TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

What if joining the Peace/Ameri Corps was mandatory in public schools in the United States following graduation of high school?

Joining the Peace/Ameri Corps is not only a form of charity, but an educating experience in itself; one that is beyond something that can be taught in books or anything teachable in a classroom. The lessons and knowledge gained through the volunteer programs help provide and educate a new prospective to other cultures and ideologies in the world. What if it were mandatory to join one of these volunteer programs (Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) for a certain amount of time upon graduating high school? What would be the benefits/drawbacks? Could this ultimately effect the skewed public educational system in the United States and the non-progressive standard path taken by high school graduates?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jul 1 2013: I fear for the future of America if this is a serious question, as well... responses.

    Mandatory service as a condition of citizenship.... and I thought Obamacare was going too far.

    I get it, everybody wants to fix the world... and being guilty myself of making outlandish statements under the guise of utopian progressivism, I'm not trying to bash anybody. But sometimes, things are taken too far...

    1. You really want to take individuals from educational opportunities that are more suited for their individual interests?

    2. What if someone doesn't want to join? Is there a fine, in return allowing those with enough money to buy their way out of joining? It would then be criminal not to join, and considering the resistance that there would be, do we then round up people and put them behind bars because they wont participate?

    3. 'non-progressive standard path taken by high school graduates'... ?

    From experience, nothing is worse than a 18-21 year old progressive individual. There's no sense of reality, there's no real experience behind their positions on issues. They're still very impressionable and just become tools for other people. They aren't the directors, they are the puppets canvassing neighborhoods supporting things they truly know little about, I've been there and learned quickly the ridiculousness of 'how things work'.

    Being exposed to different cultures and ideologies certainly has its benefits, but this isn't something we should be 'forcing' people to experience. Instead, we should allow individuals to become themselves with appropriate guidance.

    If you don't mind me asking, what influenced this line of questions regarding the impact of forcing people to join Peace/Ameri Corps? What main issues are you addressing? For I believe there are multiple other routes to be taken when solving them, before suggesting that people are forced into participating in a government sponsored initiative.
    • thumb
      Jul 28 2013: " What main issues are you addressing?"

      I can't speak for Tyler, who seems to not have joined in so far, but let's see:

      A common American notion is that we (i.e., Americans) have developed the world's greatest society, and that the model for such an ideal society is just a group of individualists in the same place, competing against each other. If we're occupied with one thing it's our individual RIGHTS. What we seem to have forgotten is that the human species has survived and developed as groups. It is the group - the society - that has developed the laws and the organization that have given individuals their rights, and that protect those rights.

      It's very American to think that while the society owes us protection of our individual rights, the individual does not owe society anything. But this is, in the long run, an irresponsible and unsustainable idea. The members of a society whose rights are protected owe thereby a DUTY to that society.

      I would say that the issue being addressed is how to return a sense of duty and responsibility to our youth. In our otherwise rather unregulated society (and I personally like the freedom that comes with minimal regulation) a period of public service is the perfect vehicle for developing responsibility. When it is known that everyone must participate in such service, with some flexibility the service can be scheduled to best suit the individual. I believe that young people would come out of such a term of service with greater maturity and greater understanding and empathy for society's challenges.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.