Youth Service Plan

Barack Obama wants more public service and has tied it to money to make sure his plan is implemented:

“He said he would make federal assistance conditional on school districts establishing service programs and set the goal of 50 hours of service a year for middle school and high school students.

For college students, Obama would set the goal at 100 hours of service a year and create a $4,000 annual tax credit for college students tied to that level of service.”

The experts in the field are excited by what they see as heightened interest in service programs among young people and that these programs will grow as a result.

Of course there’s heightened interest in the programs, but I wonder would this interest still be there if strings weren’t attached? Many schools in the nation now require some sort of service to graduate from high school. If a student does not do the service, they won’t graduate. Thus the increase in volunteering is not because all students want to do it or even have an interest in doing it-but they do want to graduate.

Same thing with Obama’s plans-schools will force students into these programs so they can get more funding, by having the same requirements they have now: No service, no graduation.

It won’t be any different at the college level-want $4,000 tax credit-do the service. If all the hours are not served, the money will not be given out. It would be interesting to see a study about what happens in the adult years when the students are out of school and college. Are they still volunteering or do they look at it as “I did my time already, I’m done. I only did it so I could graduate/get the money.”

Coercing students into service is bad enough, but then we have this statement that bothers me:

“We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set,” he said Wednesday. “We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”

Now the service emphasis has shifted to national security, something he admits later in the paragraph-this is not service like Peace and AmeriCorps as was suggested earlier in the article, but this service program is for national security.

A civilian force that is just as powerful, strong and well-funded as the military?! Essentially we will have two military forces-the ones overseas and the ones here at home.

Like Hitlers and Stalins Youth Corps? Like the East German Stasi that Katarina Witt, 1984 and 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist in Ladies Figure Skating, spied for? That kind of youth service?

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. wilsonrofishing
    Nov 07, 2008 @ 17:19:59

    I agree with your take on the mandated national service plan, and talk about it here</a.


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