What Does the Future Hold for Mandatory Public Service?
magazine ran a story back in 2007 on “The Case for
National Service.” The story described the positions of the
candidates for president on expanding “public service” programs. Two of the
Democrat candidates favored mandatory community service by all high school
students. And two others — Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden — favored creation of
Barack Obama has centered speeches around this idea of public service. He waxes sentimental about what we can each do for our country. All in one speech, he said that we must “answer a new call to service to meet the challenges of our new century” and that he “won’t just ask for your vote as a candidate” but “will ask for your service.” And he said that, in fact, this is the cause of his presidency.
Obama, though, is not listed as favoring this proposed academy. Instead, he proposes expanding AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps along with several other programs, and offering funding to students in exchange for community service. We can only hope that he isn’t convinced by his supporters and colleagues to change his mind on this.
Proponents of the academy argue that we’re facing a shortage of public servants, and such an academy could help. Of course, they do not mention that we could reduce the size of government instead of training our youth like soldiers to work for an ever expanding public sector.
It isn’t mere rhetoric to say they would be trained like soldiers. Supporters of the bill have called the proposed academy the “civilian counterpart to the uniformed service academies.” But we should not need a civilian counterpart to the military service academies beyond the police academies that already exist — because the civilian counterpart to the military is just the police officer corps.
scary thought is that the belief in mandatory community service for high school
students, or mandatory
military service as Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) has proposed, could
combine with this call for a
Mandatory Public Service?
A new bill could force young adults to do two years of public service
What is it?
A new bill named the Universal Service Act of 2003, introduced by Democratic House of Representatives members Charles Rangel of New York and John Conyers of Michigan and Sen. Fritz Hollings of South Carolina, was the most recent mandatory-service proposal considered by Congress. Americans would be required to complete two years of service for the nation between the ages of 18 and 26 in one of various programs.
could include military time or active participation in programs such as Peace
Corps, Teach for
Most recent proposals would provide some sort of payment for young people's service. One plan allows for four years of college tuition in exchange for two years of service. Participants who do not choose college might be able to apply for funds to pay for job-training programs or to help start a small business.
young people volunteer to join the
actually thought about joining AmeriCorps,” said sophomore
Who’s requiring service now?
Service-Learning Clearinghouse reported that 5.5 million high school and middle
school students are engaged in service learning. Some administrators are now
requiring students to complete a certain number of community-service hours in
order to graduate high school. These include states such as
Brannock, director of Counseling Services at Owings Mills High School in
Baltimore, said she was torn on the subject of required service. “I do believe
that there are individuals who just don’t have the desire to give in that way,”
What are people saying?
Although there are many reasons for mandatory service, many people still oppose it, primarily because they believe in the right to choose how to live their lives, which is one opinion of people from the Elon community who were recently informally polled.
“I think it should be optional because by making service mandatory, it would take your freedom of choice away,” said Sheila Lackey, an employee of the Coming Attractions Beauty salon in Elon. “It’s just a bad idea.”
Local resident Linda Stitt remembered the draft during the Vietnam War. “I think it’s just an awful idea," she said. "I have a lot of respect for the people who do and are involved with service projects, but I do not think people should be forced into something they don’t want to do.”
Elon Police Chief Lavell Lovette was in high school when the draft was mandatory. "My opinion is that people between the ages of 18 and 20 need to go to college or the military or some sort of service in order to grow, mature and become responsible,” she said.
was contributed by Ashley Busch, Elizabeth Colquitt, R.J. Fenn,
and national states such as
Young adults in America that do not occupy themselves in anyway usually, if not always, evolve into nuisances for society. For example, over time, there has been a steady amount of decline including young adults and community service. From 1990 to 2000, the percent of non-volunteers rose from 56% to 67%. This staggering indicator, along with the common knowledge that college is being a road traveled by less and less, displays that young adults nationally that refuse to commit to donation time to the community are either wasting their time doing nothing, or generally, are up to no good. Along with this shocking statistic, an ironic landmark begins to appear when considering the idea of national service for young adults, inner city youth. AmeriCorps, is a volunteer service comprised of young Americans, primarily visits and intervenes in the lives of young, inner city youth, as well as the homeless, and community health clinics. The irony I’ve referred to, represents the fact that, if AmeriCorps, a group comprised of young Americans, folds, then the younger Americans to come, will not only befall the curse of the current one that refuse to stay occupied, but the AmeriCorps members that would be misplaced, would also become to a similar fate. Of the former mentioned, the intervention in the lives of young urban youth can make a large difference in the well being of the country. If these youth are not instructed that there is something to do in life, they will either, as I’ve said before, rot where they stand, or quickly become incarcerated Americans. For the fates and lives of our young adults, and young adults to come, mandatory national service, in all lights and every spectrum, ought to be considered. Armstrong Williams, further elaborating on the current topic of the fate of our young adults to be, in his article that supports the bill, says, “Each passing generation produces teenagers who are more and more brazen, disrespectful, lazy, and ill-qualified for the real world”. AmeriCorps has a chance of breaking the cycle, and producing respectful, active adults that are ready for the workforce. Why would any bill legislator look over a bill that would enable more, mature, work ready Americans?
Beside the fact that it would do great benefit to the young adults in this nation, the considerance of the bill would also benefit the country as a whole. On a general scale, young adults volunteering could do nothing but well for a country in despair as ours. Not only would they work with the masses, but also they would for free, a relief for a country so deep in debt. Once more, I must refer to Americorps, who, f a different kind of war, against illiteracy, AIDS, and school dropouts. Simply, organizations like Americorps can only build our country not destroy it.
Although the opposition attempts to make a joke out of the bill to be, stating that, “If Orwell were alive, he’d die of laughter”, I disagree. . George Orwell, author of 1984, wrote of a world controlled by a “Bigger-Brother” government. His prediction of what 1984 would be was incorrect, and if he were alive today, he’d be thanking god of the free government we have. Young Americans volunteering could only build free-beliefs of Americans, and pride in younger ones who serve their country proud.
The well being of young Americans, and the country itself, are two, prime reasons why the bill needs to be considered. The idea of mandatory national service can only build the country as stronger as one, not destroy it as many.