June 26, 2007, on this blog: Mission Trips & AmeriCorps
I’m still not completely sure what to think about Dodd’s idea of mandatory service as a requirement for high school graduation. I get the impulse — a self-absorbed little prick really shouldn’t be handed a diploma and declared “educated” until someone has pointed out to him that he shouldn’t be such a self-absorbed little prick. And the idea of mandatory service for high school students begins to look more attractive the more you listen to the whining of its most vocal opponents. Yet for all of that “mandatory service” still seems like an oxymoron. Berea College provides an inspiring model for service and education, but students can choose whether or not to attend there. High school students don’t have a choice. I’d like to see high school students encouraged to serve. I’d like to see them empowered to serve without suffering any opportunity costs. And I’d like to see their service rewarded. But, unlike Dodd, I don’t think I’d like to see their service required.