Thursday, October 18, 2007

Prospectus: U.S. Public Service Academy

Hello everyone! Today I am writing about the proposed bill H.R. 1671 and S. 960. This bill is called the Public Service Academy Act of 2007 and will create the civilian counterpart to the military service academies.

The main purpose of the bill is to construct an undergraduate institution of higher learning devoted to public service. Recent catastrophes like Katrina and 9/11 show how much our nation depends on competent civilian leadership and highlight the importance of public service. Our nation needs a public service academy to train people so they can be prepared when events like these happen.

Americans are convinced that we must improve our capacity not only to deal with future emergencies but also to confront daily challenges both locally and globally. As part of this effort, America must create an undergraduate institution designed to develop a new generation of young leaders dedicated to public service.

The Public Service Academy will bring to fruition George Washington’s dream of a national public university and will provide a service-oriented, leadership-focused education to roughly 5100 undergraduate students.

Modeled on successful military service academies, spots for incoming freshmen will be allocated by the states, following a congressional nomination process. The academic program will be based on civic education, with stringent requirements for summer internships, study abroad, and service learning. Graduates will spend five years serving their nation by working as teachers, police officers, emergency responders, and other critical public service jobs at the local, state, and national levels. Funded as a public-private partnership, the Academy will cost roughly $205 million per year to run.

National security depends on having strong civilian leadership while America faces a growing shortage of public servants and civic leaders at all levels of society. Yet, America does not offer a national undergraduate institution dedicated to developing civilian leaders. Like the military academies, the Public Service Academy will create a campus culture of service that will foster strong bonds among undergraduates committed to the same patriotic goals. With regional diversity, the Academy will be a national college that is economically accessible to all Americans and will be an inspiring symbol of the government’s commitment to public service as essential to America’s vitality.

The Academy will be the defining institution of our generation, foster the patriotic spirit of young people and channel it into public service. It will unify students from every corner of America to one campus to study, serve and lead together. The idea has won broad bipartisan support in Congress and across the nation and is co-sponsored by Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) in the Senate and Christopher Shays (R-CT)and James Moran (D-VA) in the House of Representatives.

If you would like to download a copy of the petition to complete and send to congress, you may do so here.

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