Sunday, October 26, 2014

"Community Service" Requirements for Graduation are B.S.

"Service learning makes students active participants in service projects that aim to respond to the needs of the community while furthering the academic goals of students" (Kahne and Westheimer 1).

"Proponents of service learning have worked to find common ground between Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, business leaders and community activists.  Edward Kennedy, Bill Clinton, George Bush, William F. Buckley, and Ralph Nader have all gone on record as strong advocates of service learning in American schools.  Yet controversial issues surrounding the means and ends of service learning have been pushed to the background" (Kahne and Westheimer 2). 

"Unfortunately, in many service activities, students view those they serve as clients rather than as a resource" (Kahne and Westheimer 7).

"The experiential and interpersonal components of service learning activities can achieve the first crucial step toward diminishing the sense of 'otherness' that often separates students--particularly privileged students--from those in need.  In so doing, the potential to develop caring relationships is created"(Kahne and Westheimer 8).

It seems to me like having a service learning requirement for graduation for all high school students would be an obvious step to take on a federal level.  I think that there is a serious issue with politics if no action is taken on something that ALL political parties are agreeing on…I mean seriously, that never happens!  What are we waiting for?  This seems like such a simple, yet incredibly beneficial thing to do.

"Students tutor, coach softball, paint playgrounds, and read to the elderly because they are interested in people, or because they want to learn a little about poverty and racism before they head out into the waiting corporate world…We do not volunteer 'to make a statement,' or to use the people we work with to protest something.  We try to see the homeless man, the hungry child, and the dying woman as the people they are, not the means to some political end" (Kahne and Westheimer 10).

"Service learning advocates agree that experiential, active pedagogy is often quite powerful.  While an additional emphasis on charity might lead to service learning activities that raise self-esteem, impel students into new experiences, and demonstrate the value of scholastic abilities in real-world contexts, educators who focus on a transformative vision would want to carry this work one step further.  For them, it is the combination of service and critical analysis, not either by itself, that seems most likely to promote interest in and insight into these complex social issues (Kahne and Westheimer 11). 

Some schools are already implementing community service requirements for graduation or encouraging it because "it will look good on college applications".  Unfortunately, both take a great significance out of the value.  They turn community service/service learning into a numbers game.  An unfair one at that.  As far as reporting said hours, usually only a signature for the number of hours one "volunteered" is the only requirement, something easily forged and/or exaggerated by high school students.  There is no follow up, no period of reflection associated with the requirement.  Students are turning into robots.  Everything now is being taught "for a test".  Even something as simple as service learning is losing any and all value and credibility.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, I think it says something about our government when even when everyone agrees and nothing happens. People are too afraid to bring about change