Former President Theodore Roosevelt said, “This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.” In other words, Roosevelt is saying that making America an admirable country requires dedication. Americans most commonly improve society by volunteering in their communities. In fact, some schools are beginning to adopt community service as a required component in their curriculum, using it as a teaching tool for young citizens. However, the topic of mandatory public service is widely debated. Although obligatory volunteer service has benefits, the idea as a whole is contradictory, as students are already expected to be responsible leaders, and such educational volunteer programs lack organization and durability.
Supporters of mandatory volunteer service in high school point out the educational potential it has and the benefits it gives students. By integrating required service into a teenager’s life, these volunteer curriculums may foster a habit of continual service towards communities; therefore, teaching these ideal traits through experience is more effective than teaching them in a classrooms setting. President Obama elaborates upon the value volunteering has in demonstrating the necessary interaction between an individual and his or her country (630). Volunteerism also promotes unselfishness and hard work, which results in patience and appreciation. Additionally, many feel that volunteer service boosts students’ opportunities. Studies show that the high school graduation rates of “disadvantaged students” (Levine 639) rise substantially as service hours increase (Levine 638). Meanwhile, their crime...
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...fire and cause students to look upon volunteerism with dismay. The lack of organization, effectiveness, and educational opportunities illustrates that mandatory public service is a flawed idea.
Even with its good intentions, mandatory public service in high schools is poorly constructed because students already learn how to be responsible leaders, and the program itself is neither organized nor educational enough. Theodore Roosevelt was right when he expressed how imperative it is to create a country for all people. However, all people include the volunteers themselves. Volunteerism is not the foe; the foe is infiltration of a student’s rights to participate. In the end, the situation boils down to the individuality of a person. Becoming service-minded and unselfish cannot be accomplished through a mandatory class, but through a willingness to try something new.
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