2009-01-23 / Editorial/Opinion

Add Volunteerism To School Graduation Requirements

Every once in a while, a member of the City Council comes up with a good idea, and a proposal worthy of mandating citywide compliance. Recently, Queens Councilman Eric Gioia called on School Chancellor Joel Klein to make community service a requirement for high school graduation. We like the idea. What could teens do? They could volunteer in libraries, hospitals, nursing homes and food pantries; serve on neighborhood boards; tutor younger children; work on community beautification projects; clean parks and beaches; take neighborhood surveys - the list is endless. Under Gioia's plan, students would have to complete 20 hours of community service in order to earn a diploma. We would take it one step further and require that students do three or four hours each week for the final semester of their senior year, when many of our students have completed their academic requirements and are just "hanging out," awaiting the big day. "The service requirement would invest high school students with a spirit of volunteerism and the knowledge that they can make a measurable difference in their neighborhoods

" and in the world," Gioia said. We agree.

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Why would you force someone to be a "volunteer". Do you think before you speak? Using force to ensure someone Volunteers is a recipe to make sure they do not volunteer in the future.

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