Work Study to Help America
Bush shoudl pass McCain and Bayh's bill to increase student public service programs
On Nov. 9, Bush publicly endorsed McCain and Bayh’s proposal, indicating that perhaps the president has begun to think more broadly about the role of the American public in the current conflict. We hope that Bush ushers this bill through Congress, throwing his Presidential weight behind the project. Yet Bush should not limit himself to the vision of using volunteers to assist solely in civil defense—McCain and Bayh set out a much bolder vision for public service in the future that extends beyond our nation’s borders.
The American public has wondered since Sept. 11 what it can do to assist in the war effort and to help strengthen the nation. Although Bush has urged Americans back to work, it has become clear that Americans will do much more than merely donate blood and money. Today’s Americans are happy to serve their country in numerous ways all around the world. In the honored tradition of the Peace Corps, begun under President John F. Kennedy ‘40, a former Crimson editor, Americans are called today to better serve their country and their kind..
One aspect of the Bayh and McCain proposal that Harvard students should especially welcome is the expansion of funds for federal work study, particularly work study that allows students to do community service instead of low-skilled jobs. In their opinion piece, Bayh and McCain chastise universities for using federal work study to pay students in low-skilled jobs, the equivalent of using work study to subsidize universities. While there is no evidence of this type of abuse at Harvard, we hope that students participating in work study will be able to take jobs that benefit the communities they live in, as opposed to filling the positions universities find vacant.
It was refreshing to hear such a proposal from two senators known for their cooperation across party lines give such a passionate vision of public service in America. It is our hope that their bill is passed by Congress in a timely manner, so that students all over the country can begin to take meaningful action to aid the nation in its time of crisis.