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tv   Policy Governance Studies Experts Discuss National Service  CSPAN  October 17, 2019 5:13am-6:22am EDT

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going to take a ten-minute break now. no more, please. come back because the next panel is going to be very interesting, and the final panel, as we said earlier, is going to be dynamite. so many thanks to all of you. reconvening soon. >> > ..." 30 seconds. 30 seconds particularly and interesting. it's my opportunity to introduce and moderate the
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second panel. let me just begin by introducing myself briefly. i'm bill glass than, a senior fellow in the government studies program, here at brookings. delighted to be a small cargo in the brookings service alliance machine. that is produced this meeting. i want to thank. two people in particular bell sol hill, for conceiving it is day and working tirelessly for the past six months to bring about. to bring it about. and also our president john allen for lending his vast experience and immense moral authority to our enterprise this morning. and i think it's a sign that brookings is spiritually aligned with the national service movement. let me introduce the question this way. if national service is the answer, what's the question? and we have heard and i think will hear three very different
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kinds of answers to that question. it's useful to keep them separate. the first has to do with service as an avenue of personal growth, the expansion and the deepening of character. the second has to do with actual good done for others, service in the root sense. but the third, and this is where the paper by john bridgeland begins, is with our broader civic challenges and with national service as a potential response to those challenges. what are those challenges? well, first of all, a decline of mutual trust among fellow citizens. sort of things that the survey researchers call general social trust. second is a precipitous rise in devicive divisive partisanship. there's a difference between a party system and participate sanship. sometime in the past two generations, we have crossed that line and now find ourselves in a very uncomfortable and unproductive place. and third is what i would call the erosion of the problem-solving mentality. the idea that elected and appointed officials are engaged in a
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common civic enterprise where the problems that the public has identified call out for responses, solutions that the public itself cannot specify, and the job of public service is to turn public ends into public means. i've personally been deeply impressed with the quality of the iraq and afghanistan veterans who have entered public service. they have this problem-solving mentality in spades. one of the questions is whether the national service experience on the civilian side can replicate that kind of we're all in it together in the same foxhole, now how do we find a way to prevail? will that mentality spread? or to put it in very old-fashioned language that goes all the way back to william james, is national service the moral equivalent of war? or is there no moral equivalent of war? well, we have a fantastic panel to help us address these questions. i'll begin to my immediate left
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with john bridgeland, who is the former director of the white house policy council under president george w. bush. currently serves as the vice chair of service year alliance, about which you've already heard and from whom you've already heard. his partner in crime, john, the professor of politics, religion, and civil society, which sort of means you're a professor of everything at the university of pennsylvania. and john also has white house experience as the first director of the white house office of faith-based and community initiatives in 2001, which same foxhole, now how do we find a way to prevail? will that mentality spread? or to put it in very old-fashioned language that goes all the way back to william james, is national service the moral equivalent of war? or is there
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no moral equivalent of war? well, we have a fantastic panel to help us address these questions. i'll begin to my immediate left with john bridgeland, who is the former director of the white house policy council under president george w. bush. currently serves as the vice chair of service year alliance, about which you've already heard and from whom you've already heard. his partner in crime, john, the professor of politics, religion, and civil society, which sort of means you're a professor of everything at the university of pennsylvania. and john also has white house experience as the first director of the white house office of faith-based and community initiatives in 2001, which means that bridge and
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john were colleagues, perhaps a little more briefly than might have been expected, but yes, they were. to their left is tay adams, the director of government relations for the service year alliance, which means she is where the service year hits the political road. that is a very important nexus that she's going to help us explore. and finally, pete, who is currently a vice president and senior fellow at the ethics and public policy center. he also has very substantial white house experience as a speech writer, as the director of strategy, and also i would say as a moral voice, right. very few have reflected more deeply than pete on what it means to
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have a healthy society and what our current ills are and to what they can be traced. and he will offer some reflections from a distinctively conservative and i would add faith-based perspective on national service. so without further ado, john and john are going to jointly present their paper "will america embrace national service? " let me just add one note. i think there's a broad commitment to shared ideals and goals in the room, but we can't get carried away with ourselves. this is brookings, so empirical inquiry matters a lot because it's where we test the feasibility of the ideas that we cherish and may have to change those ideas in some respects as a
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result of what honest inquiry discovers. and this paper, if i may say so, is a model of honest inquiry, and brookings is proud to be associated with it. john? >> good morning, everyone. nice to see a packed house. we need packed houses for national service all across america. i want to thank bill galston, without whom actually americorps, susan stroud, alan casey, a lot of people in the audience, wouldn't have come into existence in a time in the life of the country where president clinton said, you invest in your country, we'll invest in you. it was a galvanizing moment. i want to thank bell. she launched the social genome project and a whole host of initiatives. seems like anything bell gets behind actually happens. so i'm more optimistic about national service now that you're conducting this panel. i want
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to thank john and pete. i had 15 years in public service, greatest years of my life. having the opportunity to serve side by side with john and pete after 9/11 and seeing this emergence from the country of people all over the globe, wanting to make common cause, to make a better country and world together, was really quite extraordinary. when i came in this morning, i met general, congressman, and dr. joseph heck. i said, is that all? he goes, no, actually, i founded the medical reserve corps after 9/11. so that's the model of what we're trying to achieve in america, people who view national service, citizen service as fundamental and foundational. i wasn't going to go into it, but now that joe said that the commission is going to focus on civic education, it just reminds me that the people who founded our country, george washington said when we assume the soldier, we did not lay down the citizen. when jefferson penned this mystical notion of pursuit of
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happy, it wasn't just an individual right. as governor patrick reminded us, it was a cooperative, a collective enterprise that we help one another achieve. i can't be truly happy if i'm not worrying about the happiness of my neighbor and someone who's homeless or vulnerable or worried. it's that spirit, you know, we the people, that really was the foundation of our democracy and the foundation of this country. i think we have to rescue that spirit. so why now? what's the problem we're trying to address? the first panel spoke so eloquently about our civic collapse. but i want to share a story. i grew up on drake road in cincinnati, ohio, just a few doors down from a man named neil armstrong. this very shy, reclusive man used to come over for dinner. when i was at a very impressionable age, he said the audacity of this young president to go to the well of the house and summon the nation to put a man on the moon within a decade and return him safely,
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you know, within ten years, and we actually had no idea how to pull it off. and yet, 400,000 engineers around the country worked together to make it happen. i remember being a 9-year-old kid on the screen porch watching neil armstrong land on the moon. and it seems to me that as governor patrick and others mentioned, we have so many challenges in this country that national service can help address. i don't see why we don't have an opportunity, millennium goals in the country, to take on education and conservation and poverty and a whole host of issues that national service there's evidence that national service could help address. it's also interesting to note, you know, what's the problem we're trying to address? robert putnam wrote two wonderful books, actually a third called "our kids." when i asked him for an historic perspective, he said, you know, social cohesion or social fragmentation,
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political polarization, economic inequality, and civic collapse all actually work in virtual lock step. if you look at trends from the guilded age through the 1960s and'70s and even today, you see them moving together. so what we do as a nation civically, how we take care of our communities matters significantly to how we view one another, how we view inequality economically, and of course i think we're having a political, cultural, and economic nervous breakdown in this country. so we see the effects of a lack of understanding of the constitution. there was this wonderful book called "we hold these truths" on the 200th anniversary of the celebration of the declaration that said the highest office in the united states is not the presidency. it's citizen. we
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need to remind young people of this country that citizenship is really the wave of the future. i want to talk concretely, though, because i know and i can't tell you the number of audiences we speak to all over the country and stan, who's our chair, comes back from speaking, rallying a chorus of union, but there's always this wonder, could we actually pull it off? why, for such a big idea, that as jesse coleman, our ceo, has mentioned attracts widespread public support among republicans, democrats, independents. we talk about the civic healing effects. i've co-chaired the earth conservation corps for over a decade. we work with the most vulnerable kids in congress heights, kennelworth. interestingly one day, they were serving and we brought kids from mcclain and potomac and had this great mixing in our service efforts. i sort of
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had the audacity to ask, what politics are you? there were republicans. there were democrats. there was even a libertarian. what faiths are you? christians, jews, muslims. and the project that they were working on was actually bringing the bald eagle, our nation's symbol, back to the nation's capital. we have bald eagles who fly over this beautiful landscape day in and day out because of the work of those national service participants. but i want to talk just briefly about could we bring this idea to scale and what have we learned from various models. interestingly, in 1933, franklin roosevelt calls congress into emergency session. by summer has 250,000 young unemployed men in the woods through the civilian conservation corps. by the end of the program, 3 million had served, 3 billion trees had been planted, 84 million acres of land had been saved, which is the entire acreage of our national park system today. and when you talk to the ccc boys,
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it was a spiritual experience for them. it changed the trajectory of the rest of their lives. it was also run by the u.s. army. a young george c. marshall organized the ccc camps. so the thought we would have for the first time since 1933 a commission looking how we marry military, civilian, and national service opportunities together is really compelling. second, the peace corps, the thought that we'd have u.s. policy to send our sons and daughters, our mothers and fathers, eventually our grandmothers and grandfathers to remote areas all across the world to meet needs in other countries was sort of a bold experiment. but when shriver sent his memo to john kennedy in 1961, he actually didn't want to just create a federal program called peace corps, he wanted to run peace corps through nonprofit organizations, colleges, and universities, agencies at all levels. and peace corps remains small today because that vision wasn't fulfilled. and then came
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americorps rooraring along, which had that instinct to go to the strength of america, to its nonprofit institutions and colleges and universities and to give support to those institutions and build off the strength of civil society. so i think those models are really instructive as we think about how do we marry military, civilian, and public service and how do we go to where the strength of the country is today, which is in its institutions of civil society. so over to brother d to talk about other elements of our report, including mandatory versus civilian national service. >> thank you very much. thanks, bridge. i know some of you are wondering what these socks are. they are philadelphia eagles socks. so go, birds. i feel your pain, redskins fans. i really do. >> go nats. >> well, i'm not going to say
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anything. no comment. but i want to thank the wonderful bell sawhill for inviting me to participate in this. it's a special treat and honor to be here with three dear old friends, the amazing bill galston, the inspiring john bridgeland, and the brilliant pete. you're the only one up here who's practicing what everybody is preaching, for real, for real. it's a special treat and honor to meet you and be with you. what i'm going to do is take a little time. i will, as they say in congress, yield the balance of my time back to brother bridgeland, and just talk about two aspects of this will america embrace the national service report. the part that deals with public opinion and the part that deals with evidence on the benefits of national service. so if you go back and look at the polling data on national service, all the way back to the creation of americorps from 1993 to the present, so i'm looking at all the surveys that have been done, i think it's fair to say that there's one overarching conclusion. there are two corollary findings and one caution. i'm going to be very brief in expressing these. the
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overarching conclusion is that, indeed, most americans do support national service. that's every demographic description, every socioeconomic status. it's without regard to partisan identification or ideological disposition. they favor national service. if it is voluntary. that is, unpaid, not required by law, or both. and majorities tend to oppose it if it's mandatory or compulsory, defined as in required by law or enforced administered by the government. one corollary finding is that the in-favor majorities shrink if voluntary is government supported. if you say expressly, by the way, government's got a nickel on the quarter or 25 cents in the dollar, it shrinks a bit. and if it is mandatory or compulsory, again, it goes down even more. but there's no question that the overall finding still is that americans
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of every demographic description favor national service. another corollary finding is that most people believe that service, and that's whether the service is national or community, paid or unpaid, benefits the servers. people believe that, that it develops skills, enhances civic responsibility. they believe it benefits the persons, organizations, and communities where people serve by supplying direct services or performing vital work in the community. and they believe it benefits the wider society. that is, that it elevates citizenship, helps to model civic responsibility, helps to bridge, which we've heard a lot about this morning, socioeconomic, political, and other divides. so that's what the folks believe. but there is one caution here. and the caution is that for all the polls that have been done, the fact is we still have a relatively limited universe of polls, and they're not all entirely well-constructed and well-conducted. there are all kinds of stratification and sampling issues and
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interpretation issues and so forth. in fact, even if you compare the polling, the research, the survey research on national service to polling data and survey research on other not top, top line issues, it is a relatively anemic survey research literature. so what's needed there is a tune-up. if you're interested in that, you look at the appendix to our report, you'll find that we have some suggestions about how you could go about at a relatively inexpensive because good polls are expensive and doing them right is expensive how you might be able to improve survey research on national service. let me now turn quickly to the benefits of national service. we know i mean, we could probably fill this very nice room here at brookings with all the studies that have been done with looking at the benefits of national service, and the vast majority of those suggest that
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national service works. but we need to make a couple of distinctions here. we know that volunteering works. we know compared to otherwise comparable people who volunteer, right, people who do the volunteering have higher life satisfaction, higher self-esteem, better self-rated health, better occupational and academic outcomes, longer lives. i'm getting to elder elder myself these days. longer lives and lots of other positive outcomes. but we need to remember that the evidence on the benefits of volunteering is not, of course, synonymous with the evidence on the benefits of volunteer programs per se or of national service programs in particular. so whether with respect to helping out at one's church or neighborhood school or community elder care facility or in other ways much of what counts and gets counted as volunteering occurs wholly outside the context of any regular commitments and any
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quasi formal or formal programmatic context. that duly remembered, that duly said, the fact is that when you do look at the research literature that does address national service programs in particular, the findings are very positive. there was a landmark literature review done in 2004, nothing has quite been done at that level of sophistication since, that looked at 139 pretty good studies. the bottom line conclusion of that literature review on national service programs was that in the vast majority of cases, you have national service program outcomes exceeding null or negative effects by a lot, like six and seven to one. that's a lot. that's gargantuan, actually. and many of the benefits in most of the studies i guess if you were to say what benefits are most well documented, it really would be
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the servers'skill development, the benefits, direct benefits to beneficiaries of the programs, service expansion, and harder to measure improvements in service quality. it's all there. so we also have made a promising start, i would say, with respect to benefit cost analyses of national service programs. there was a wonderful study done in 2013 by clive bellfield a study that was done for, i guess the franklin project and enterprises and voices for national service, which found a benefit cost ratio of federal national service programs of about four to one. that's also a gargantuan finding. but our benefit cost analyses still, too, are surprisingly in their infancy. i hate to conclude with a cliche that more research is needed, but more research is needed. and i think
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that but that all said, i want to just conclude before i turn it back to bridge, i want to conclude by saying that i wouldn't be afraid in this particular area to go with the plural of anecdote is data. and let me just tell you why. this is not in our report. but i've been, you know in fact, i met one of my former princeton students here who works at the brookings institution a moment ago, back to 1999. i've been in the academic dodge for almost 40 years. and i could tell you that in all those years, the last 15, 20 years at the university of penn, running a academic leadership and service learning program, hundreds and hundreds of former students, i get letters and cards and emails all the time. they say, boy, the best thing we ever did was all those service programs
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like participating in the human, physical, and financial recovery process in >> post-katrina new orleans. it's transformational. it's a laboratory for learning. so you know, i believe it. i think we're close i won't say we've proven it, but we're getting closer. a little more research. i'm not afraid of those data based on those an ek doetds. so bridge, you can go from there. very good. way to go. he was going to go into construction with cousin jimmy and turned out to be a professor. we're so glad. what are you going to do? cousin jimmy is pretty happy about it too. yeah, i think so. very quickly, in the paper "will america embrace national service, " which open question, we sort of throw down the gauntlet. we outline a plan of action that we also submitted with secretary gates, rice, and others to the national commission that joe is leading after 9/11 we talked about mandatory national service and our white house counsel came down to the office and said it probably violates the 13th amendment, probably violates the 5th amendment, deprivation of liberty. and may violate the first amendment on religious
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free exercise and free speech. we did a two-year study of mandatory national service in the united states, a lot of people are sympathetic to it. found you could structure a service program that would satisfy the constitutional requirements but there is almost zero political support to it. charlie wrangle produces the only bill in congress every year and nothing ever happens. so politically it's not feasible. what we think is feasible is something approaching national service which is large scale, universal, voluntary national service. i want to outline what we propose in the service share alliance and sent to the commission in terms of its core elements. the
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first, we've done it before, the first is to set a national goal of 250,000 full-time national civilian national service opportunities for 18 to 28 year olds. that's the exact number that the edwards m. kennedy that or-ren hatch, who was the first person to call me at 9/11, said i'm a mormon, i did my mission in the great lakes it ignited my 34 years in the u.s. senate. it can change the trajectory of young people in the country. so we know we can get there historically, we're only at about 66,000 full-time opportunities today. second we can link military and civilian national service together. 75% of the people who apply for the military are disqualified because they're high school dropouts, bad behavior, some are in prison or in poor health. 75%. why couldn't the u.s. selective service system be a conveyer
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belt for national service. so when i got my notice at 18, why didn't i learn about all these other wonderful opportunities. in turn the military tells us that there are communities where the communities aren't interested in military recruiting and having civilian national service opportunities may help military recruitment. third, linking national service to college access. all these presidential candidates are coming forward with plans. why is it if you invest in your country, your country invests to you, why not get a full year of college in the state you're attending for every year you do of national or other service, just like the g.i. bill. fourth, recognizing national service as a civic apprenticeship when you finish your year you get a credential that's relevant to
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getting a job and employers see the skills, leadership, collaborative problem solving, the social and emotional skills that many employers think are missing in our workforce. finally, a big idea is to democratize and open service. they could be called ameri core service. but the individual could be given a choice about what national service organization they want to serve in. instead of having large grants going to a new non-profit organizations in the country you would open up and fulfill the vision, >> which is college and universities, non-profit organizations, institutions of civil society, you'd have this growing community of institutions and young people with choice, who would really be accelerating and advancing the national
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service idea. that's it from us. we worked hard on this paper, please read it, it'll make us feel better. back to you. >> >> thanks john and john. well, you've just heard from the best of academic research on national service. now for some reality therapy. tay, how does this translate into actual service and how is that working for you? thank you. can you hear me? perfect. the trick is to hold it really close. remind me if i let the mike slide a little bit but it's a thrill to be here, a great pleasure to be on the panel, thank you bell, bookings and the great paper. before i talk about what this looks like on the hill and the policy proposals that service alliance is moving forward, i want to tell you about myself and my connection to service. i lead the government relations work
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at service alliance, unlike the panelists i didn't complete a year, serve in the military or serve in office. so my connection to service in a real way really started about ten years ago when i was working in philadelphia. i had transitioned tofrom a career practicing law to something more meaningful to me, public education. one of my coworkers was doing a similar transitioning but she was transitions from the new teacher's program into the policy side. so it was the deep commitment that i saw from her to the students that even though she wasn't teaching anymore, she was still involved in their lives. we walked down the street and people run down and say mrs. gardner, she was invited to their graduations, proms, unfortunately sometimes their funerals. but it was that deep connection that i saw at that point that introduced me
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to service. through my career in philadelphia and then in d.c., the exposure to programs, tntp, city year, urban teachers, it really kind of developed my commitment. what was interesting to me also is you have this idea of who serves and who is serving whom. and what i noticed is you have people coming from within their communities to serve in their community, outside of the community from different racial or ethnic background, socioand economic, that's where i got inspired. so when hii had the opportunity to join service alliance, i jumped at it. what i wanted to talk about today is what does this look like? how do we make this happen? we know the federal piece is going to be a large piece. i wanted to elaborate on the piece of federal legislation we are trying to move forward as part of our serve america together
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campaign. we do call for universal and national service, but i did want to make sure i clarify once again, we don't advocate for mandatory by universal, we call for an opportunity for all young people to serve. we've drafted a bill that we think fills the gaps that we see on the federal level. and we also think it's a bit strategic we know this is a bipartisan issue. we wanted to draft something we could create a true bipartisan bill. so we're calling it the national service choice act and it does four things, which i'll talk about, and then kind of lay out what that looks like in reality. so first and foremost what we think is key is that it focuses on local communities. this is from the bottom up what we're hearing from communities, how they view national service, meeting needs in their community. it also connects military and civilian, which is important on the federal level. and then provides a flexibility
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of fellowship, right now named in the honor of john mccain. and then very important it makes sure that everyone can serve. and then also brings together young people in the community who are serving to form those relationships. i know the word relationships came up earlier so bringing people together in a real way. what does this look like? we're proposing a new council that would be managed between nccs and dod, department of defense making that connection on the civilian and federal level. as bridge mentioned earlier, a lot of people interested in serving in the military are not qualified, why shouldn't they then be directed to national service opportunities. and there could be some type of joint promotion with national service programs. so we have
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