Good for the State Board of Education. That panel, which in the past has meekly knuckled under to pressure from school boards, local school superintendents and from the state
teachers' union, this week made Maryland the first state in the nation to require community service for high school graduation.
The prospects are quite intriguing. Beginning with the freshman class of 1993-94, students in Maryland will be required to complete 75 hours of work in their communities. They could be tutoring other students, working in nursing homes, homeless shelters or senior centers, spending time with environmental groups.
The new requirement acknowledges that there is more to what we call "education" than sitting at a desk in a classroom. The state hopes to engender a life-long commitment to citizenship among its students, and we suspect that many of them will be more turned on by community service than by standard high school instruction in civics. Students also ought to graduate with a better understanding of what it means to be responsible for others. It is an understanding that isn't tested on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, but it is one any former Peace Corps volunteer can tell you about.