I wonder how many people realize that community service for high-school students is already a requirement in many, maybe even most, urban high schools. And it is virtually a requirement for kids who are applying to college, because it is one of those things that college-admissions officers “look at” in order to distinguish among the considerable number of students with fabulous transcripts and Board scores. So our president won’t have to worry about how to compel high school students to help the needy.
As for college students, why not tell their schools to pay the minimum wage for community service? This would make the work more attractive, and perhaps strike a small blow against the practice of hoarding vast endowments by so many universities.
I’m against all this compulsion, of course, and I wonder if it isn’t one of the subversive ways that religion is creeping into our schools, despite the ACLU’s frantic efforts to keep it out. Charity is a key value in all three major monotheistic religions, and most charity, like most community service, is faith-based. Churches and synagogues (I’m not up to speed on the data concerning mosques, if indeed it’s publicly available) do a better job than the Feds, which is what underlay the faith-based initiative in the first place. Obama loves the Federal part of such initiatives–at least he says he does–but doesn’t seem to appreciate either the greater dimensions of private charity, or the dangers of putting more and more of it in the hands of the state.
The main point is that it’s happening already. As Tocqueville warned, we are tying ourselves down by myriad little regulations, our leaders keep telling us how wonderful it is, and we by and large believe it..