Target: Arne Duncan, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education
Goal: Help empower students while helping them be more socially and environmentally conscious by making community service a mandatory part of school curriculum.
Television and movies usually make the act of going to school seem like a terrible bore, one that students can only save themselves from by bullying others or harassing their teachers. With such a negative portrayal of education, it’s no wonder that literacy and graduation rates have dropped to embarrassing levels since school became mandatory. However, the lack of personal gratification for students who have learning needs that aren’t met by standardized education can be remedied in part by getting them involved in their communities. Incorporating community service into curriculum will help students empower themselves, develop tolerance and empathy, and hopefully open their eyes to how rewarding the act of helping is. Tell Arne Duncan to require schools to make community service a mandatory component of curriculum.
Research has shown that community service increases students’ personal, interpersonal, and social development by giving them a purpose for interacting with other community members. The sense of personal responsibility and empowerment derived from helping others also helps students become more motivated about attending school, thus increasing school attendance and participation. The changes in students’ perspectives caused by performing community service also causes them to adopt more positive lifestyle and behavior choices.
Author and award-winning schoolteacher, John Taylor Gatto, remarked how rather than school being seen as a gift paid for by taxpayers, students come to school with not only dread but a sense of entitlement. While learning reading, writing and arithmetic, they’re not provided with experiences that will teach gratitude, compassion, integrity, and tolerance. Community service, in all its forms, teaches these skills while allowing students to see that, as individuals, their efforts really can make a difference.
It’s time to stop allowing students to feel powerless, bored, and disenfranchised when they go to school. It’s also time to show students that their egocentric ways are not productive and can even be destructive to themselves and others. Encourage schools to give this opportunity to students by telling Arne Duncan to incorporate community service into all school curriculums.
Dear Secretary Duncan,
There are many students attending school each day whose needs are not met educationally. The reasons for this include students needing a more stimulating environment or one that offers more freedom for creative expression. For many of these students, attending a school where their educational needs would be met is not an option. So to help school become more of a rewarding and educational experience for all students, community service should become a mandated curriculum component.
When students attend school, they are receiving a service sponsored by taxpayers. Yet they are conditioned to ungratefully perceive it as a burden, thus adding to their egocentricity. Although the American education system is failing its students in many ways, small improvements like incorporating community service into the curriculum can make a powerful difference in how students perceive education, themselves, and others. Please help students empower themselves and simultaneously help their communities by requiring community service as a curriculum component.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: cartoonworks.com