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Should the United States require a year of national service?

The U.S. Constitution is based upon the freedom to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." At the same time, volunteerism and service for the benefit of society are deemed worthwhile pursuits for people young and old. Prominent lawmakers and activists say that mandatory national service will strengthen our communities and increase young people’s pride for their country while academics and others state that practical implementation issues prevent this from becoming a reality. In this polarized country, will a year of compulsory national service unite people from different stations of life?

investigate

Federal Panel Considering Recommendations For Mandatory National Service

Additional resources to think about

Should Young Americans Be Required To Do Public Service? Federal Panel Says Maybe
A federal panel is working on an answer to the question: In a country of more than 329 million people, should the U.S. require its citizens to perform public service?

Mandatory National Service
Two university faculty members discuss the possibilities of uniting Americans across the divide with mandatory national service.

Why We Should Expand National Service, Not Eliminate It
An executive tells the story of a small federal program and its impact upon communities.

THE DRAFT | The Selective Service Act
The Selective service Act of 1917 set up the structure of the conscription system as it exists today. This is the root of mandatory national service.

The Case for National Service
A series on the impact of national service programs like the Peace Corps on individuals and nations.

As US marks 9/11 with national service, here's how other countries do national service
This article from PRI's The World explores the many ways that countries around the world ask their citizens to step up and do their part for their country and community.

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Who created this message?

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  • What are the various elements (building blocks) that make up the whole?

 

What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?

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  • What’s the emotional appeal?
  • What makes it seem “real?”
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How might different people understand this message differently from me?

  • How many other interpretations could there be?
  • How could we hear about them?
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What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message?

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  • How would you find what’s missing?
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Why is this message being sent?

  • What's being sold in this message? What's being told? 
  • Who is served by or  benefits from the message
    – the public?
    – private interests?
    – individuals?
    – institutions?

5 Key Questions of Media Literacy used with permission from the Center for Media Literacy.
Copyright 2002-2021, Center for Media Literacy, www.medialit.com

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