Thursday, August 19, 2004

Mandatory Community Service

The state education bureaucracy is now in the business of mandating community service for public high school students. The Michigan Department of Education announced yesterday that, starting in 2006, all students who are eligible for the Michigan Merit scholarship must complete 40 hours of community service before they can receive the scholarship. Previously, simply doing well on the state's MEAP test was all the qualification needed to get the scholarship.

Should it really be up to the state to require volunteering? And isn't that a contradiction in terms?

It creates a murky situation because the state isn't mandating the community service for graduation - just for a scholarship that not everyone qualifies for anyways.

But this just goes to show that with government money comes government strings. Local school districts will be forced to add even more bureaucracy to their plate - exactly what they need.

Instead of focusing on more bureaucrats to administer forced voluntarism, why not focus on the basics? A lot of good volunteering will do when fewer than half of Grand Rapids Public Schools high school students are reading at grade level.

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