Md. to study community service programs at high schools

June 22, 2000|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

State educators announced plans yesterday for a yearlong review of what students are doing to fulfill the community service required for high school graduation.

The study - which will include the appointment of a task force in September - was prompted by growing concerns about the quality and consistency of the community service programs.

"This is going to be a meaningful review," said Luke Frazier, director of the Maryland Student Service Alliance, the branch of the Maryland State Department of Education that oversees the program. "Students should be learning why community service is meaningful and why they should be participating."

In 1992, Maryland became the first state in the country to require students to perform community service to earn their high school diplomas. The requirement is for all students to perform 75 hours.

But there have been reports of huge variations in what local school systems require of students.

Some require students actually work that number of hours for the community, but others build the community service into the curriculum - giving students credit for activities such as writing letters in class to politicians about the environment.

The task force will visit all 24 school systems and review what students are required to do, reporting back to the state school board by next May, Frazier said.

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