Mandatory Service Requirements for Youth

Ok, class, time for a quick current events pop quiz:

Which country just approved a $6 billion initiative that includes the following, directing its legislative body to determine:

“….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.”

Your answer, please.

Russia? No.

China? No.

Sorry…..the correct answer is the United States of America.

I’m not kidding. HB 1388 passed in the Senate today. This is scary stuff. The fine print includes descriptions of young people wearing uniforms and being trained on campuses (the term originally used was ‘camps’ but they changed that, I wonder why?) It’s even been suggested that middle schoolers and high schoolers should be included.

Ironically, despite the use of the word ‘mandatory,’ the name of the bill is GIVE (Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act). Isn’t ‘mandatory volunteerism’ an oxymoron?

If there was ever a time for homeschoolers, as busy as we are, to pay close attention to the quickly changing agenda of our government, it’s now.

Learn more from:

San Francisco Examiner

Spectator (UK)

American Thinker

Michelle Malkin

19 thoughts on “Mandatory Service Requirements for Youth

  1. It’s amazing how much the gov’t is doing WRONG lately with the right intent, isn’t it? I mean, how RIGHT is it to seek after greater unity and love in our world… but forcing it is the Deceiver’s way, NOT the Lord’s. It’s so frustrating to me to see (and feel) that these leaders, who I really feel are trying to do some good, are being hoodwinked and bamboozled!!

  2. I have been watching this one too. I e-mailed my Senators and have yet to get a response but I see that they both voted for it yesterday. (blasted Wisconsin Democrats!)

    I have been wondering lately, with all the “changes” going on – what if a person practiced civil disobedience? What if I refused to allow my children to participate in a mandatory service requirement? What if I continued to sell my produce and eggs from my front yard? (HR 875 – Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009) What if I refused to register my firearms? (HR 45 – Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009)

    I suppose I would have to weigh the consequences of that very carefully, but my gut reaction is to just say, “I just won’t do it! I will not let them infringe on my rights without a fight.” What hope would I have of winning?

    I have already warned my husband that if they come after homeschoolers next, I will go to jail before I would send my kids to school. And it’s not that I have a huge problem with public schools, it’s just that it should be every parents’ decision and the government should stay out of it. I feel so strongly about that, I may just be looking at the world through iron bars in the future! 🙂

  3. We already have this kind of mandatory social service in Germany. Every boy refusing to serve in the army (e.g. for religious reasons) may be forced to do some barely paid for social service in hospitals etc. An abolition of military draft here would cause enormous need of cheap labor in the health care sector.

  4. Kinda takes all the fun out of volunteering and giving, doesn’t it?

    Thanks for finding this, Barbara. I can’t keep up with all this legislating. I did see that IL has a bill mandating community service to graduate. Wrote some about it on my blog.

    Thanks for all you do with your watchful eye!

  5. Pingback: Carnival of Homeschooling- The Spring Fever Edition | Janice Campbell

  6. This is just the start; They took the terminology out of HR 1388 and made it easy to pass and have now reintroduce the terminology in a new bill that is currently in status to be voted on.

    The new bill is HR 1444 and THAT is the one to really watch out for; Basically, HR 1388 goes through the front door, people think, how nice and there is nothing wrong with it, while HR 1444 goes through the backdoor.

    Don’t stay focus on one hand; Watch what the other hand is doing when it doesn’t think you are looking.

    There are so many bills being push so fast that it’s hard to keep up and the scary thing is that this makes it easy for things to slip through

  7. Isn’t this the same kind of crap they started with in Nazi Germany? If not, I apologize to any Germans out there that may be reading this, but I think you get my drift. This kind of legislation is the kind that gets people out demonstrating. Yuck!

  8. Oh, it is awful isn’t it. Even to ask the question — if this could be done in a way that strengthens the country — is just outrageous. How dare they? I mean, bringing people together? Overcoming civic challenges? How can they even talk about things like this?

  9. Tori, the speed at which our govt. is legislating lately is amazing….and makes one wonder why they must vote on bills in such a hurry, with no time to read them first (as many have admitted).

    Jules, it’s just a matter of time before homeschoolers come under fire. You’re wise to think ahead about how you’ll react. We’re doing the same thing.

    Robert, thanks for weighing in. Interesting that the military draft has been tied in with healthcare there.

    Susan, keeping an eye on Illinois is a job-and-a-half these days, and you do it so well!

    CH, thanks for the heads-up about the new bill. Keeping up with all this new legislation is becoming a full-time job, isn’t it?

    Sarah, the demonstrations are already occurring, with more planned in all states. Check out http://taxdayteaparty.com/

    Lydia, I’m not arguing with the stated goals, only the method planned to enforce them. Mandatory volunteerism….you don’t get the irony in that? And in a free country, mandatory anything is not something you rush through Congress. You need to read Susan’s (three commenters up) excellent response to this: http://www.eduwrit.com/blog/?p=1299

    Thanks, everyone, for weighing in.

  10. Barbara,
    You make a great point that this is something that homeschoolers should watch very very very carefully.

    Part of the language in both bills, well, bill and soon to be law (HR 1388) contains information about mandatory curriculum in the schools and requirement in the public sector to participate to graduate.

    This can affect homeschoolers in states that oversee both homeschooling and public education and can make this a requirement for homeschoolers to participate if their kids want to graduate and when it becomes mandatory curriculum, this could become a part of requirement for homeschoolers.

    The troubling factor starting with 1388 is there are provisions that while participating (they are talking 3 month stint or summer camp), the kids can not participate in political organizations (THAT is an irony too since it’s political to start off with) or religious organizations while volunteering and there are no exemptions.

    You can read the rest here but here is some of it:

    SEC. 125. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES AND INELIGIBLE ORGANIZATIONS.

    `(a) Prohibited Activities- A participant in an approved national service position under this subtitle may not engage in the following activities:

    `(1) Attempting to influence legislation.
    `(2) Organizing or engaging in protests, petitions, boycotts, or strikes.
    `(3) Assisting, promoting, or deterring union organizing.

    `(4) Impairing existing contracts for services or collective bargaining agreements.

    `(5) Engaging in partisan political activities, or other activities designed to influence the outcome of an election to any public office.
    `(6) Participating in, or endorsing, events or activities that are likely to include advocacy for or against political parties, political platforms, political candidates, proposed legislation, or elected officials.
    `(7) Engaging in religious instruction,

    conducting worship services

    , providing instruction as part of a program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship, constructing or operating facilities devoted to religious instruction or worship, maintaining facilities primarily or inherently devoted to religious instruction or worship, or engaging in any form of religious proselytization.

    `(8) Providing a direct benefit to–

    `(A) a business organized for profit;

    `(B) a labor organization;

    `(C) a partisan political organization;

    `(D) a nonprofit organization that fails to comply with the restrictions contained in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 except that nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent participants from engaging in advocacy activities undertaken at their own initiative; and

    `(E) an organization engaged in the religious activities described in paragraph (7), unless Corporation assistance is not used to support those religious activities.

    Sneaky sneaky.

    For people who shrug their shoulders and go..how is that so bad…well, first off…mandatory volunteerism…Uhm…that makes no sense.

    Second, if the government will be paying volunteers, that really isn’t volunteer…that’s a government job, which makes them…federal employees thus yes, they can push the no religious organization.

    Finally, America is great because we have a big heart and we like to give; Not only will this hurt with charities since you can’t just say, “I’ll volunteer at my church, etc.” but can only volunteer what the government says you can volunteer at, so this will hurt charities and even non-profit in that funding, yep…goes to the government, nice way to sneak around and then there are the kids…

    Is forcing them to volunteer really going to teach them to volunteer? There was something that was called the draft at one time and that didn’t convince people to join the military.

    Just like parents know you can’t get a child to love brussel sprouts by force…force volunteering isn’t really going to get a child to love volunteering so essential..this bill real purpose…is well..as Sarah puts it..is what the Soviets and Germans and even Cubans (yes they have their own youth organization that all youths at the impressionable age of 13 HAVE to join or they come to the parents house to get them).

    Barbara, my apologies for the long comment; This is a major concern for anyone who is a parent and/or homeschooler as well.

    Like you said…this will open the door to legislating homeschoolers. The MAIN reason homeschooling is outlawed in Germany goes back to Hitler.

    He actually was the one who made it against the law to homeschool to ensure kids not only went to public schools but wouldparticipate in the youth programs as well because “youth programs” was a natural part of public schools so parents couldn’t say no.

    For some reason, after the war, that was something the Germans never “got around” to amending the law or removing it from the books.

  11. Hey good stuff…keep up the good work! I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,)

    A definite great read…:)

    -Bill-Bartmann

  12. Im sure many of you are like me and one of the first things you do in the morning is head here and check out the new post. Along with seeing the new posts, I’m also always checking out the blog roll rss feed and watching them grow, or shrink sometimes. In one of my past …but all in all excellent site. Keep it up!

  13. I find it ignorant to compare mandatory military or civil service to communism, nazism, etc. Most modern free nations have a requirement that it’s citizens serve for a very short period in some form of federal service. This is how you offset costs and enable your nation to provide a high level of public services. Example: I am 100% against the current concept of national health care in the USA, because we simply can’t afford it. HOWEVER, if we had mandatory federal service as most nations do, maybe we could come close to having universal health care in our nation.

    As a nation, we (citizens of the USA) are bleeding out blindly.. we pay an obscene amount of money for health care, defense spending, and what few public services we have. Someone mentioned Germany, which is a good case in point – Germans today enjoy all the freedoms we have (if not more in some cases), they have a democracy, a powerful national health care system, a federal transportation system that makes travel convenient for everyone, a modern military force, and nobody goes bankrupt paying tuition to send their kids to a university – because it’s free. Their approach I’m sure has room for improvements, nobody claims to have the perfect solution.. but perhaps it’s a good model to use as a blueprint.

    Telling America’s youth that they need to spend a couple of years serving their nation for a lifetime of benefits they will reap as a citizen makes perfect sense. The problem is, we currently don’t have the same level of benefits to provide our citizens as most modern free nations. I have a hard time voting for mandatory federal service in the United States unless there was also a blueprint in place to move towards levaraging any efficiencies gained by also implementing free higher education, as well as a national health care plan. These should not be treated separately – the question of serving your country should not be a question, it should be expected, and mandatory – but also we need to include health care, transportation and higher education as a part of the solution instead of as separate challenges.

    The fact that so many people instantly think of communism/socialism/nazism when talking about national health care or mandatory federal service is proof in itself that we ALSO need access to higher education for all of our citizens.

    How many of your lives would be different today if your access to a good University was not a question of cost? Would you take that opportunity to better yourself? Today we enjoy a volunteer military – the same is mostly true for Germany, they have many soldiers who end up making a good living and building a long career out of the military… but the lower ranks, the lower skilled positions are from the entry level personnel – those who are fulfilling an obligation they have to their country. Those who do not wish to join the ranks of the military – can opt for civil service, and they fill in the entry level positions in the health care sector, and although I’m not sure of this – probably other areas as well (local governments and universities perhaps?). Our volunteer military is really filled in the spirit of volunteerism – we have to bribe our youth to serve, with promises of huge enlistment bonuses for the lower skilled positions such as an infantryman. Where else would you pay a high skilled position little to no bonus, and low skilled positions a 50 to 100 thousand dollar bonus? That’s not volunteerism, its a carrot on the end of a stick. I’m sure many though did volunteer for the right reasons – but we should not have to bribe the rest – we should offer our own citizens a higher quality of life, and in exchange for those benefits, we should expect some form of service to the nation.. either military or civil service.

    Just my humble opinion, I’m sure it will enrage most of the folks who posted on this blog… but I’ve lived as an American overseas and have seen to many places that enjoy full freedom, and have free education, free healthcare, and I realized – it’s not free… their citizens pay for it through taxes (but not really any more than what we pay) BUT they also pay for it by serving their countries. I am a proud American, and I have served my country – but my pride doesn’t blind me to the fact that we have a lot to learn from other nations… we have a lot to learn about providing a better public infrastructure for our own people. And it saddens me to see so many uneducated masses living off government handouts, our high crime rates, people worried about the costs of healthcare, people not going to a university because it costs too much money. It’s embarrassing that our own ignorance is the major stumbling block to overcoming these challenges.

  14. Well, emitchell, if your opinion was truly humble as you claim, you wouldn’t begin by accusing dissenters of being ignorant.

    Regardless, the point is that the goodies you describe only come about by restricting the freedom of the citizens. Our country was founded with the intent of liberty for everyone. People who want to be truly free value their liberty over any services they can obtain from their government (which necessarily have a price that restricts freedom). I would much prefer to live simply than to be tied to a job so I can finance all the freebies other citizens want.

    TANSTAAFL!

    PS Have you considered moving to one of the countries you admire so? 🙂

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