There is a terrific op-ed in the New York Times this morning, Thursday, March 11, 2010, by Nicholas Kristof on a new international program he is proposing, Teach for the World. Kristof says (rightly!) “A generation ago, the most thrilling program for young people was the Peace Corps. Today, it’s Teach for America, which this year has attracted 46,000 applicants who are competing for about 4,500 slots.”
He goes onto say,”Peace Corps and Teach for America represent the best ethic of public service. But at a time when those programs can’t meet the demand from young people seeking to give back, we need a new initiative: Teach for the Wor The program would be open to Americans 18 and over. It could be used for a gap year between high school and college, but more commonly would offer a detour between college and graduate school or the real world.”
The host country would provide room and board through a host family. To hold down costs, the Americans would be unpaid and receive only airplane tickets, a local cellphone and a tiny stipend to cover bus fares and anti-malaria bed nets.
We can all think of draw backs and problems with this program, based on our own experience, but the idea of introducing this notion of “what to do with our young” into the nation’s dialogue ain’t bad. (Of course, we all know you have to first get them out of bed!)
A better plan might be just to give all our kids a one way ticket to ‘somewhere’ and tell them they can’t come back until they earn enough money to pay their own way home. That’s one way to teach kids how to live in the world.
Anyway, check Teach for the World in today’s TIMES.