Not all that opinionated, but...

Monday, July 7, 2008

I tend to shy away from being opinionated about things unless I feel somewhat confident in knowing something about the issue. That makes it hard for me to argue politics because the spectrum of issues is so broad that I usually feel unqualified to make assertions. But this? What a terrible, poorly thought out idea!

Students should serve

It's all fine, well and good (sort of) until this part:

"He said the goals would be achieved by making federal assistance conditional on school districts developing service programs."

That takes all the "should" and "goal" out of it. It's no longer something to strive for, it's something that schools have to do for funding. I love the idea of encouraging service - I tend to always have some kind of volunteer gig - but I also don't want to serve with a bunch of people who don't want to serve. Part of what's so rewarding about a volunteer experience is getting to be around other people who enjoy helping out. We aren't exactly "getting students engaged" in academics by making them go to school, so why would forcing service help in "getting students engaged" in service?

Not to mention students who have to work! I'm very fortunate that school comes easy to me...I mean, I have to work at it, but I can't imagine being someone who struggles with school, has to work, and then has to worry about community service on top of that. Parents and legal guardians would likely get some kind of exemption, but not the kid who watches his younger siblings everyday after school.

I'm all for some kind of initiative to encourage service, just not a mandate. The reasons are pretty obvious - I could have listed a dozen hypothetical situations for which this requirement would be nothing but a headache.

OK Candidates, keep forking over the plans, it's making my decision easier, having something clear to consider rather than trying to latch onto some vague rhetoric.


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