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With the passage of the National and Community Service Act of 1990, the 101st Congress culminated decades of proposals and debate on the importance of community service -especially by young Americans -to the common or public good.1 The renewal of the "ethic of civic responsibility in the United States" is foremost among the purposes of the legislation. Although the act functions practically to generate and to fund new projects that promote national and community service, its passage also underscores an important moral purpose for student service within a democracy, namely. to develop social responsibility in the young. For schools and school systems ignoring community service in their educational missions, the act signals the importance of providing service opportunities for students as a means of educating them for citizenship. Where community service programs currently exist. the act suggests the importance of evaluating them for their efficacy in promoting civic or social responsibility. While public school education is a central focus. the act also emphasizes the community service participation of private schools. including their teachers and students.


Copyright 1994 Helen Marie Marks

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