Should All Children Go to School?
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.5 Identify the relationship between individual rights and community responsibility.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark E.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.
    3. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.
    4. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark E.2 Evaluate progress on the service-learning project before, during, and after the project.

Students explore the issue of education as a right that not everyone has access to. Students plan and complete a service project to help expand access to education around the world.

PrintOne 45-Minute Session, Plus time to plan and carry out a service project

The learner will:

  • raise awareness to support education in areas where children do not have school.
  • identify the relationship of individual rights and community responsibility.
  • Teacher copy of handout
  • Internet access for facilitator (optional)
  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Share with students the following fact paraphrased from the handout Education Facts Across the Globe. "Most countries have laws that require children to be in school a given number of years. Some countries (Germany and Argentina) require children to be in school for as much as 13 years. In countries around the globe, the average number of years required by law is around 8. There are some countries where there is no law at all about attending school (Cambodia and Oman)." Discuss how students feel about making education required by law, how many years they think should be required, and why. Ask whether the world would be a better place if everyone went to school. Discuss why or why not.

  2. Discuss this quote,"For those to whom much has been given, much is expected."Say, "If education is a right (not a privilege), is it the responsibility of those who havea good school to help those who do not?" Discuss what responsibility means to the students in this context. Lead the students to recognize that they can do something; even if they cannot solve the problem, one small action is better than none.

  3. Tell the students that some children do not learn to read (even if they do have access to school) because they do not have books. Tell them about the program called "Room to Read," which provides books through donations to children in countries where school is not always available. This charity/nonprofit organization exists to help people for the common good.This means that everybody benefits whenmore people in the world are educated.

    • Introduce Room to Read, an organization focused on literacy and education, started by John Wood. You can learn more at
    • Some background information to explain: Mr. Wood traveled to Nepal and met many children who did not have access to school books and resources. Room to Read reaches many countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka, Laos, and South Africa and provides them with these resources.
    • Ask students if they have heard of other countries that have issues with poverty and lack of education. Locate these places on a map. (Optional: Access the internet, newspapers, or a library to find out whether or not those countries have universal primary education.)
  4. Tell them that they have the ability to share their time or treasure (such as gently used books) with other children so they can go to school and learn to read. Ask, "Why would you want to help other children learn?" Discuss their responses.

  5. Ask the students to brainstorm things they can do to help children around the world learn to read. (Contact an organization, such as Room to Read or a local organization, to find out what kind of help they need.) Discuss their answers and make a plan. One project idea is for each student to bring in one or more gently used books. On a designated day, they have a read-in, at which they read the books brought in and then package them to be shared with an organization that will give them to children who need books. They may include a note or drawings in the book(s) they donate.

  • Project the following questions on the board. Give the students some time to reflect on these questions. Then have them turn to a partner and discuss one or more of the questions for five minutes.
  • Have all participants toss a ball or other soft object from student to student. As students catch the ball, they share their thoughts on one of the questions.
  1. How do you feel about the action we took? What difference will our action make and what more could we do?
  2. For what other education issues are you interested in taking action?
  3. What can young people do to help people in the world who have been denied the right to a good education?
  4. What can we do to encourage others to take responsibility to volunteer or serve to help people who have been denied their rights?
  5. In what way would the world be a better place if everyone attended school?