Saturday, January 17th 2009, 8:49 PM
City Councilman Eric Gioia is calling on Schools Chancellor Joel Klein to make community service a requirement for graduation.
City high school students would need to complete 20 hours of volunteer work to earn a diploma under Gioia’s plan, which he will release today.
“The service requirement would invest high school students with a spirit of volunteerism and the knowledge that they can make a measurable difference in their neighborhoods and the world,” said Gioia (D-Queens).
Activities could range from cleaning parks to serving on a neighborhood revitalization board, he said.
Several cities across the country – including Seattle, Chicago and Washington – require community service for high school graduation.
New York State allows local school boards to set up additional graduation requirements, meaning only Klein can create the new rule.
Teens who volunteer have a 22% higher chance of graduating from high school than those who do not, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, a Boston-based nonprofit.
For many years now our local civic group, the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, has been presenting Annual Community Service Awards to students of P.S. 169. The recipients who are selected by their teachers are presented with a Certificate of Merit and a U.S. Savings Bond in recognition of their outstanding achievements.