This article was more about the teach for America program than the volunteering trend, but I still felt it was worth a mention. Some highlights:
- applications jump[ed] by more than a third this year from about 18,000 to nearly 25,000.
- Of those, about 3,700 are expected to step up to the blackboard as new teachers this fall. That's up more than 25% from the 2,900 who did so last year.
- Several studies have found Teach For America corps members are as effective or more effective than educators who come through traditional teacher preparation programs within colleges of education.
- Recruits often have no prior education experience or course work. They get five weeks of intensive training the summer before they start teaching, and then get professional development during the school year provided by Teach for America and the districts in which they work.
- Teach For America founder Wendy Kopp said she'd like to see the corps of first- and second-year teachers grow to 8,000 by 2010, up from about 5,000 now.
(all of the above information is directly from the article)
I personally think that this is an example of "episodic voluntering." Unless you plan on making teaching your career, there's only so long that you can work with the program (as a teacher). I suppose you could still fundraise and donate though. In any event, the help that these grads are providing can't be ignored.