Peace Corps: The Icon and the Reality is a 54 page ebook that you can get free off of Amazon. It was published in 2014. Take a look. Here is the copy of text from the Amazon page on what the book is about. Basically it looks at recent (since about 2000) changes at the agency and the deaths within the corps of PCVs. It is not kind to the Peace Corps administrations, at least not kind to former PCVs who became Peace Corps Directors, i.e. Aaron Williams (DR 1967-70), Ron Tschetter (India 1966-68). Mark Schneider (El Salvador 1966-68) comes off better, but, of course, Gaddi Vasquez (not a PCV) get beat up as usual.
Here’s what the flap copy says:
The body of literature critical of the Peace Corps is disturbing. The first real criticism of the Peace Corps in mainstream media came from the Dayton Daily News in 2003. This seven-part series of articles revealed a frightening negative trend in Peace Corps behavior toward crime victims and Volunteers who get ill during service. Lack of support, according to one Volunteer, caused her to lose her right eye. Murders were kept quiet. Victims were blamed and ostracized. Agency mismanagement was repeatedly implicated. The series revealed conscious misrepresentation and manipulation of data. It would be one of many times the Peace Corps would stonewall and resist acquisition of its documentation through the Freedom of Information Act.
The Early Termination Rate, for example, appears to be the bane of the agency’s existence. It has been trying to obfuscate and misrepresent this number for at least the past decade. This number is the percent of Volunteers who do not complete their full service term, for one of four reasons: administrative separation (when a Volunteer gets “fired”), medical separation due to illness, resignation on the part of the Volunteer, or by an interruption in service beyond anyone’s control. This number has been at around a third or more for the agency’s whole history, meaning one out of three Volunteers do not complete their full service term.
In the early 2000’s, the Early Termination Rate – always calculated appropriately as the number who terminate early from a cohort of Volunteers – was replaced by a calculation of the Annual Rate of early terminations, which does not measure the percentage of Volunteers who complete their two years of service. When the Early Termination rate quietly changed to the “Annual Early Termination Rate,” the fraction of early terminators suddenly seemed to drop. The Peace Corps had changed the way it calculated this statistic, a calculation method it had been asked to use by the GAO in 1981. Instead of representing the percent of Volunteers who fail to complete their full term, this percent took the number of dropouts and put that number over all Volunteers who had been active that year, including incoming, outgoing, and short-term Volunteers. This much smaller percent obfuscated the earlier performance indicator, the Early Termination rate, considered by many to be an accurate metric of program performance. Mike Shepphard is a co-founder of Developmentary, Inc., the non-profit which owns PeaceCorpsWiki.org and PeaceCorpsJournals.com. He wrote a report detailing the difference between the two measurements which is posted on PeaceCorpsWiki.org.
In 2009 Chuck Ludlam, who had been campaigning for reform since 2004, filed a FOIA request to the Peace Corps for any documents that explained why the Peace Corps had switched from the cohort to the Annual Rate in calculating ET rates. The agency said that no documents existed to explain the switch — a clear indication of a coverup. The timing of the change explains why the change was made; the Peace Corps was under pressure from the Office of Management and Budget to file “performance and results” reports together with metrics of its success. The Peace Corps had to find a way to cover up the 35% ET rates, an embarrassing and expensive scandal.