Let’s all work for the

Let’s all work for the government for nothing!
Sen. John Kerry wants high schools to require community service or lose federal funds.

TNR’s Primary observes that schools are having trouble funding academic classes, music, art and sports; another unfunded mandate is the last thing schools need.

Even with funding, a service requirement is a distraction: Many students need to spend more time on academics and less time on extracurriculars. Once students master reading, writing, math, history, civics, geography and science, schools can consider adding do-good projects to the curriculum.

Kerry also proposed a free public-college education in exchange for two years as a volunteer. I wonder if he’s willing to provide federal college aid only to students who’ve served in the military or a civilian equivalent. That would make some sense, and avoid coercion. But Democrats, especially blacks, wouldn’t like to see Pell Grants (for low-income students) abolished in favor of the chance to work in a low-wage job for two years.

Kerry also wants to put seniors to work under the catchy name “Retired But Not Tired.” Can’t seniors find their own volunteer opportunities? And he proposes a Summer of Service for teen-agers not old enough to work, a quadrupling of Peace Corps slots and a larger military.

I envision eager youths and cheerful seniors marching off to their work assignments, singing patriotic songs. Only they’re singing in Russian, for some reason.

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