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Friday, January 23, 2009

Rep. Kirkeby Proposes Mandatory Community Service for Graduation

That's interesting: Rep. Mark Kirkeby (R-35/Rapid City) brings forward House Bill 1105, which would add community service as a statewide high school graduation requirement. It's a pretty thin requirement: three hours of documented volunteer work for any community project or non-profit charitable or religious organization.

Now there are lots of good things our kids should do growing up, activities that will make them better citizens and scholars. There is, however, a limit to how many hours we can demand of them (and of the staff who will have one more bit of paperwork to process).

Consider also this line from the bill:

In order to meet the requirements of this Act, a public high school student shall offer the student's time, energy, and talent without seeking financial or material gain to provide assistance to the student's community, to any individual or group in need within the student's community, or to any nonprofit charitable or religious organization.

Who says a student's "time, energy, and talent" are the property of the school to offer in the first place? We might want to be cautious about a bill that, in a small way, turns our high school students into a captive labor force.

But what do you think? Mandatory public service for high school graduation: would you do it? Would you require your kids to do it? The comments section is open!


  1. I made sure my kids did community service thru 4-H and church etc as they were growing up. It's important to learn to give to the community without getting monetary payment for it. I would say that most kids far exceed this anyway.

    That being said, to bring forth a bill mandating such as a requirement for graduation is unbelievable. What a waste of the legislature's time once again. This has nothing to do with academics and is nothing a school should ever be mandating. The schools are already involved in way more stuff than they should be. Who would monitor this? Who would decide if the service was worthy to be counted? Who would keep track of hours? How would the hours be proven? And more importantly right now, where would the money come from for this ridiciulous idea?

    I predict this will die a quick death in committee.

  2. From what I understand about Gen Y, they really want to make a difference in the world and are willing to volunteer -- but only when it’s for something they believe in.

    Unfortunately, mandating community service won’t teach them to do it. To achieve that goal, we (teachers, parents, and community members) must ENGAGE and INSPIRE them. It’s our job to help them see the opportunities to change the world that exist within our local communities. Otherwise, they’re left to be inspired by what they see on TV and the Internet.


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