are sitting at their computers, slack-jawed, reading this:
The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nation’s challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start.
I've heard and read a lot of commentary on this today. Some questions people are asking: Who's going to pay for this? How will they enforce it in schools? What about private schools? What about homeschoolers? What would be considered "community" service?
Here's my prediction for schools: first public schools will have to hire a volunteer coordinator to drum up work for the students. I am not sure how they'll get private schools into it, but maybe through the accreditation organizations (I am not sure of the right term for that): no accreditation unless you hire a volunteer coordinator and find some ways to put the kids to work. Oh, I am pretty sure that anything related to a church will be verboten. Maybe not right away, but, eventually someone will complain that that violates something. Or maybe they'll force Christian and Jewish kids to go "serve" at a Mosque - mandatory volunteerism and cultural reeducation in one fell swoop! Pro-life kids at an abortion clinic. Etc.
Anyway, then the homeschoolers. At some point we will need to be reined in. (I can't believe I had originally typed in "reigned" instead. While I was washing dishes and singing Johnny Rivers songs in my head, the error popped into my brain. Weird.) They could just criminalize it, but I don't think that'll happen, at least not for a while. I think eventually there will be a federal homeschool law with lots and lots of regulations. Oh, the Dept of Education will love getting their hands on us, won't they?
I also wonder how many Obama voters are wondering why they hadn't heard about all this before. But of course we know why, don't we?
UPDATE! The change.gov site was changed today. If you look at the paragraph I copy/pasted above, you will see that the "requirement" for middle and high schoolers is now a "goal" and there's a cash incentive too!
Lots of hope and change going on here these days!
Dr Helen and Joanne Jacobs are talking about it too.