Senate to high schools: Think about community service

The House wants a requirement that students perform community service to graduate.
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The House wants a requirement that students perform community service to graduate.

The state Senate has revised a plan to require high school students to perform community service prior to graduation. The Senate version is much closer to saying, "Gee, it would be nice if  pupils did community service."

Last month, the Washington House passed a bill 92-6 to have schools set up their individual requirements for students to perform community service as a graduation requirement.

On Wednesday with almost no discussion, the Senate passed 46-1 a revamped version of the bill — changed by the Senate K-12 Education Committee — that would require school districts to adopt policies that encourage students to perform community service. The districts would also have to provide some sort of incentive for students to engage in service, but there is no requirement to link graduation to community service.

That sets up the need for the House and Senate to negotiate a compromise between their two versions of the measure. 

At least 20 Washington school districts currently require students to perform 10 to 100 hours of community service in order to graduate. The House bill would make community service mandatory for graduation starting in 2017. The bill allow individual school districts to define what "community service " is, how many hours should be logged and how those hours are tracked.

For exclusive coverage of the state Legislature, check out Crosscut's Olympia 2013 page.


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About the Authors & Contributors

John Stang

John Stang

John Stang is a freelance writer who often covers state government and the environment. He can be reached on email at and on Twitter at @johnstang_8