The National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service have made their final recommendation to Congress to advance military and non-military national service in the United States in the report Inspired to Serve. The report outlines a challenge to the Nation that by 2031, the 70th anniversary of President Kennedy’s call for Americans to serve their Nation—“Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country, ”— that 5 million Americans will begin participating in military, national, or public service each year.
To that end, NYLC fully endorses the recommendations of the Commission to advance K-12 service-learning and civic education through the creation of a civic education fund and a service-learning fund. We call on Congress to invest in our Nation’s youth so that they become civically informed and engaged citizens by participating in service-learning and civic education during their formative years.
To achieve this goal, the United States must make a concerted effort to prioritize robust civic education and academically relevant, high-quality service-learning at all levels of education including kindergarten to 12th grade. The Commission’s report calls on Congress and the President to bolster the Federal investment in civic education and service-learning by appropriating $450 million each year to civic education and service-learning funds.
In addition, the Federal Government will recognize both as national priorities and will lay the foundation to ensure that students at all levels have access to high-quality civic education and service-learning opportunities. The realization of this vision will mean that every individual will be exposed to service opportunities throughout their lifetime, beginning with young people experiencing robust civic education and service-learning during elementary, middle, and high school.
The National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) has been at the forefront of the K-12 service-learning movement for more than 36 years. We know that the future of our democracy depends on our collective ability to create informed and engaged citizens by ensuring an excellent education foundation that includes robust civic education and service-learning. In a democratic society, the educational opportunities we provide students must not only help them learn core subject matter but must prepare them to be civically informed and engaged citizens. The benefits to service-learning are proven to provide young people with the knowledge, skills, and character to embrace the democratic practices needed to support the health and security of our democracy.
Additional information about the report will be shared at the 31st Annual National Service-Learning Conference Virtual Experience on April 17th at 4:00 p.m. CST. Commissioner Thomas Kilgannon will present findings from the report and answer questions from conference participants. Questions may be submitted ahead of time to firstname.lastname@example.org.