TED Conversations

Erik Richardson

Teacher, Richardson Ideaworks, Inc.

TEDCRED 500+

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Let's have mandatory military service in the U.S.

Our educational system is turning out citizens who don't understand the military well enough to make informed voting decisions, who don't have meaningful job skills, who have no sense of duty or service, and who have never been a part of something larger than themselves in a meaningful way. A required stint of military service could provide an immersion experience that would help to overcome all of those.

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Closing Statement from Erik Richardson

I think this is an interesting debate, as far as it goes, but I also learned a valuable lesson about whether TED discussions have enough diversity of perspectives—both to figure out what ends are worth accomplishing and to map out a way to better accomplish those ends.

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  • May 10 2011: "Our educational system is turning out citizens who don't understand the military well enough to make informed voting decisions, who don't have meaningful job skills, who have no sense of duty or service, and who have never been a part of something larger than themselves in a meaningful way."

    I think the answer to your discontent lies in reshaping or fine-tuning America's public education system then. Mandatory military service may be one solution, but I hardly think it would be the most optimal. Besides - and you can correct me if I'm wrong - I don't think it would be constitutional let alone affordable.

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