New Survey Published on Peace Corps Service
In advance of the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps this Thursday, Civic Enterprises and the National Peace Corps Association released today
A Call to Peace: Perspectives of Volunteers on the Peace Corps at 50
A new report based on the largest ever independent survey of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs). The survey found that 93% of RPCVs believe the Peace Corps has improved global perceptions of the U.S.
The report can be obtained at: www.civicenterprises.net
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The results from a quick reading are what I would expect based on the RPCV memoirs I have read. But I do wonder if the survey asked these questions of the depressingly high number of ETs the Peace Corps never seems to be able to eliminate? I gather that ET rates have been anywhere from 20% to 40% over the years depending on country and program. Were these folks included in the survey?
During Honduran training In 1975, we were told that the ET rate worldwide was 60% and that Honduras was such a welcoming host that the rate there was only 40%. During my research for the book (Peace Corps Chronology: 1961-2010), I found that some African countries had experienced 80%. There were many factors; the times, the host nation’s violence, prevalence of disease, etc. However, be aware that even the term “Early Termination” changes meaning. For some it represents anyone who reported for training and left before finishing. For others, Only those who took the oath count. There does not seem to be a direct correlation between the number of volunteers in the field and Early Termination. Likewise, there does not seem to be a correlation between the early draconian selection methods and Early Termination. It would probably be illustrative to see a statistical correlation by place. I suspect that some hosts were just really difficult places for Americans to adapt to.
Charles Ludlam and Paula Hirschoff are RPCVs who have filed a lawsuit challenging Peace Corps’s response to their FOIA request.
Their FOIA requesting data so that they could see if there was a correlation or association between low country scores on the annual PCV survey and the ET rate by country. The Peace Corps response was inadequate, in their opinion, to allow a timely and accurate examination of that relationship. Peace Corps Wiki has the story and also links to a pdf of the court filing. Very interesting reading.
Interesting, indeed. I think that the country-by-country results combined with other information about programs, training, staff, etc. could provide fascinating insights into ‘best practices’ for in-country administrations. It might be that PC/W is reluctant to go public with such information because it that would create ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ among countries, programs, staff, training methods,etc.
I was also struck by the overseas staff salaries. Admitedly 40 years have passed since I was a CD at $20,300, but CD salaries in the $135,000 -$150,000 range? Gimme a break! There has also been a disappointing trend to ‘grade-creep.’ In the old days CDs were FSR 4s and FSR 3s. The FSR 2s and FSR 1s were for Reg’l Directors and the Deputy Director. Now CDs are often 1s and 2s.
David, I am not a lawyer and/or educated to comment on the legal arguments in the Ludham filing. However, I do not think that the FOIA specifically notes under what conditions information may be withheld. I don’t think that the reason you note here is reason enough to withhold information from the public.
“It might be that PC/W is reluctant to go public with such information because it that would create ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ among countries, programs, staff, training methods,etc.”
Correction: The sentence should read:
However, I do think that the FOIA specifically notes under what conditions information may be withheld.
Surely Peace Corps will lessen the number of ETs by allowing volunteers to select their placement. Then if the volunteers are unhappy they only have themselves to blame.
A second way would be to pay higher stipends to those without electricity, living in huts, in Eastern Europe, the ‘bush’, etc.
David- I recently checked on Country Director pay and it is $168,000 per year. That is an incredible sum.