Teaching the responsibilities of citizenship used to be high on the list of what schools did. Over the decades, however, that objective lost favor. Some reformers argue that re-instituting conscription is a way of bringing it back (“How to make up for what schools have stopped doing,” New York Post, May 12).
I have the greatest respect for the military and the sacrifices the men and women make for the country. Those who serve most certainly value patriotism. But I submit that the military is not the only way of teaching young people individual responsibility. I have in mind now an updated version of the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was one of the most popular programs of the New Deal.
Those who participated quickly learned lessons about hard work and civic duty by constructing roads and buildings. During the great Depression, the money earned and the meals received were welcome. But equally important was the sense of making a contribution to the country. I think a new CCC would be a more realistic way of doing what schools are supposed to do, but too often aren’t. It’s certainly worth a try.
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