Should students have a certain number of service hours in order to graduate high school?does a student need to have service hours under their belt in order to graduate from high school or should...

Should students have a certain number of service hours in order to graduate high school?

does a student need to have service hours under their belt in order to graduate from high school or should they be able to graduate without the service hours? i believe they should have 15 hours of sevrice under their belt for a couple reasons. i believe that if they didn't have any under there belt, then they wouldn't be prepared for a job durring college or in the the world as an adult.

Expert Answers
wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator
In my state, lawmakers have been attempting to create such a graduation requirement. It will eventually be part of a senior project that will be required for graduation. Students will have to complete a set number of service hours in a field of their choice. The idea is to give students a taste of whatever career they might be hoping to be a part of. It helps students see if this is really what they want to do in life before they begin the career or college courses moving towards said career. I think it is a great idea. Many college freshmen and high school graduates find that the career they thought they wanted is not really for them. It could be very helpful for students to have some experience in the area and then make an informed decision before they have invest time or money in something that isn't what they thought it would be.
Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I support this requirement, not just from a personal belief in the value of service to others, but in the belief that service hours expand students' education. In performing community service, high school students develop their skills in communication and team work. They have opportunities in moving beyond the classroom to see "how the world works" and to observe for themselves some important cause/effect relationships. Their contributions and achievements are recognized and valued with more than grades on a transcript. Depending upon the nature of their community service hours, students may become familiar with vocations they had never considered for themselves; they may discover new career paths. Community service hours add important dimensions to the process of education--real-world and hands-on experiences.

belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

No. A student should choose his or her after-school activities without pressure from the school. If the student wants to work at a job and earn money instead of volunteering, that is their choice. A work ethic comes from actual voluntary work, not from pressure. If a student wants to sit and play games all day, it's the responsibility of the parents to make changes, not the school.

If a student wants to volunteer, they should be allowed to use that time as some sort of credit, but they should not get similar credit for an actual job; the earned money is the "credit" in that case.

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I can see and sympathize with both of the basic positions expressed above.  I agree that forcing people to volunteer for service seems self-contradictory. On the other hand, I can see the value of requiring students to "give back" to their communities in some way.  As long as students have a chance to choose the kinds of service they would like to perform, I would have no major problem with requiring them to give a reasonable amount of time to community service. I suspect that most of them would actually enjoy such service. Both they and society at large might benefit from such service.

megan-bright eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Students should not have to have service hours to graduate. The system is already having a problem getting students to be motivated enough and focused enough on academics. Helping others great, but that should come from the students' heart and should not be some requirement by the system. If community service is a requirement, rather than a personal choice, the real purpose of community service will be lost in the shuffle and this will not benefit the students nor th people they are supposedly helping.


missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the effort to teach students that they can feel reward from giving of themselves to others is great. However, when a person learns to volunteer on their own I think the effort is certainly much more sincere. I know plenty of students who do community service just to have a line item on a college application or just to make their graduation requirement. Maybe forced service is a good thing just to learn about it, but it certainly isn't always sincere.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My step-daughter's school required a minimum of service hours to be met before a diploma was awarded. She accomplished her minimum during her junior year and added more hours before graduation. Some students were quite competitive in this regard. I think it's a great idea. It teaches the benefits of volunteer work, of giving assistance to people who are in need, and it serves as a little reminder to many students that things are not always all about them.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have always thought that the idea of required volunteerism is an oxymoron.  People do not learn to want to volunteer by being forced to do so.  Volunteerism is something that should be taught by families, by churches, and by Girl Scouts, not by public schools.  By forcing students to "volunteer" we probably turn a number of them off of the whole idea.  When forced to do things, teens often rebel.  I think it's hypocritical and counterproductive.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I do think community service is important. The 15 hours you suggest seems like a reasonable amount. However, the real value of community service is in doing it for the benefit of whoever is receiving the service, and for feeling good about yourself from helping others.
Wiggin42 | Student

Most high school students may not think of doing volunteer work. Having a small requirement forces students to seek out places in their community. I know I'm personally very glad that my school had required hours. I worked in a nursing home and I'm grateful for that experience--which I would never have had otherwise.