Friday, December 05, 2008

Backing Off The Community Service Requirement?

The president-elect has [1] backpedaled on his longstanding campaign promise to have government mandate community service by students. Seemingly more innocuously, he now plans to “call on” and “encourage” them to serve by “setting a goal” for all middle school and high school students to perform 50 hours of service a year, and for all college students who perform 100 hours of service to receive a tax credit guaranteeing that the first $4,000 of their college education is entirely free.

The article from which the above was excerpted goes on to explain why mandatory community service is a bad thing. Community service isn't bad in and of itself, but its implementation in schools could easily be--how shall I put this delicately?--less than optimal.

1 comment:

Ellen K said...

I think community service freely given is a good thing. But you can ask any service agency about how little they enjoy policing students who have been referred for mandatory community service if you want more insight. Forced service creates an adversarial situation. While a few students may gain something from the activity, friends of mine who work in local food pantries and clothing services for the poor in our area say that they spend a huge amount of time making these "volunteers" show up, work and participate. In addition, there has been a noted "loss" of some costly donations related to such "volunteers". Just as the U.S. military would prefer to have recruits who want to serve, non-profits want volunteers who actually plan to help, not ones that they have to ride roughshod on.