"I wish they would only take me as I am" - Vincent Van Gogh               "How Can I believe in God when just last week I got my tounge caught in the roller of an electric typewriter?" - Woody Allen              "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake" - Henry David Thoreau              "I took a speed reading course and read 'War and Peace' in twenty minutes. It involves Russia" - Woody Allen            "When promulgating esoteric cogitations, eschew platitudinous ponderosities" - Mark Rowan, my father            "Up, sluggard, and waste not life, for in the grave there will be sleep enough" - Benjamin Franklin             "What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world." - Albert Einstein            "Welfare's purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence" - Ronald Reagan            "It's odd that you can get so anesthetized by your own pain or your own problem that you don't quite fully share the hell of someone close to you." - Lady Bird Johnson              "I still want to be the candidate for guys with confederate flags in their pickup truck" - Howard Dean

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Graduate of the University of Oregon, Married for 4-1/2 years to my High School sweetheart. I am currently residing in Cleveland while I attend med school.

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    Monday, July 07, 2008

    Mandatory Volunteerism

    Several months ago Michell Obama said "Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed," which many of the righty blogs spouted as an intent for a totalitarian sort of Obama Administration. Frankly, it seemed like they were making a mountain out of a mole-hill and I didn't put too much stake in it. However, only several days ago, the Senator himself said the following:
    Just as we teach math and writing, arts and athletics, we need to teach young Americans to take citizenship seriously. Study after study shows that students who serve do better in school, are more likely to go to college, and more likely to maintain that service as adults. So when I'm President, I will set a goal for all American middle and high school students to perform 50 hours of service a year, and for all college students to perform 100 hours of service a year. This means that by the time you graduate college, you'll have done 17 weeks of service.

    We'll reach this goal in several ways. At the middle and high school level, we'll make federal assistance conditional on school districts developing service programs, and give schools resources to offer new service opportunities. At the community level, we'll develop public-private partnerships so students can serve more outside the classroom.

    For college students, I have proposed an annual American Opportunity Tax Credit of $4,000. To receive this credit, we'll require 100 hours of public service. You invest in America, and America invests in you - that's how we're going to make sure that college is affordable for every single American, while preparing our nation to compete in the 21st century.
    I'll need to look at this piece by piece:
    Just as we teach math and writing, arts and athletics, we need to teach young Americans to take citizenship seriously.
    Agreed. Everyone should be proud to serve their country and community. However, I don't think that they should be required by the government to do so.
    Study after study shows that students who serve do better in school, are more likely to go to college, and more likely to maintain that service as adults.
    I don't doubt this for one second, yet this is only an association, and does not prove that volunteering causes college attendance. I would argue that the people who choose to volunteer are the people who are already highly likely to attend college, anyway (this is my anecdotal experience from High School, College, Medical School). Citing an association means nothing--the number of storks in the UK is decreasing, as is the birth rate...that doesn't mean that storks bring babies.
    So when I'm President, I will set a goal for all American middle and high school students to perform 50 hours of service a year, and for all college students to perform 100 hours of service a year. This means that by the time you graduate college, you'll have done 17 weeks of service.
    I volunteered extensively when I was in high school and into college. Often I gained a great deal of pride and honor in doing so. I'm curious if being forced to do so would have brought about the same encouraging attitude. In other words, would I have viewed it as a sacrifice to help others, or would I be bitter about it if it were compulsory?
    We'll reach this goal in several ways. At the middle and high school level, we'll make federal assistance conditional on school districts developing service programs, and give schools resources to offer new service opportunities. At the community level, we'll develop public-private partnerships so students can serve more outside the classroom.
    This is the most troubling proposal to me. While the quality of instruction in our schools is deteriorating, Senator Obama is proposing that we tie funding to school district volunteer programs? I imagine that the schools in the most serious trouble, where drop-out rates are above 50% and graduation rates below 10% will have the most trouble meeting these standards, and will thus be the ones who see a reduction in funding. Does the Senator really expect students in these situations to volunteer in their communities? If he really wants to be the candidate of change, lets see some real change...like a nationwide voucher program that could realize the same successes that DC has had.
    For college students, I have proposed an annual American Opportunity Tax Credit of $4,000. To receive this credit, we'll require 100 hours of public service. You invest in America, and America invests in you - that's how we're going to make sure that college is affordable for every single American, while preparing our nation to compete in the 21st century.
    Personally I don't have much issue with this part of the plan. However, I don't see this as really making college more affordable. If this program garnered a large enough pool of students, I imagine universities would just increase their tuition accordingly. In addition, I fundamentally don't agree with subsidizing college in this manner. If the money is to be spent in such a way (tied to community service), create a system of grants or scholarships instead of just one-size-fits-all giveaways. With a scholarship or grant, it would encourage students to volunteer in meaningful ways, rather than just whatever gets them their paycheck.

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    1 Comments:

    Blogger Sarah Hall said...

    Hopefully, that with a scholarship or grant, it would encourage students to volunteer in meaningful ways, rather than just whatever gets them their paycheck. When it comes to writing a professional custom paper, young people often turn to professionals particularized in writing industry!

    5:36 AM  

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