

Why it isn't!!!! Free labor for whatever the government wants! Who (that isn't impacted) could be opposed to this?

In many ways, this is pretty similar to proposals to tax a very small percentage of the population (usually the rich). Why oppose it if it doesn't impact you?

Plus, the population is aging. We're going to need people to play nursemaid. We may not be able to afford this if we have to pay them ... but if we make it national service ... well ... you don't hate old people do you?

-Mark Roulo

Darren said...

He may be half-Caucasian, but I don't see a white man when I look at Barack Obama. And if you think his success thus far can be attributed to anything other than his skin color, you and I will disagree.

As to my middle paragraph, the very people who are the decendants of slaves are going to give Obama a pass on this. If John McCain suggested it, you'd be hearing the slavery reference.

The idea itself isn't as hideous as the hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

"As to my middle paragraph, the very people who are the descendants of slaves are going to give Obama a pass on this. If John McCain suggested it, you'd be hearing the slavery reference."

All clear now.

Thanks.

I think McCain *would* get a pass if he was a Democrat, though. Rod Blagojevich probably did (although I haven't checked). Involuntary servitude is okay when proposed by the left (because their intentions are pure) and very, very bad when proposed by the right (because their intentions are bad).

It isn't a black/white thing ... it is a left/right thing.

-Mark Roulo

Mrs. C said...

Hey, maybe now that his Greek Temple is complete, Obama can have the high schoolers work on the Pyramids!

Darren said...

Now THAT'S funny!!!

Carson said...

Never mind the labor aspect of it, Where would "active" high school students find the time for this? Im running on empty half the time anyway, and with community service requirements I might DIE.

Ellen K said...

So what I want to know now is if it will truly be applied to EVERY student in public schools or just those who are affluent enough and need to be taken down a notch in the view of some politicians. What about kids who need to work to pay for college? Or kids who need to work to keep a roof over their heads? What of kids who must babysit siblings so parents can work? What about learn disabled students who need to attend extensive support classes just to pass their courses? I am not against community service, but when you make it mandatory, it's no longer volunteering but an unpaid job. Students in my school volunteer to work at food banks, churches, elementary schools and senior centers. They do it because they seek these opportunities. I can't imagine what kind of havoc would ensue if you force kids who don't want to help into situations where they could victimize people who are already suffering. It's just like the military. By having a volunteer Army, we have people enlisted who WANT to be there. Nobody who has ever run a charity or volunteer service wants to have to waste time overseeing people who don't want to work. This will simply make it harder on the folks who already do these things for free and of their own free will.

Anonymous said...

Obama's community service idea is seems to be the quid pro quo of a "free" education. Funny thing is, by acknowledging that kids should serve to pay for their education follows the same rule as capitalist economics - nothing is free.

Darren said...

There's nothing capitalist about it. Capitalist would be getting a job--or even better, becoming an entrepreneur.

Trying to dress socialism up as capitalism doesn't work here.

Nick Lopez said...

I don't agree with this for reasons very similar to yours, but to insinuate there would be a different response if Obama were black is silly.

Darren said...

I'm sure you meant "weren't" in the sentence above.

Believing that, it's clear you haven't paid enough attention to the race hustlers in our society--Jesse, Al, the NAACP, et. al.

Dr Pezz said...

In my high school we do have mandatory community service. It's in a required senior social studies class about civics, and the students must perform 20 hours of community service in an 18 week window. It works just fine, and there are virtually no complaints (only by kids who don't want to do it).

Our entire community benefits because the kids choose the service they perform, so kids help out in all areas of town (just has to be approved by the teacher).