Service-Learning Again

An op-ed in yesterday’s Washington Times reminds me very much of the “research” Roger skewered yesterday on the purported benefits of “diversity” among med students. The writer is concerned about the drop-out rate among high school students and — through some surveys showing that a lot of students say that they like helping people and would take “service-learning” classes if they were offered — leaps to the conclusion that we could lower the dropout rate just by having more of these classes.

Is there really any reason to think that the typical bored and indifferent dropout would stay in school merely because he could include a “service-learning” class along with the others? Will the presence of service-learning classes induce that kind of student to work harder at learning how to write an intelligible paragraph or how to do algebra? Or would this merely be another costly waste of time?

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. He holds a B.A. from Carroll College (Waukesha, Wis.) and a J.D. from ...

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