Tuition-Free Public Service Academy Bill Reintroduced

Congressman Jim Moran, (D-VA), reintroduced legislation last week that would create a U.S. Public Service Academy modeled after the current military service academies at West Point, Annapolis and Colorado Springs. The U.S. Public Service Academy Act (H.R. 2102) would create an undergraduate institution designed to cultivate and groom a new generation of young leaders dedicated to public service. The Public Service Academy would offer four years of tuition-free education in exchange for five years of civilian service following graduation. Eligible fields of service would include public education, public health, law enforcement, and government. The Academy would develop a new generation of top-quality civilian leaders and will help transform the way Americans perceive, prepare for, and pursue public service.

"We have world class military service academies, that, each year, produce thousands of well educated and highly trained graduates to lead our nation's armed forces," said Moran. "But no institution exists to mold top-flight public servants. In less than ten years, 90 percent of our nation's civil service federal executives will be over the age of 50 and many will be nearing retirement. By 2016, two million new teachers will be needed. This coming brain drain threatens the stability and functioning of our public sector and has yet to be adequately addressed."

The initiative to build the Academy was originally launched by two Teach for America alumni in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, when "serious failures of public leadership at all levels of government" were observed, according to the academy's website. Legislation to create the Academy was first introduced in 2007. Its leading sponsors then were Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Arlen Specter (R-PA - but now a Democrat) and Representatives James Moran (D-VA) and Christopher Shays (R-CT). The bill received numerous endorsements but did not pass in that Congress. Moran's re-introduced bill has 33 co-sponsors in the House and is now in committee.


Publication Date: 5/4/2009

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