Nicholas Kristof proposes an interesting public service initiative

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.

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 World.

In my mind, Teach for the World would be a one-year program placing young Americans in schools in developing countries. The Americans might teach English or computer skills, or coach basketball or debate teams.

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.

This would be a government-financed effort to supplement an American public diplomacy outreach that has been eviscerated over the last few decades. A similar program, WorldTeach, was founded by a group of Harvard students in 1986 and does a terrific job. But without significant support from the American government, it often must charge participants thousands of dollars for a year’s volunteer work.

Continue reading at THE NEW YORK TIMES

Thoughts?