Thursday, June 16, 2011

Should community service be "almost" compulsory?

Conservative columnist Deborah Simmons admitted in the Washington Times today, that Washington DC’s mayor Vincent Gray “is on to something.” That refers to an Americorps appropriation when in DC will be used in part for summer mentoring opportunities for older high school students 17-24 (does sound older).

This doesn’t count as part of the 100 hour community service requirement demanded for graduation from Washington DC high schools (did this come from Michelle Rhee?), an idea not conceived of in my high school days when boys lived under the threat of military conscription if their grades weren’t good enough.

Simmons mentions the idea that, if government compels “volunteering”, then it isn’t volunteering any more.  
Perhaps it’s more like servitude or at least internship (see my Book Review blog June 8).

But she also appropriately points out that the alternative to people’s do more to help one another personally could be much more government paternalism. She could have also mentioned that this sort of idea of social responsibility or cohesion transcends the way we look at most choices, like whether to have children. 

The link for her op-ed is here.

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