East Point

I’m not enthused about creating a public service academy modeled after the military academies. The Washington Post reports:

The proposed United States Public Service Academy would offer an all-expenses-paid education to 5,000 undergraduates. Its liberal arts curriculum would emphasize leadership development, analytical thinking and service to others, with requirements for summer service internships and a year of study abroad.

Graduates would be required to work for five years in public service. They could choose from jobs in state, local or federal government, law enforcement, public health, education or nonprofit organizations.

Maybe I just don’t want to see civil service workers with esprit de corps. And I don’t think most government, law, health or teaching jobs are comparable to military service.

About Joanne


  1. I know this is done in France–a school geared for preparing students for careers in public service. I think it’s coming about because a huge section of the govt leadership will disappear in a few years as many of them retire, leaving a void and putting the govt in a lurch to fill so many leadership positions. By its nature, the bureaucracy doesn’t pass the torch easily to others to have them become leaders; people horde information in order to maintain power. As a result, there has been no cross-training, just years of “I’m in management and you’re not” with the result that the excluded set of “little people” have decided govt is not the place for them, so they leave for the private sector. By having a US Academy, they essentially will provide “royal jelly” to a constant supply of queen bees that will formally learn the techniques of hording information and maintaining power, and the torch will be passed to members of this exclusive club. That way, the bureaucracy can maintain its idiotic posture of self-importance.

    In case you couldn’t tell, I work for the federal government.

  2. SuperSub says:

    Joanne – I have to take issue with your final statement – “And I don’t think most government, law, health or teaching jobs are comparable to military service.”

    Military-like service would, if carried out correctly, develop the traits that are needed in our leaders, in private or public service. The foremost would be responsibility, respect for authority and each other, hard work ethic, and a never-say-die attitude (internal motivation).

  3. John from OK says:

    I thought all our universities were public service academies already. What else do you do with a sociology degree?

  4. superdestroyer says:

    Considering that the number one major at George Mason University is public administration, such programs already exist at many universities.

  5. Foobarista says:

    Personally, I’d rather see a requirement that all government workers be required to run a small business for a period of not less than one year. Politicians should have to run one for five years as a qualification for office.

  6. Jack Tanner says:

    ‘I’d rather see a requirement that all government workers be required to run a small business for a period of not less than one year.’

    Either that or work in a private sector job where they have to serve the public, ie. retail, service industry.

  7. Gayl K says:

    Well, then I think everyone who runs a business should work a year in the public sector. The private sector would actually benefit from some of the training that I received working in the public sector. For the record, I have worked in both sectors and even in-between. They are very different. When I worked in the public sector, I got so annoyed with very pure business types that would try to come in to the public sector and think that they can run goverment EXACTLY like a business. Yes I think goverment can be alot more efficient which is somewhat what they think they are doing, but it requires an entirely different mindset to be efficient in public sector versus the private sector. I think with the private sector, the bottom line is to find services/products in order to provide(make)money. With the public sector, the goal is find money in order to provide services/products (that often no else will do). Generally, speaking from my own personal experience, I have found that dedicated public sector workers (the peons who actually do the work and not the honorary higher ups) have a better sense of the private sector than vice versa.

  8. AnnaDorn says:

    I think the US Public Service Academy Sounds like a great idea. Currently, there are shortages in many public service jobs, such as ones in law enforcement, Foreign Service, education, and non profit organizations, among others. Having a public university dedicated to public service would really help address this problem. Schools of Public Service exist at several universities, but the problem with these schools is that few of their graduates actually go on to careers in public service. Many use their degrees, generally from prestigious universities such as Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public Service, to do other things. The US Academy of Public Service would solve a myriad of problems, and allow students who wouldn’t be able to afford schools, like Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson, to pursue a career in public service.