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The Best of Our Knowledge # 975



Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States. It commemorates U.S. men and women who died serving their country.

Formerly known as Decoration Day, it was first enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War. It was expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action.

So we thought it was an appropriate time to bring you a special TBOOK that focuses on patriotism, democracy, and public service in education..

To start things off, we discuss a book titled, "Pledging Allegiance: The Politics of Patriotism in America's Schools."

"Pledging Allegiance" brings together a group of renowned education leaders and political activists, as well as classroom practitioners, who exchange ideas on the place of patriotism in schools.

Among the two-dozen or so contributors are: the much publicized William Ayers, education professor, University of Illinois at Chicago; Diane Ravitch; Deborah Meier; Studs Terkel; and Howard Zinn.

The book is edited by our first guest, Dr. Joel Westheimer, Co-Director of Democratic Dialogue. Westheimer is also a Professor and University Chair in Democracy and Education at the University of Ottawa.

Glenn Busby reports. (9:00)

**(Attention Listeners and Program Directors. For more information about the book reported on above and the research organization referenced during the story, people are referred to the following two websites: www.democraticdialogue.com and www.pledgingallegiance.org.)**


President Barack Obama has become the most recent president to emulate John F. Kennedy's call for national service.

Mr Obama signed legislation recently tripling the size of the AmeriCorps program, and called on Americans to volunteer time to improve their communities.

The new law is officially titled the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.

Now, if supporters of the proposed U.S. Public Service Academy get their wish, President Obama will be signing more legislation later this year.

Public Service Academy backers will tell you there's a West Point for soldiers, Annapolis for sailors, and an Air Force Academy. But thus far, there is no institution on that level for training government workers, or the bureaucrats that are needed to keep the nation functioning.

The Public Service Academy would offer a free four-year education in exchange for five years of government service. In the future it hopes to graduate about 1,200 students each year and cost taxpayers about 205-million dollars per year.

Chris Myers Asch quit his job three years ago at a Mississippi after school program and started a campaign to create the civilian service academy. Here is the latest on its status and plans.

Glenn Busby reports. (9:53)

**(If listeners would like to learn more about the proposed academy and track the legislation's progress through Congress, the website given at the conclusion of the above story is: www.uspublicserviceacademy.org.)**