College Gives Credit for Obama Campaign Volunteers, None for McCain

By: Warner Todd Huston

Is our children learning? It seems they are learning at least one thing; their college supports Barack Obama. Students at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, are being presented with a new opportunity to indulge in what is being called a “gap year.” An idea popular in Europe, the “gap year” is a year taken off from studies between high school and the first year of college. That year is supposedly spent traveling or doing volunteer work. To regulate this, the college gives credit to the students for approved “gap year” activities, one of which is volunteering for the Barack Obama presidential campaign. No mention of allowing the same benefit for a volunteer to John McCain’s campaign is made, naturally.

Projects of the past year and the coming fall include study in Florence, Italy, and London, volunteer work on Barack Obama’s campaign, travel to Israel, and a mountaineering course. The school stays in contact with the students during the fall, helping them maintain ties to the college, register for classes, and hosts a special orientation for them before the spring semester begins.

To explain what this time wasting “gap year” is, an article from the Patriot-News reports that Europeans love this concept. The paper says that, “…slowly but surely, an old standard in European education is starting to catch on across the United States, giving some college-bound students an opportunity to catch their breath.”

Popular throughout Europe, gap years allow students the chance to defer their admission to university, and take a semester or a year off in between high school and college. With the time off, students travel, undertake volunteer projects abroad, or embark on working holidays. In 2007, 7 percent of university-bound U.K. students opted to take a gap year, according to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Services.

Why American’s would want to emulate any such practice as appears in Europe is beyond me, but it appears that some students would rather sit around and do nothing, wasting valuable time, instead of starting the next leg of their education as soon as possible.

But, I guess neither this lazy practice, nor the undue focus on Obama’s campaign, should surprise anyone where it comes to Franklin & Mashall college. If the attitude of Kabi Hartman, an advisor at the college, is any indication, American ideals aren’t something that motivates them.

“We’re more isolated, and we may not value learning other languages and cultures in the same way,” she said. “We have two weeks vacation here; over in Europe, they have six.”

Naturally, this “advisor” imagines American ways to be “isolated” and backward. And, laziness is on the menu as this woman advocates for more vacation time… and it being mandated by government, too, obviously, since that is what occurs in many places in Europe.

Oh, they are all about the need for “reflection,” easy “transitioning,” and taking “a break.” But, I wonder what they are taking a break from? Our high schools aren’t teaching much of anything anyway. What is so hard about their high school regimen that they need a break?

In fact, we are teaching so little to our high school kids that many colleges are finding that they need to institute remedial classes for incoming freshmen so that they are even able to understand the college classes they are signing up for. We fail to teach math, science, English skills, writing and history nearly across the board, so our kids aren’t being taxed very much as it is.

What could they POSSIBLY need a break from?

So, not only are we failing our children in high school, NOW we are teaching them that they deserve a break from the nothing that is their high school “education”! On top of that we are telling them that working for Obama is good for college credit but not bothering with the Republican side of the aisle. Not too partisan there, eh?

No wonder our schools are universally worthless.

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