State News

Bill would require undergrads to mentor

Posted June 4, 2008

— The sole sponsor of a bill to require students enrolled at the state’s private and public colleges to mentor school-age children in order to receive a bachelor’s degree describes the program as a “domestic peace corps for education.”

Sen. Tony Rand, D-Cumberland, named the proposed community service program in memory of two college students who were shot to death earlier this year – Eve Carson, the student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Abhijit Mahato, a Duke University graduate student.

“Society invests a huge amount of money in our young people in our universities. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say you ought to give a little back,” Rand said Wednesday.

The bill, filed last week, would require any student seeking a bachelor's degree to spend 20 hours per semester mentoring and tutoring a public school-age child. The bill doesn't specify for how many semesters the mentoring would be required.

The requirement would apply to private schools because it would be linked to grants that these colleges already receive from the state to help teach students who live in North Carolina.

“It would be a greater tragedy if something doesn’t come out of this and focus attention on what we can do to help our young people,” Rand said.

Laurence Lovette, who is charged with murder in both the slayings of Carson and Mahato, and Demario Atwater, who is accused in Carson's death, were both high school dropouts.

Rep. Paul Stam, D-Wake County, thinks the bill is unfeasible.

“We cannot inflict a 19-year-old with problems as a tutor for a 13-year-old,” Stam said.

Critics of the bill also have logistical concerns since the bill does not provide administrative funding or money for student transportation, if schools are not within walking distance of campus. The bill does set aside $230,000 next year to local school districts to coordinate with the program.

“This is just not appropriate for General Assembly to micromanage the universities,” Stam said.

Rand said he has spoken with university and college officials, including UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke, about the best way to implement this type of program. He said he is open to including more funding in the bill if college and university officials say it is necessary.

Andrew Berry, a junior at UNC, likes the idea of community service, but is not in favor of it as a graduation requirement.

“I don’t think you should have to be told what kind of community service you want to do,” Berry said.

Berry, who juggles a part-time job and volunteers at UNC Children’s Hospital, thinks a bill forcing people to do community service may not be the right idea.

“If you force somebody to do it, their hearts aren’t going to be into it,” Berry said.

Rand acknowledges details still need to be worked out, but feels the overall goal of mandating community service would greatly benefit society and should be worthy of consideration.

If approved, the bill would apply to incoming freshmen who would receive a bachelor's degree in 2012 and all students thereafter.

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  • inquistitor Jun 5, 2008

    It takes a politician to come up with an absurd idea to make a name for him/herself then dump it on someone else to make it happen. This requirement is likely an effort to get more staff in schools without pay.

    I do not hink this person even considered the effect that would have on the number of non-traditional students or young students with children who are trying to complete their education....when do they have 20 hours per week to put into mentoring another child when they are struggling to take care of their own?

  • TheAdmiral Jun 5, 2008

    "Speaking as a teacher, the schools cannot do this,"

    First of all, the schools CAN do this - they just won't. They are more interested in pushing Political Correctness down the throats of the kids than teaching them the skills they will need to go into society.

    Second, if ANY teacher says that they can't do it - then they are not a good teacher. I am a Scoutmaster and I get more respect with the kids than you will because I demand it and with 26 scouts - I can teach them anything. I have 122 subjects that I can teach in a shorter period than the school system has to teach THREE. Each kids gets one-on-one attention. Something the school system don't do anymore. Each parent gets to have a conversation with me - anytime they want - something teachers dread.

    So I don't want to hear can't. Because can't in this society of individualistic self-serving whiners is WON'T.

  • TheAdmiral Jun 5, 2008

    "What if the college kid hates being around kids or what if the student resents being forced to mentor and takes it out on the kid"

    This is part of life - getting along with people who you don't like. It is called personal growth - it is a GREAT IDEA.

    You don't get to pick and choose who you sit by in an office - this is an OPPORTUNITY for the kids to learn how to be better people instead of whining, crying, slapme's.

    Definition of a Slapme - in a corporate culture, this is the person who complains about everything and irritates the mess out of people so the first urge when they speak to you is to SLAP THEM.

    Then if that does not work, you ask where their parents live then you make an unannounced visit and SLAP THEM!

  • TheAdmiral Jun 5, 2008

    I think that the parents should be responsible for the education of their children - NOT THE GOVERNMENT.

    However, I think that it in order to bring the community together it would be perfectly suitable to require people to perform community service and tutoring to other people.

    I think if they got into Scouting and performed service hours and held leadership positions that that should count, I also believe that if they created or entered into a service project that leaves a legacy it perfectly suitable as well.

    In any case, I don't think tutoring should be the end.

    I don't like to tell people how to run their life, but as with all other things - if you can't be responsible for yourself - the democrats have a plan for you to be guaranteed poor your entire life. The republicans will put you to work.

  • True Blue American Patriot Jun 5, 2008

    I like for everyone to send me $500 to I can buy lots of beer and cigarettes. Please do it for Eve Carson.

    (This ridiculous plea for cash was inspired by Tony Rand. Thanks Tony! You taught that exploiting the memories of dead people can be profitable and fun.)

  • Tripwire Jun 5, 2008

    I see problems. What if the college kid hates being around kids or what if the student resents being forced to mentor and takes it out on the kid. This is not a good idea.

  • rc4nc Jun 5, 2008

    1. Let's steer our public school officials to ignore/shun parental involvment in their childrens' education. Done.
    2. If we can place a heavy tax burden on them, both parents will have to work outside of the home. Done.
    3. Our children may suffer from neglect? Done.
    4. We need government to fix the problems they created. Not likely.

  • apd475 Jun 4, 2008

    Here's a radical thought. How about their own parents mentor and tutor them? Naw, lets punish student who work full-time jobs to take away from their income to force them to do this. Figures a Fayetteville Democrat would come up with this. And some of these college students now mentoring kids is a big joke. They can't even manage their own lives much less that of a confused kid.

  • MarcoPolo Jun 4, 2008

    The General Assembly is just full of stupidity but this is absolutely insane. Dictating behavior control. We wonder where Meeker gets it. Apparantly once you fall within the beltline, your brain just melts away.

    On a side note, I wonder how many of them have non-profits (most of them) where they are looking for free help?

  • TheLiberalIntellect Jun 4, 2008

    As a NCSU undergrad for the Fall 2008 semester I think I will have enough responsibilities and problems wihtout having to deal with mentoring a young child. I am by no means a "babysitter" and am not the type of person that you would want your child mentored by. I think that a service project for graduation should be considered but NOT mandantory by any means. This is just ridiculous.

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