Thousands of high school students across the nation perform some form of community service everyday. They tutor younger students, care for elderly people, assist physically challenged peers and aid in local government offices. Students involved in these projects openly testify to the many benefits possible from service learning activities. Recent qualitative studies also indicate that students gain a greater sense of self, increase their concern for fellow human beings, demonstrate better problem solving abilities, and integrate classroom learning more readily with real-world needs (Conrad and Hedin, 1982). Former Maryland State Superintendent David Hornbeck so firmly believed in the power and effectiveness of engaging students in meaningful service to their communities that he recommended service learning as a state-wide mandatory requirement for high school graduation. In July of 1992, Maryland's State Board of Education followed this recommendation and mandated 75 hours of student service before graduation. This action sparked a great deal of public debate across the country. From formal meetings, such as the National Service Learning Conference held in Albuquerque just last month, to informal lunchroom discussions, teachers across the nation are debating the question: Should high schools require a service learning component for graduation?
Skelton, Elizabeth Anne, "Service Learning Requirements in the High School" (1994). School K-12. 8.