Step #8 A GI Bill for RPCVs
The President’s Transition Team highlighted the fact that the Peace Corps never has fulfilled the promise of the Third Goal. This problem lies within the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps looks overseas. It doesn’t have the mind set to understand, as the Transition Team reported, “the power of returned Volunteer cultural and linguistic skills in the new multi-cultural America; show that Peace Corps service abroad helps solve problems here at home-completing the loop for Peace Corps; and create a re-employment stream for returned Volunteers. Taxpayers will see an impact at home (as teachers, public health workers and more). Over time, this grows into more support, first for overseas mission, and then for the domestic goal.”
So what does the Director have to get the White House and Congress to do?
1.) Raise the Readjustment Allowance for RPCVs from $6,000 to $10,000. It has been at 6K since the mid-nineties. RPCVs also have to live with the rise in cost of living!
2.) Create a GI Bill for RPCVs similar to the military. PCVs also spent two years in service to their country. Americorps members get educational awards valued at $4,725. RPCVs get nothing! Nor do RPCVs get help with mortgages. Stop treating RPCVs like second-class citizens.
3.) Give Peace Corps job preferences to RPCV, not the military. Today the head of the Regional Recruitment Office in New York and the head of the L.A office are both former military career people; they are not RPCVs. What gives? Yes, they served their country, but not in the Peace Corps. It is grossly ironic and unfair that we have army personnel selecting Volunteers to go overseas in the name of peace.
4.) States need to give retirement credit to teachers for serving in the Peace Corps. The experience of teaching overseas pays off in American classrooms, year after year.
5.) RPCV needs the same medical benefits that the military gets at VA hospitals. We, too, come home with lots of strange illnesses and aliments from overseas.
6.) Recognize March 1 as Peace Corps Day in America and honor those who have died in service to their country in the Peace Corps, and then draw attention to the hundreds of volunteer projects being done by individual RPCVs and groups throughout America, Volunteers who still continue to serve by fulfilling the Third Goal of the Peace Corps.