Private schools are requiring fewer “community service” hours, reports the New York Times. They’re hoping for more quality service.
Through the holidays and beyond, high school students will be working feverishly to serve the needy — packing food baskets, ladling meals at soup kitchens, collecting toys for children in hospitals — all in the name of amassing the community service credits they need for graduation.
Cynics call these programs a form of forced altruism. Proponents say that they widen students’ horizons while getting service work done. Either way, the backlash has begun: not only do college admissions officers roll their eyes at bogus-sounding claims, but high schools are scaling back the requirements, acknowledging that a lot of the so-called service is meaningless.
Some schools no longer give service credits to students who take summer trips to a poor country — with good beaches — and claim they spent their time tutoring English or building a school in addition to snorkeling and kayaking.
In some states, public schools require service hours as a condition of graduation. That could increase if President Obama provides federal funding for service projects.
Coerced service teaches young people to submit to arbitrary power, writes Thomas Sowell.