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The practical value of community service in school

To the editor: Because of our need to "test" everything and our great concern for "accountability," we lose the flexibility and appeal that motivate individuals to participate in learning activities such as community service. ("Gauging value of colleges' community service programs can be tough," March 11)

More than 20 years ago, at Cal Poly Pomona, where I was a home economics educator, I taught a three-unit class called Management of Human Resources (two lectures and one three-hour lab). Students performed three hours of volunteer service in any community setting of their choice. The diversity of choices and students' reports of their experiences made this class a valuable learning activity. Most students continued working in their community activity even after the quarter was over or stayed active in volunteer community service in other areas.

As evidence that learning had taken place, the students' behavior forever changed.

Ruby L. Trow, Whittier

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