“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mandatory government service for our kids?

There's been a LOT of discussion across the conservative Internet regarding HR 1388 ("Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act" (GIVE Act)), now S 3577 (National Service Reauthorization Act) in the Senate.

I've watched and been reading the email alerts and various blogs, but haven't really had time to fully delve into the details. I still haven't had time to read the entire bill itself, not that I'd grasp it fully if I did given the way they legaleeze the language! Plus, I note there have been a number of amendments.

It seems innocent enough. After all, every President in recent years has had some sort of somewhat similar volunteer service group.


I do not like what I read under section 6104 of the bill, entitled “Duties.” In subsection B6, the legislation states that a commission will be set up to investigate, “Whether a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed, and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the Nation and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.”

Mandatory service? Ah, are we talking kid draft? What happens if the parents don't WANT their child indoctrinated into service? brain washed into whatever brand of social consciousness that the government deems politically correct?

Where are we headed with this bill?

Even if it's not mandatory now, what kind of pressure will your child experience if he or she doesn't participate? Will they be ostracized? Will you get notes from the school talking about how your child isn't fitting in?

There is the possibility of uniforms included in the language of the bill, too. Not to mention the cost: $6 (six) billion (with a b) over the next five years.

Section 120 of the bill also discusses the “Youth Engagement Zone Program”. It states that “service learning” will be “a mandatory part of the curriculum in all of the secondary schools served by the local educational agency”.

It sounds innocuous doesn't it? It's giving. It's service to help your country. We're taking potentially troubled kids, along with your child, and giving them a cause. We're teaching them to have big hearts and give, give, give.

Tell me, do you like what your children are being taught now in school? I'm not talking about reading, writing and arithmetic. I'm talking about the social aspect of the teaching that happens in schools. You buy supplies for your child and they're put in a communal closet so that other children can use them, too. The less-privileged. Sounds good doesn't it? You're helping the less fortunate. Uh, take from the "rich" (aka, anyone who has more than me) and give to the poor? To each his own needs?

What about the 'everyone is a winner' mantra we hear so often these days? No cheering at school ball games? Not keeping scores? Not handing out awards unless everyone gets one of some sort? Reading books about Sally or Joe having two Moms or two Dads. You can add your own examples to this list, there are many.

It's subtle in some cases, like some of the examples I just mentioned, but add it to all the other seemingly benign teachings and by the time your child is dumped into the "real" world their outlook on life capitalism, free-market, the 'rich' can be totally warped.

We're breeding competition out of our children's lives. We're teaching our children that it's bad to be better than the kid at the desk next to them.

Extremes on EITHER end of the spectrum are not good.

I just took a break to go walk on the treadmill. While walking I popped on Fox and Friends and, in the name of good timing, I saw a bit for the first time they call "The Trouble with Text Books". Once a week they're highlighting three factual errors or problems in the text books used to teach our children.

One of the examples from this morning's batch dovetails perfectly with what I was just writing. In American Passages, a full page is devoted to Cindy Sheehan. That's Cindy Sheehan of protest fame, the one who inserted herself into the anti-war movement. Sheehan is being held up to our children as an example? an icon?

We're on a slippery, slippery slope right now.

In one bill there's a bit about the possibility of forced social service. In another bill they insert a change that affects charitable giving. In another they undermine the right for physicians and medical workers not to perform actions that go against their belief system.

Buried deep in the bowels of multi-page bills in language that even those voting on can't decipher a word is changed, a sentence is inserted, and pretty soon we have a completed a puzzle of an American coffin. It holds the dead body of capitalism, free speech and freedom of religion.

We as concerned Americans have to look at the big picture and watch the details at the same time.

I don't believe this bill is good for the future of our country. It appears to be more social engineering in the name of good works.

Here's some of the language in the Senate bill:



(a) In General- From the amounts appropriated to carry out this part for a fiscal year, the Corporation may make grants and fixed-amount grants (in accordance with section 129
(l)) with eligible entities for activities described in subsection (c).

`(b) Definitions- For purposes of this part, the following definitions apply:`

(1) ELIGIBLE ENTITIES- The term `eligible entity' means a State education agency, a State Commission, a Territory, an Indian tribe, an institution of higher education, or a public or private nonprofit organization (including community-based organizations), a public or private elementary or secondary school, a local educational agency, or a consortia of such entities, where a consortia of two or more such entities may also include a for-profit organization.

`(2) YOUTH ENGAGEMENT ZONE- The term `youth engagement zone' means the area in which a youth engagement zone program is carried out.`

(3) YOUTH ENGAGEMENT ZONE PROGRAM- The term `youth engagement zone program' means a service learning program in which members of an eligible partnership described in paragraph (4) collaborate to provide coordinated school-based or community-based service learning opportunities, to address a specific community challenge, for an increasing percentage of out-of-school youth and secondary school students served by local educational agencies where --

`(A) not less than 90 percent of the students participate in service-learning activities as part of the program; or

`(B) service-learning is a mandatory part of the curriculum in all of the secondary schools served by the local educational agency.

Authorized Activities- Funds under this part may be used to--

`(1) integrate service-learning programs into the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curricula at the elementary, secondary, or post-secondary, and post-baccalaureate levels in coordination with practicing or retired STEM professionals;
`(2) involve students in service-learning programs focusing on energy conservation in their community, including conducting educational outreach on energy conservation and working to improve energy efficiency in low income housing and in public spaces;
`(3) involve students in service-learning projects in emergency and disaster preparedness;
`(4) involve students in service-learning projects aimed at improving access to and obtaining benefits from computers and other emerging technologies, including improving such access to individuals with disabilities, in low income or rural communities, in senior centers and communities, in schools, in libraries, and in other public spaces;
`(5) involve high school age youth in the mentoring of middle school youth while involving all participants in service-learning to seek to meet unmet human, educational, environmental, public safety, or emergency disaster preparedness needs in their community;
`(6) conduct research and evaluations on service-learning, including service-learning in middle schools, and disseminate such research and evaluations widely;
`(7) conduct innovative and creative activities as described in section 111(b);
`(8) establish or implement summer of service programs (giving priority to programs that enroll youth in grades 6 through 9) during the summer months, including the cost of recruitment, training, and placement of service-learning coordinators--
`(A) for youth who will be enrolled in any grade from grade 6 through grade 12 at the end of the summer concerned;
`(B) for community-based service-learning projects that--
`(i) shall--
`(I) meet unmet human, educational, environmental (including energy conservation and stewardship), emergency and disaster preparedness, and public service needs; and
`(II) be intensive, structured, supervised, and designed to produce identifiable improvements to the community; and
`(ii) may include the extension of academic year service-learning programs into the summer months;

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"I begin with the young. We older ones are used up. We are rotten to the marrow. We are cowardly and sentimental. We are bearing the burden of a humiliating past, and have in our blood the dull recollection of serfdom and servility. But my magnificent youngsters! Are there any finer ones in the world? Look at these young men and boys! What material! With them, I can make a new world. This is the heroic stage of youth. Out of it will come the creative man, the man-god."

"When an opponent declares, 'I will not come over to your side,' I say calmly, 'Your child belongs to us already...What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing but this new community'."

-Adolf Hitler speaking about the League of German Worker Youth, better known as the "Hitler Youth"