Please do not allow Congressional, state, and local pols tell everyone THEY DIDN'T SEE THAT COMING as these economic collapse responses are pushed into place---this is a long-term Master Plan with lots of aiding and abetting conspiracy to defraud and bring the nation down----the financial analyst in yesterday's video was exactly right and we have known from 2010 this 2016 economic crash was coming. The goal of creating the conditions to undermine US Constitutional law, national, state, and local law comes from an IMF partnership along with the Trans Pacific Trade Pact.
Let's look at the AmeriCorp structure to see how it is modeled after global labor distribution systems. Remember the description of global labor pool movement from one International Economic Zone to another with constant changing of location to keep people from gaining roots, building alliances, knowing the issues of any particular nation all ripe for global NGOs to make their own set of SOCIAL BENEFIT policies in each of these International Economic Zone nations. Now think about the AmeriCorp system that moves recent college grads from one city to another---students often changing locations throughout these assignments ----coming into cities where they have no roots, they must start fresh in building alliances, they often don't know the issues of that city, AND they usually join the SOCIAL BENEFIT NGOs already having their own public policy agendas----ending just like the global International Economic Zone labor pool-----simply falling into a prefabricated 'labor and justice' policy program.
Back in the 1960s and 70s these same non-profits were used for many labor and justice groups ---but having been member of women, civil rights, and labor groups back then----WE CREATED OUR OWN AGENDA AND SUPPORTED ALL THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC ISSUES. It was the Clinton Wall Street global corporate neo-liberals through these global NGOs that developed the format of individual policy issues being handled by individual non-profits. So, we have one group shouting a labor issue policy, another shouting an education policy, another shouting a housing justice policy-----AND NONE OF THEM COME TOGETHER TO SHOUT FOR THIS WHOLE SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM. This is deliberate and it is key to American citizens not knowing public policy history-----goals----and organizing as 99%. The same thing occurs in global corporate campus/factories in International Economic Zones. International Open Society will be there with a corporate non-profit for Asian immigrants, another for African immigrants, another for Latino immigrants all thrown together in a Malaysian global factory sweat shop. These immigrants are made DEPENDENT on these non-profits and do not question the public policies being pushed in the name of their justice AND THE 1% WALL STREET GLOBAL CORPORATE FAR-RIGHT BEHIND ALL THESE GLOBAL NGOs have only their profits and power as the agenda.
- Student-Loan Forgiveness Programs Don't Always Pay...http://www.kiplinger.com/article/college/T053-C000-S002-stud... Student-Loan Forgiveness Programs Don't Always Pay Off ... Some organizations , including AmeriCorps and Teach for America, offer grants after service is ...
ONE THING THAT LOOKS DIFFERENT FROM PUBLIC SERVICE BEFORE CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA----the word 'corporation' appears throughout and that is because student loans are outsourced to Wall Street collection firms and this Americorp is controlled by global corporate needs and not taxpayers and citizens. If you can imagine how college grads may get trapped in this cycle under terms if economic crash sends a deeper recession/depression.
Postponing Student Loan Payments and Getting Interest Paid
Individuals who are serving in a term of service in an approved AmeriCorps position may be eligible to temporarily postpone the repayment of their qualified student loans through an action called loan forbearance. While your loan is in forbearance during your term of service, interest continues to accrue. However,If you successfully complete your term of service the National Service Trust will pay all or a portion of the interest that accrued on your qualified student loans during your service period.
You can request that your loan company (your “loan holder”) approve a forbearance for your qualified student loans during your service period. You can easily and quickly request the forbearance on-line through My AmeriCorps. After you finish your term of service, you will be responsible for repaying your loan according to the terms of the loan.
One of the most connected to Americorp and not without coincidence one of those corporate non-profits funded by Wall Street foundations in Baltimore is Teach for America. Below you see why Baltimore City and its Baltimore City School Board and public schools are a majority of Teach for America as is our Baltimore Teacher's Union AND the goals Wall Street has with this global corporate non-profit---yes, it is breaking teacher's unions around the globe----it creating the platform for global K-12 neo-liberal education corporations and their policies. So, college grads many times unknowingly are being sent into the very process killing the next generations chances at a strong public school education.
MEET THIS GLOBAL CORPORATE NON-PROFIT AND ITS PUBLIC POLICY STAFF-------
THIS IS WHY BALTIMORE CITIZENS CANNOT HAVE A VOICE IN A PUBLIC SCHOOL/EDUCATION POLICY FORMAT-----IT IS ENTIRELY A CLOSED CASE WHEN BALTIMORE CITY HALL AND BALTIMORE MARYLAND ASSEMBLY POLS WORK FOR THESE WALL STREET 1%.
Wonder how every city council member and the Mayor of Baltimore always end being this captured crowd? FLIPPING AND STRIPPING----A VERY WALL STREET GLOBAL CORPORATE NEO-LIBERAL STANCE.
I just had a conversation with a Baltimore City council pol newly elected about this very issue-------they run on a platform of building strong education and direct it at the underserved communities and these policies have the opposite goal. Yes, the black, brown, and white global NGOs sell this to members.
The people promoting have only the goal of national charter chains going global education corporations tied to neo-liberal global corporate campuses/global factories. IS THIS REALLY A DREAM ACT FOR ANY CITIZEN--BLACK, BROWN, OR WHITE? Of course not----If you look at Baltimore's recent City Council election just about all elected----black, brown, and white received campaign funding and back this global NGO and its education policy goals.
DON'T FORGET-----THE 1% HAVE A 5% FROM ALL POPULATION GROUPS----AND YES----OUR FRIENDLY GLOBAL NGOS CREATE THESE POLICY CONNECTIONS
The Latino Community Initiative seeks to enable Latino leaders to be the preeminent advocates of opportunity for Latino children. We work in partnership with Latino familias, communities, and organizations across the nation to create catalytic change.
Together at Teach For America, we form una fuerza of 3,000 Latino corps members, alumni, and staff dedicated to giving Latino children access to a path-changing education.
Get in touch to learn more: email@example.com.
In each case there will be a global NGO in these nations pushing immigrants into these non-profits pushing those education policies ALL AGAINST THE INTEREST OF THOSE IMMIGRANTS.
Meet Members of our Network
A close shot of a young woman with straight dark brown hair, a black vest, a white dress shirt, and a white silk scarf playing with two girls both dressed in white.
Hua Sha, Teacher, Teach For China
Teacher, Teach For China
On their final exam, my class scored first in the school, and tested above-average in our county.
A close head shot of a middle-aged woman with wavy brown hair smiling in front of a blue building, wearing a black sweater and a dark blue dot patterned shirt.
Chaitra Murlidhar, Alumna, Teach For India
Alum, Teach For India
Manager, Social Initiatives at Thermax
If we so deeply believe that every child can learn, then we must also deeply believe that given the right skills and training, every teacher is capable of leading their classroom.
A young man with thick brown hair parted on the right and a bearded chin smiling in a classroom, wearing thick black framed glasses and a blue dress shirt.
Quim Sabrià, Alum, Empieza por Educar (Spain)
I strived to instill in my students the mindset that setbacks can actually move you forward, inspiring you to come up with new, innovative solutions to a problem.
A young man with very short black hair wearing a white dress shirt and a red tie, sitting at a desk among students, with his right hand raised to his ear to listen better.
CEO, Teach For Malaysia
Corporate, Foundation, and Public Support
The Aaron and Lillie Straus Foundation, IncLead Investors ($250,000+)Baltimore City Public Schools
Corporation for National and Community Service
Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism
The Johns Hopkins UniversityStakeholders ($100,000- $249,999)Annie E. Casey Foundation
Baltimore County Public Schools
T. Rowe Price Foundation, Inc.
The Abell FoundationChampions ($50,000- $99,999)Allegis Group Foundation, Inc.
City of Baltimore/Family League of Baltimore
Clayton Baker Trust
Hoffberger Family Philanthropies
M & T Bank
The Goldsmith Family Foundation
The Jacob & Hilda Blaustein Foundation
The Kern Family Foundation
The Lockhart Vaughan Foundation, Inc.
The Sylvan/Laureate FoundationLeaders ($25,000- $49,999)Aber D. Unger Foundation
Aegon Transamerica Foundation
Baltimore Community Foundation
Bank of America
Legg Mason, Inc.
McCormick and Company, Inc.
Reginald F. Lewis Foundation
T. Rowe Price Associates Giving Campaign
The Alvin and Fanny B. Thalheimer Foundation
The Wright Family Foundation
United Way of Central Maryland President's Fund
Wells FargoBenefactors ($10,000- $24,999)Baltimore Ravens
Lois and Philip Macht Family Philanthropic Fund
Northrop Grumman Corporation
The Joseph and Harvey Meyerhoff Charitable Funds
Venable FoundationSponsors ($5,000- $9,999)Bunting Family Foundation
Hardiman Family Foundation
Jacob S. Shapiro Foundation
The Hecht-Levi FoundationCircle of Friends ($1,000- $4,999)ABS Capital Partners
Black Tie Baltimore
Bonsal Family Fund
Corporate Office Properties Trust
Penny and A.C. Hubbard Foundation, Inc.
Teach For America’s Unspoken Alliance with the One Percent
Posted on March 3, 2014 by Yves SmithYves here.
Teach for America is a classic example of a ploy used by wealthy right-wing interests: find reputable, well-liked left-leaning organizations that are having financial troubles, rescue them, and turn their agenda to one more to their new patrons’ liking.
By Dan Fejes, who lives in northeast Ohio. Cross posted from Pruning Shears
Not being an educator, my knowledge of Teach For America (TFA) has been scant. Basically: it was a component of the Americorps program created during the Clinton administration, and plugged willing but un- or under-qualified young people into vacant positions in low income schools for two years. Identify schools that need teachers and have energetic, idealistic recent college grads work to make a difference. Sounds great.
It turns out TFA has taken on an new role in the last few years, though. Last week the #ResistTFA hash tag on Twitter started trending, courtesy of Students United for Public Education. SUPE supporters criticized TFA’s modest five weeks of training for recruits and questioned the adequacy of their preparation.
TFA defenders quickly responded. One asked “why do principals and schools still line up to hire TFA corps members when they have the chance?” Instead of considering that a lower paid and non-unionized workforce might be attractive for strictly administrative reasons, the author claims TFA recruits interview better because (among other reasons) “They don’t cry during interviews” and “If I check them out on Twitter, they’re not tweeting about loving beer or about how they want to be rescued by Prince Charming” (these lines were not, praise Jesus, written by a man).
Others endorsed TFA as a “pipeline for education reform”1 and cited a Department of Education (DOE) study (PDF) that argued for its effectiveness. There might be an element of self-fulfilling prophesy about this, though. In a long, thorough examination of the billionaires behind the attacks on public education, Joanne Barkan writes how DOE head Arne Duncan has his thumb firmly on the scales in favor of business interests:
Nothing illustrates the operation of Duncan’s “open for business” policy better than the administration’s signature education initiative, Race to the Top (RTTT). The “stimulus package” included $4.3 billion for education, but for the first time, states didn’t simply receive grants; they had to compete for RTTT money with a comprehensive, statewide proposal for education reform. It is no exaggeration to say that the criteria for selecting the winners came straight from the foundations’ playbook (which is, after all, Duncan’s playbook). To start, any state that didn’t allow student test scores to determine (at least in part) teacher and principal evaluations was not eligible to compete. After clarifying this, the 103-page application form laid out a list of detailed criteria and then additional priorities for each criterion (“The Secretary is particularly interested in applications that…”). Key criteria included
- (C)(1) Fully implementing a statewide longitudinal data system
- (D)(2) Improving teacher and principal effectiveness based on performance [this is followed by criteria for evaluating performance based on student test scores]
- (E) Turning around the lowest-achieving schools
- (F)(2) Ensuring successful conditions for high-performing charter schools and other innovative schools
Standardized testing has become extremely controversial because, as Barkan writes: “Drilling students on sample questions for weeks before a state test will not improve their education.” If you believe rote memorization equals education, though, then imposing high stakes testing makes great good sense. Having done just that, the DOE then (p. 18) “obtained scores on state assessments from district administrative records” and used the results to vindicate TFA’s effectiveness. One might be excused for being a bit skeptical about the objectivity of such an assessment, however.
What is more and more beyond dispute is that even if TFA is not actively colluding with the privatization industry, it exists in what Charles Pierce called a marvelous environment for political coincidence. Starting with a bit of disaster capitalism in New Orleans, TFA has established a pattern of being the, ahem, pipeline of choice in the wake of mass layoffs. (In its more benign form TFA merely deprives local residents of employment opportunities.) The same thing happened in Chicago and is now poised to happen in Newark.
(TFA’s Fatimah Burnam Watkins responded to the Newark report by writing, among other things:
“Positioning this grant announcement which is more than six months old as related in any way to the current school board proceedings is purposefully misleading.” Why on earth would a TFA-friendly school board announce layoffs before the new recruits were in pocket, or be so clumsy as to do so right on the heels of the grant? Anyway, fuller dissection here.)
The announced layoffs sent a shock through the community. Evidently some parents who were concerned that their children’s educational quality was about to get kneecapped did not always follow Robert’s Rules of Order in voicing their opposition.2 Superintendent Cami Anderson, apparently a graduate of the Mitt Romney school of public discourse, simply could not abide by such (insert breathless Southern belle voice) insupportable vexation:
Opponents of the layoff plan wanted to address Anderson directly at last night’s meeting. But the school district sent a letter to parents saying Anderson and the school district’s leadership team would no longer attend board meetings, saying the meetings had become too dysfunctional to be an effective communication tool to the public.
So residents can just consult the district web site or public access TV channel for the latest developments; no need to show up at any more meetings.
As we get an increasingly clear picture of the privatization/charter terrain, an unmistakable impression emerges (PDF, via): “While charter schools were originally developed by progressive educators in the 1990s, corporate elites and politicians from both major US parties have taken them up as an opportunity to merge public education with market-based assumptions.”
The model works like this: Mandate standardized testing, use TFA recruits to teach to the test, use the test results to “prove” the effectiveness of TFA, use the TFA pipeline to close schools and fire teachers, and replace both with charters staffed by lower paid, non-union TFA employees. (And please note that charters go tits up with all the orderliness and accountability of Freedom Industries.)
TFA could resist this trend if it wanted. It could refuse to send recruits to districts that have had (or are considering) substantial layoffs. It could offer to send recruits to public schools as assistants instead of replacements, which would be a huge benefit to schools. TFA chooses not to, though, and that speaks volumes. By all accounts it is content with the status quo (content enough not to buck it, anyway). In the absence of a clear and forceful refusal to cooperate, the only reasonable conclusion is that TFA is happy to collaborate with those who view schools as “ecosystems of investment opportunity.”
Simply staying on the education policy theme for today------Baltimore Education Coalition has many global NGOs ----besides Teach for America. Child First, Elev8, Advocates for Child and Youth-----can be found in nations having International Economic Zones globally and are tied to this Zoros Open Society/Humanim network. Immigrants around the world are connected to these non-profits and promote their platform of SOCIAL BENEFIT.
When we look at individual policies we do not see a set agenda====the idea becomes having an entity in a first world, democratic society promoting the same societal agenda as in any developing nation with the intention of American citizens simply joining a group to promote set issues. THIS IS NOT BEING A CITIZEN====again, when we know this education agenda in Baltimore supports the 1% Wall Street and global corporate profits at the expense of the 99%---we see how tying these issues together with policies like Child First and Advocates for Child and Youth are at odds.
These global NGOs bring working class and poor citizens out to shout for all these policies never educating as to what THEIR EDUCATION POLICY GOALS ARE.
I attempted to attend a meeting of BEC but was forced to leave because I do not support Teach for America, charters, and school choice. Baby boomers can think back to when parents in a community simply met as a group at their local public school in the evenings and hashed all this out----debate, dialog, enlightening by both sides----created compromise----AND THEN EDUCATION POLICY. THIS NGO NETWORK ENDS ALL THAT---AND THIS IS WHY MAKES THE AMERICAN PEOPLE CITIZENS.
ANOTHER ISSUE IS WHERE ARE THESE COMMUNITY SCHOOLS IF YOU ARE CLOSING ALL THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS AS IN BALTIMORE CITY?
Children & Youth Community Schools
It’s All Happening at School
United States | 2007 - 2014
Poverty. Discrimination. Poor educational opportunities. Limited access to quality healthcare. All are factors that can stymie a child’s future. To help young people overcome these challenges, some cities operate community schools that integrate academics and related supports with services that address health and social needs of their students. These schools also engage parents in activities that enable them to play a more active role in their children’s education, helping contribute to building stronger communities.
After making initial investments in other well-known and promising alternative school models, Atlantic chose to focus on Elev8, a national model operating in a select number of cities. Elev8 schools:
- Extend learning opportunities for students beyond the classroom and traditional school year
- Provide high-quality school-based health services to children and their families
- Encourage parents to be actively involved in their children’s education
- Offer family supports and resources designed to promote economic stability, good health and continuing education
Watch: Oakland youth, teachers, principals and parents share their views on how community schools prepare students to be "College, Career, & Community Ready."
What We Learned From This Work
- School system reform in low-income communities is complex, difficult and needs the right leadership. Funders taking on this work need to be patient, willing to stick with it for many years and to provide the appropriate level of support. Those are lessons we learned the hard way. We changed our school reform strategy mid-course and didn’t champion the project for sustained funding and resources. While we didn’t succeed at developing a widely-adopted national model, students who were enrolled in Elev8 schools reported high levels of efficacy, liked schools they attended, and valued school highly. Another lesson: funders and other partners can be a stabilizing force in schools and districts where there are high turnovers of principals and superintendents.
- Evidence showing success from the approach of integrating health services and family supports in schools can encourage principals to invest some of their discretionary funds to support these programs.
- Funding alone doesn’t institutionalize a program, initiative or movement. Identifying the right leaders, building capacity, and participation from staff and community participants are crucial to success and sustainability.
'Children & Youth Community Schools
It’s All Happening at School
United States | 2007 - 2014'
'Elevating the Solution
Preliminary evaluation results show that in some fully resourced Elev8 full service community schools, attendance rates and test scores improved and truancy rates dropped'.
If you notice----Obama and Clinton neo-liberals in Congress used Affordable Care Act and other issues surrounding austerity to largely unfund, privatize, and dismantle most social services---
NO, REPUBLICANS DIDN'T MAKE THEM DO IT-----NEO-LIBERALS ARE FAR-RIGHT REPUBLICANS.
If you are ending all New Deal and War on Poverty programs----bye bye FDR and MLK----then you PRETEND you are creating a separate non-profit/for-profit structure aimed at the poor---when in fact it's simply the platform for just such global for-profit services found overseas----remember---the 1% do not see any public subsidy so these services are simply a step to ending access to things like health care, social workers, arts/humanities after-school programs. Parents will have to pay for these for-profit services. What you do see is the creation of the global corporate campus model of schooling ----workers live, eat, are schooled, where they work and that is global corporate socialism. Think families in global corporate sweat shop factories get American quality of services? Parents that do have some income will spend it all trying to connect their children to these services. END OF US QUALITY SOCIAL SERVICES PAID FOR WITH TAXPAYER REVENUE----most of those connected below are global ---installing this same structure overseas as in our US cities.....NO DIFFERENCE THE 1% SAY.
Every time I hear Community Schools sold as something great and wonderful for underserved families----the progressive posing gets to be too much. People know this format used to be inside all public schools as staff----taking all this out as non-profits and for-profits does not end well for 99% of people.
Oakland Community Schools: We're College, Career, & Community Ready!
Oakland Unified School District's Video on Community Schools and how they prepared youth for College, Career, and Community. Hear Oakland youth, teachers, pr...
ANOTHER ISSUE IS WHERE ARE THESE COMMUNITY SCHOOLS IF YOU ARE CLOSING ALL THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS AS IN BALTIMORE CITY?
If you listen to this promo-----all of what this format brings is what used to be in our communities as public services and as public staffing in schools. Keep in mind this is all specially funded----even the Federal funds currently designated can ---and with this coming economic crash most likely will DISAPPEAR Most of the granting sources are of course the same groups behind global NGOs. As we watch unfolding the push to online middle/high schools------child apprenticeships at 6th grade----just when are these students going to be in what sounds like a great community school? Global corporate campus school structure.
The answer to most of my questions here in Baltimore comes with knowing GreatSchools is a national charter chain. It also happens to be the city center schools connected to the $1 billion school building bond which will likely has these schools default into private investment firm hands -----setting the stage for attaching what community school assets DO make it to Baltimore public schools to those in communities slated to be filled with the global rich. They have set the stage for using Federal funding for affluent development yet again---all described as helping the underserved children.
Right now new middle-class no doubt are thinking this is our public/charter school---a decade of economic recession/job loss/higher taxation in the city/flooding of Baltimore with immigrant and foreign corporations will SHAKE THAT UP.
Great Schools.org all over the nation----connected to getting all the funding for school rebuilding-----for community schools----in what will become the most affluent of a global city center? It's all about the poor and immigrant students.
'GreatSchools was founded in 1997 as an independent rating system for schools in the Silicon Valley area of California. The site was one of several projects that Mr. Jackson, an Internet entrepreneur, worked on as a way to promote the nascent computer-networking industry'.
Published Online: April 3, 2012
Published in Print: April 4, 2012, as GreatSchools.org Finds Its Niche
GreatSchools Finds a Niche in School Ratings
School ratings service has designs on parent marketBy Christina A. Samuels
Plug a school name into any Internet search engine, and within a few pages, you're likely to come across the GreatSchools website.
GreatSchools.org neatly ranks more than 136,000 traditional public, private, and charter schools nationwide on a scale of 1 to 10, based on state test scores. But what often draws readers are the gossipy insider comments posted by parents, students, and teachers, and the star ratings those commenters contribute.
The growth of online school rating services has gone hand in hand with the growth of the school choice movement: Parents need independent information on the array of educational options opening up to them. And the San Francisco-based nonprofit GreatSchools has garnered long-running support from philanthropies that back such school choice measures as charter schools and private school vouchers.
GreatSchools.org is not the only website that ranks pre-K-12 schools. The Internet search engines Yelp and Google offer school ratings, as do websites such as Schooldigger.com and Privateschoolreview.com. But with 40 million annual unique visitors, GreatSchools is the one most used, according to Alexa Internet, which tracks Web traffic.
The site's founder and chief executive officer, Bill Jackson, says GreatSchools wants to be more than just a school ratings site: He sees it developing into an association that serves parents in the same way that the AARP serves retirees, or that AAA represents drivers.
"We see ourselves offering incentives, discounts on products, and services that will support parents toward preparing a high school graduate." Mr. Jackson said.
But that kind of expansion may worry some educators, who see the nonprofit organization's ratings as too narrow to provide a fair and full picture of their schools. In response, the site is expanding its schools pages, allowing administrators to contribute videos, pictures, and other information.
New Platforms, Partners
Already, GreatSchools has expanded its reach beyond the Web, printing glossy guides to schools that go to parents in the District of Columbia, Indianapolis, and Milwaukee, all cities with extensive charter school programs. It has plans to expand its mobile-application presence, reaching millions of parents who may not have regular Internet access at home but can access the Web through smartphones.
Fourteen foundations and organizations helped support GreatSchools’ school ratings and parent education efforts in 2011.
*Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: $265,493
Fight for Children: 75,000
Goldman Sachs Group: 440,000
Kern Family Foundation: 100,000
Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation: 15,000
NewSchools Venture Fund: 125,000
Robertson Foundation: 1,000,000
Rotary Foundation of Washington, D.C.: 2,500
Target Foundation: 250,000
Venable Foundation: 5,000
Verizon Foundation: 1,000
*Walton Family Foundation: 4,775,000
Zoom Foundation: 110,000
*These foundations also support some coverage in Education Week.
In December, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a partnership with GreatSchools that will allow parents who live in public housing or receive housing vouchers to learn more about school options through GreatSchools resources.
WAS THAT BECAUSE ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN US CITIES WERE BEING CLOSED HITTING THOSE PARENTS HARDEST?
"The partnership with GreatSchools is HUD's opportunity to give families in our rental-assistance programs tools to find the very best educational opportunities for their children," Sandra B. Henriquez, HUD's assistant secretary for public and Indian housing, said in an email.
That aspect of parent empowerment has drawn support from philanthropic organizations such as the New York City-based Robertson Foundation, which provided $1 million to GreatSchools in 2011.
"The reality for a parent making a decision about schools is that there's an awful lot of word of mouth. One of the things GreatSchools does is give you independent data," said Phoebe C. Boyer, the foundation's executive director.
Other backers include the WaltonFamily Foundation, which helps support Education Week's coverage of parent-empowerment issues, and the Joyce Foundation, which supports coverage of teacher-policy issues.
The site also has created Web-based teaching modules, called College Bound, for teaching parents how to navigate a conference with a teacher, or how to help with homework. Those modules are currently available through 20 district, charter, and nonprofit partners.
'Skin in the Game'
Parents, Mr. Jackson believes, are an "underappreciated" part of a child's educational success.
"Families have the most skin in the game," he said. "They need to understand their role in helping their children."
GreatSchools was founded in 1997 as an independent rating system for schools in the Silicon Valley area of California. The site was one of several projects that Mr. Jackson, an Internet entrepreneur, worked on as a way to promote the nascent computer-networking industry.
A confluence of circumstances led to GreatSchools' growth in the state, he said: the creation of a common testing system that allowed California schools to be compared with one another, the birth of charter schools in the state, and the spread of Internet technology that allowed information to be disseminated widely and quickly.
The site next expanded to Arizona with Texas, Florida, and Washington state soon following. The federal No Child Left Behind Act, with its emphasis on standardized testing as the gauge of schools' progress, "was really a huge boost" to the site, Mr. Jackson said.
But the states didn't always make that information easily obtainable, Mr. Jackson said, so GreatSchools tried to present it in an easy-to-comprehend manner.
Visit this blog.By 2001, parents and others involved in a school could leave anonymous comments on the site, which draw more attention from school leaders than the rankings based on test scores, Mr. Jackson said. The site is closing in on nearly 1 million reviews and plans to expand its rating systems next year, inviting its anonymous commenters to go into more depth about benefits—or drawbacks—of a school that may be difficult to capture in a number ranking.
Under the protection of anonymity, commenters tend not to pull their punches. For example, this comment on the 4,000-student Adlai Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Ill., which rated 10 out of 10 points based on test scores and received five out five stars in its "community rating": "This is a school meant only for superachievers," said one poster identified as a parent.
On the Web page for Pflugerville High School in suburban Austin, Texas, which has a 6 out of 10 rating for its test scores and an average of three out of five stars from its community members, one poster identified as a student praised the teachers, the administration, and counselors but had harsh words for his peers.
"Being a student, I have firsthand experience dealing with the kids who go here," he wrote, "and, to be quite blunt, a good amount of them are loud, annoying, and rude to not only teachers but also other students."
Assessing the Reviews
"Our philosophy on this is that we're not expecting that any one review will provide the revealed truth about a school. The value is when you can read five or 10, preferably more than 10," Mr. Jackson said. "If there's one or two or three on a school, it's difficult to know who's writing that review."
But more reviews tend to reveal patterns, he said. "As you read certain things," he said, "it can prepare you to know what questions to ask if you choose that particular school for a visit."
Damon T. Murphy, the superintendent of the 6,500-student Canutillo Independent School District in suburban El Paso, Texas, said his school board voted this year to try to raise its GreatSchools profile at least one point from 5, where it had stalled for several years.
The vote came before he knew how GreatSchools creates its test scores. Though the star ratings are purely subjective and based on commenters, the numerical rating is based solely on test scores,which disappointed Mr. Murphy. But, he said that GreatSchools was receptive to his suggestions that more measures be incorporated into a school's "grade."
The district is drawing more middle-class families "that have more of a tendency to 'shop' their child's education," Mr. Murphy said.
School rating systems "are a reality that school systems across the country will have to come to grips with," he added. "If GreatSchools doesn't do it, your local newspaper will."
Think iof the hundreds of billions of dollars channeled into Americorp directed at education while our Federal direct funding for our public schools have never been lower. As this article shows, the people passing through these Americorp programs see they are left with no structure that offers a feeling of quality from participants all of whom simply want to start their careers.
Meanwhile, more and more families are fighting just to have access and opportunity----something unheard of in a developed nation.
WALL STREET SAYS-----WHAT CITIZENS----THIS IS A COLONIAL ENTITY BE THANKFUL FOR WHAT YOU DO GET.
Monday, May 07, 2007"AmeriCorps Sucks" "I hate AmeriCorps"Let me guess.
See, there's five stages in your AmeriCorps year - Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning. This is from a guy called Bruce Tuckman who originally wrote it to have to do with team building - and every AmeriCorps member is part of at least one team.
It's really easy to get stuck at "storming". Trust me. I've been there. Your living stipend sucks, you spend all your time doing inane things when you really signed up to change the world, and your site supervisor/program director thinks you're a moron (or vice versa). The little things are really starting to get you down, and you're thinking about quitting.
Don't quit. You want that education stipend, and you won't get it if you quit. You also won't get the chance to challenge yourself, push your own boundaries, and really discover what you can do. Frustrated? Vent. Call your program director and tell them what's on your mind. Start your own blog. Vent to me here - I'd love to hear your frustrations. What you're feeling is completely normal and part of the process.
I'm telling you from my perspective as a second-year member - it's worth it. Stick it out. If you've quit everything else you've ever tried, stick it out. If you're so broke you're looking for coins in the couch cushions to buy a loaf of bread, stick it out. You CAN get through - and you WILL be proud of yourself. You deserve it. See your year through.
ETA (4/8/09) Some of the comments have expressed a desire for a forum.
Posted by Heather at 11:53 AM
Labels: americorps, searchy-searchy, service
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Mandi said...Just another former 'Corps member here to concur with Heather ... except for that education stipend thing. It's amazingly cool, so long as you're careful about the taxes. Or, I could still be bitter about that whole ordeal ...
Either way, stick with the 'Corps.
1:32 AM, May 10, 2007
Heather said...Ok, you can still get part of your education stipend if you quit - but only if you have extenuating circumstances that absolutely prevent you from finishing your contract year.
12:13 PM, May 10, 2007
Mandi said...I just re-read my comment and confused myself. What I meant to say was, I agree with H except about the education award being the coolest thing since sliced bread. I did not mean to imply that I disagree b/c there's some lame ass way of loop holing it and getting your ed award anyway.
She's still right. The ed award is just a killer on the tax return unless you have spawn to claim.
11:58 PM, May 10, 2007
Anonymous said...The Americorps Program needs to aborted. The Ed Award isn't worth it TRUST ME. After all the debt you have after the year is over, you'll STILL be out of school for another year trying to get your credit score back up.
8:05 AM, July 12, 2007
Heather said...I haven't incurred any extra debt the past two years, but I'm also married and live with another full time wage earner.
Rather than aborting the program, they should increase the living stipend above the poverty level.
In addition, there are many programs that pay WAY above the base stipend.
12:09 PM, November 15, 2007
Eva said...I'm struggling to get through the AmeriCorps program. I regret joining, but if I leave now I've pretty much wasted all this time and I can't afford to move back to my home state anyhow.
I've pretty much wasted a year of my life doing barely 15 hours of work a week.
11:19 PM, May 11, 2008
Annemarie said...I agree with Eva and the person who said Americorps needs to be closed down. It's a waste of money and most employers look at you afterwards and say, "Why the heck would you work for $200/wk? That doesn't show a whole lot of intelligence." I say this as an HR person with a year of VISTA under my belt. The ed award barely paid for anything and I know that working as a VISTA is a do-nothing social work job at nonprofits with sketchy finances and weird leaders. I tell people NOT to do it. It's not worth it and these nonprofits don't create any worthwhile change at all.
3:52 PM, June 09, 2008
Anonymous said...I completed a year of Americorps. I too say do not join AmeriCorps. The idea behind the program is neat, but in the end it left me extrememly frustrated. The main reason for the frustration is the bureaucracy and fence jumping associated with the health insurance AmeriCorps gives you. Also, if afterward regardless of not having a good job I was taxed $600. The program is made to help people out of sticky financial situations but in the process sends Alumni into them.
Also, non-profits are usually not all they are cracked up to be. Yes, they may do good things, but they put on a false front.
Someone must be really being paid well in Americorps for the organization to continue to put forth a glowing marketing scheme. Of the 20 people I started the service with 10 finished and of these 10, 8 disliked their experiece (myself included).
7:57 PM, June 20, 2008
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8:00 PM, June 20, 2008
Anonymous said...I'm currently enrolled as a quartertime Americorps member, and unfortunately, its one of the worst community service projects I've done. The project I was initially joined for was stopped after 6 months and now I'm left halfway done with nothing to do. As a quartertime member I don't have any training and am left to come up with my own projects and do them by myself (as there are no more members in my area, they all quit before their contract was up). I've never felt so lost before. I definitely regret joining. The tuition stipend really isnt even worth doing. With some 200 odd hours left, I could make up the measly $1250 stipend working at a regular job for half (100 hours!) the time. I'm in the process of trying to quit but someone up on the bureaucratic ladder is being a pain in the ass.
Anyone know if quitting will leave a bad impression so that it will affect me getting in my Physician Assistant school of choice? Does Americorps somehow blackmail you later in life for not finishing? Can grad schools find out that I quit?
Thanks and Good luck everyone!
8:35 PM, June 24, 2008
I was wondering if anyone knew of someone who has had to pay back all of the money they earned at Americorps after quitting.
7:35 AM, July 11, 2008
Anonymous said...I recently quit my VISTA position with about 2 months left in my term of "service." VISTA was the biggest waste of my time, and i regret joining. There were so many other worthwhile things I could have done out of college. There were many weeks that I had only a few hours of "work" to do. I brought my boredom up several times with my supervisors and nothing ever changed. And now, I am not being given ANY of my education award because I did not leave under "compelling circumstances." Isn't being lied to about a job description and NOT having ANY work to do a compelling reason to quit?? Americorps and VISTA is a HUGE waste of taxpayer money. It needs to be done away with.
5:33 PM, July 29, 2008
Anonymous said...Well, I am just now entering my own stint in AmeriCorps and I don't think I have ever been so frustrated. My supervisor is a bit of a loon. I just moved to Utah from the east coast, and I couldn't even get help finding a place to live. I was very put off as a new employee who didn't even seem wanted.
And now I am in a bit of trouble because my PSO training is next week and I have yet to receive my itinerary. The organization paired up with AmeriCorps for travel services almost seems like a fake company. I called and got a voicemail recording, and I couldn't even leave a message because the inbox was full.
I just really think I have made one of the biggest mistakes of my life. But it is good motivation to get the hell out of here and go to graduate school.
Does anyone know if I can quit now before I go to PSO and officially become an employee? I might just do it...
1:43 PM, August 05, 2008
Claire said...I finished my Americorps*VISTA term last week, and I have never felt more burnt out and devoid of any motivation to continue trying to help people. My VISTA site, a community center in Chicago, has hired me as a development person. The only reason I took the job was because I was too stressed out and exhausted to look elsewhere. I plan to quit as soon as I find something else-preferably a waitressing or bartending job.
If you want to feel worthless and exhausted, do Americorps. If you want to have an experience that inspires you never to work in nonprofit again, do Americorps.
DON'T DO AMERICORPS.
9:57 AM, August 20, 2008
REGINALD said...I have been serving for 7 months and here's my advice. If you are not good at managing money, look elsewhere. If you don't want to deal with government bureaucracy, look elsewhere.
Here's my advice for joining Americorps.
1. Choose your assignment wisely. Conduct as much research as you can on the organization that you will be working in. Call your supervisor (before you join) and have a long conversation about what you will be doing.
This will help you gage your supervisor's knowledge of the assignment.
2. Find a place to live.
Have your supervisor help you find a place to live. If your supervisor is competent and really wants you there, he or she will find a place for you to stay. This will help you assess your supervisor's ability while giving you a roommate that someone can vouch for.
3. Stay busy.
Buy an ipod and get a whole lot of music. You may not have access to TV. You will have been poorer than you've ever been in your entire life.You will need to keep yourself entertained. I also recommend getting a girlfriend/boyfriend or maybe a friend (with benifts). Having someone to vent to will help you get through the year. And having a special friend will help you relive stress and get a load off.
4. Don't quit. Serving one year as a VISTA will look very good on your resume and quitting may make you look indecisive and uncommitted to future employers (i.e. Dept. of Defense, Dept of Justice, FBI, etc.) You never know how this will bite you in the ass in the future. When you make a committment, it's better to fulfill your responsibilties.
2:18 PM, September 05, 2008
Anonymous said...our city forest is one of the most backwards places that could ever exist. the following blog has lots of helpful tips and hints into finding a great program, but be weary... this particular program will make it seem like you'll be getting all this "technical training"... they are sure to say it because they (the staff) are very inexperienced in dealing with motivated young individuals, and thus learning anything apparently is considered "technical training"
in this case, judge the book by its cover, it was a rough, experience, and felt rewarding only when it was over.
8:56 PM, September 08, 2008
Anonymous said...I am left with some very bitter feelings towards the whole program. My term was very disillusioning. My program had its own americorps director, who was the pet protegee of the director of the foundation that ran the program. Not only was she unprofessional to an extreme, her closeness to the foundation meant that a)there was no one to call her on it and b)there was no one to protect us from the shady and questionable things the foundation was doing. But since everything looked good on paper, AmeriCorps couldn't care less. My team was attacked for daring to air grievances in the supposedly confidential site inspection meeting.
The worst thing is, I had really believed in what I was doing. After it became clear, though that I was to do nothing more than to be a...rubberstamp for the program, a cover for the frankly unethical things going on... I left. Although I only managed to get out with some dignity because I documented the heck out of everything. The whole thing was swept under the carpet.
3:45 PM, September 11, 2008
Anonymous said...Some one asked if AmeriCorps can blackmail you if you quit early, which technically they can't. But if you do want to work for the federal gov't in the future you better reconsider your decision to quit. I am in my second year of AmeriCorps and my supervisor recently went to an AmeriCorps training where they had an AmeriCorp attorney there who explained AmeriCorps Volunteer rights. The attorney said point blank if you quit after you have been sworn in, it will count as a knock against your employment record with the gov't and exempts you from ever attaining employment with the federal gov't.
Another point the attorney made was to not work a side job. I know with the VISTA program it is illegal to hold other employment. AmeriCorps has investigators that will follow-up on suspicions of AmeriCorps Vistas working on the side and investigate it. They found a single mother with 4 kids working at Starbucks on the weekends to make ends meet and they kicked her out of her AmeriCorps Vista program, made her pay back every bit of her stipend and also said that she would never be able to work for the gov't. I would just be careful and make sure that you know your information before you sign up. If you research your placement site well and treat your service like a job you shouldn't have too many problems.
7:24 PM, September 29, 2008
Anonymous said...I was a VISTA and left my service 8 weeks early. I felt my circumstances were compelling. I had just had a baby and he had health issues. I was suffering with a little postpartum depression. In addition, my site supervisor was highly demanding and often very unprofessional (belittled me in front of others and gossiped to me about others). I was led to believe that I would get a prorated ed award but they changed their minds with some BS that my circumstances weren't compelling enough.
I joined the VISTA program in my 30's after I went back to school for a degree. I had worked in MANY organizations and had a successful Sales career with a Fortune 500 company. I have never dealt with so many ineffective, unprofessional, and petty people in my life. There was so much back-stabbing, gossiping, dodging blame and shifting fault to others, and deception. The nonprofit I worked for - was the worst. My site supervisor made me cry several times and I'm a tough person!
I stuck it out as long as I could but when my son had failure to thrive, I couldn't take it anymore.
I guess someone has to die for it to be compelling enough.
I wish I had read forums and blogs like this before joining. Joining was one of my biggest regrets - ever.
3:20 PM, October 02, 2008
Anonymous said...I got to tell you, I am agreeing with many of you here. I am in month 4 of my program and attempting to find work to get me out ASAP. I applied for the stipend and not the award so I don't really give a crap about leaving for something better. My boss, while relatively nice, is not a good communicator and has organizational issues ( Scheduling and not following through). I am really embarrassed for myself and for the students I supervise who suffer with me because of her lack of supervisory skills. I tried to put off joining, but this was the only thing going at the time, so in desperation I joined.
Don't do it if you can avoid it.. there are MUCH better programs for volunteering, such as Mercy Corps, which will help you go to grad school.
9:11 PM, October 31, 2008
Anonymous said...Has anyone felt pressured to quit?
1:01 AM, December 05, 2008
Whatyeah said...I started my term in September and am currently looking for alternative employment. The health insurance sucks, and will not cover supplies or treatment as I am a diabetic and was before joining (Pre-existing condition). The stress has been detrimental to both my physical and mental well-being, and I have received no reassurance from my program director or supervisor. I hope to be able to find other work soon. I have an alternate title beside VISTA (Service-Learning Consultant) that I am going to rely on to get a different job. As for a completed VISTA year being helpful on my resume, I find this suspect. I had previously completed an Americorps State program and all I ever get from employers is quizzical looks about what Americorps even is. I hope to be out soon. Any advice from others who quit?
3:45 PM, December 11, 2008
skwirl said...Wow. This entry is clearly a magnet for "AmeriCorps sucks" Google searches. I, for one, got a big 'ol grin out of it. Heather, if you ever consider a third year and want to learn about team leaderdom, send me an email.
Whatyeah - I'm sorry to hear about your difficulty with Seven Corners. For what it's worth, medications required for preexisting conditions are covered by the medication plan. And there's no co-pay for meds, which is unheard of in my experience. However, the initial doctor's visit to get that script for a preexisting condition would not be covered. It would be worthwhile to look into a sliding scale or free clinic for that kind of need.
In general, health insurance in the US sucks and I'm in a much, much, much worse health care position now that I'm done than I ever was in 3 years of AmeriCorps. Seven Corners was a significantly lesser evil in my experience. All of my billing problems were on the provider's side and Seven Corners was flawless otherwise.
I've heard equal stories of people being screwed by the health plan and people having their lives saved (literally) by it. The keyword is preexisting, of course, and that was pretty transparent to me up front, but not all sites are good at communicating it.
And that's the major problem with AmeriCorps. It's a huge bureaucracy and many of the people at the top believe that organization and direction should come from the bottom up, often from the otherwise needy grant-receiving organizations. For better or for worse, there's no Starbucks-like consistency, which results in the many bad experiences as seen above. On the other hand, there are many strong advocates and believers in CNCS's ranks and they will be your great ally if you can find them. I was lucky to have the ear of our awesome state office, who went to bat for me and my team members with force and conviction.
AmeriCorps and individual placement sites have a lot of problems, but they seemed no different to me than the organizational problems that plague all workplaces. The difference is that the frickin' Federal Government is paying idealistic (mostly young) people to build social leadership and progressive, nation changing capacity. That's amazing to me and makes a hell of a lot more sense than just about everything else my tax dollars pay for. I wonder how many people have a bad Corps experience only to go on to a real job that is just as bad later on?
I often had to remind myself that I signed up for a hard job. Generational poverty and the other ills of the world are not easy fixes. If they were, someone much smarter than me would have solved them a long time ago, because people have been trying to solve them for hundreds and hundreds of years. When I recruited, I stated that the job would be hard in many, many ways and many times, but sometimes that realism doesn't kick in despite the warnings.
The most successful AmeriCorps members in my experience are realists and optimists, who have some previous experience in living on a budget and working independently. Going in with eyes wide open and openly judging the placement site and site supervisor as much as the site is judging you during the interview is important. In that regard, it's just like any other job: buyer beware. The only reason not to quit from a bad experience, to me, would be if you believe in the organization and its mission, because they will not be able to replace you very easily and may lose their grant. But, if you truly believe in the mission, then that puts you in a really good place. Work the mission. That's probably what got you there in the first place. If your coworkers resist, then you're in a damn unique position as a changemaker who is there for a limited amount of time to try to create cultural and organizational change. Being a changemaker is also not an easy job. Nobody said it would be.
5:02 PM, December 13, 2008
Jacqui said...Dear Skwirl....
I came to this site following a link for doulas... When I read all of the bad comments about Americaorps I was really starting to re-think my desire to join the corps. I really appreciate your post about the corps and thank you for helping in my decision-making process!
I worked years in the inner-city with Volunteers of America and am an older American with a lot to offer. I am hoping to do so through Americorps!
11:28 PM, December 29, 2008
ultraviolet said...AMERICORPS IS SHADY. After doing 4 months of serivce I feel dissapointed and angry. The work load is crazy. You make 6 dollars an hour and becuase you are "volunteer" you have no rights. I was attracted to its unusual nature and what I found out was, I am an outsourced worker who is a U.S. citizen. What I mean by that is, becuase I paid from a nebulous taxpayer source, and my lame health insurance is build in to my labor I am a worker who is unattachted to anything on paper and therefore the non-profit I work with gets free labor and no acountability. Shame on people who employ Americorp workers. Don't let the wording fool you, your "service" is really just cheap labor.
6:35 PM, January 09, 2009
Anonymous said...DO NOT DO AMERICORPS.
6:36 PM, January 09, 2009
Anonymous said...True -if you want an experience that burns you out and gives you a bad taste in your mouth towards nonprofits...AmeriCorps is it. I completed my term last Aug and am still feeling the "shock" from the whole ordeal. I have worked professionally, but I was treated like a "slave" to service. I wanted to do things ...but most of my ideas were belittled and talked about amongst the office. Coworkers turned my "independence" into "competition" and whenever I asked a question...I was told I was out of place or not under the "chain of command". All in all...I hated my experience.
1:42 AM, January 21, 2009
Anonymous said...Do any of you who have had a negative experience have any ideas about getting the word out about this? I thought about trying to contact the americorp people directly, in particular to try and at least get the cruel stipend to be raised. Any thoughts?
11:59 AM, January 21, 2009
Cherandherparasol said...I'm currently doing Americorps and have never been so miserable in my life. What are my rights? Do I have any?
9:02 PM, January 21, 2009
projectalice said...Hey Cherandherparasol, if you are a VISTA you can't technically take another job outside the corps, but if they don't find out, then whatever, like if you do an under the table project you can just take the cash. There is a girl who quit where I work afte a month and all you have to do is fill out a form and do an exit interview. I am considering it myself. Some parts of it have been o.k....but I am not able to survive on the stipend in san diego, 485 every 2 weeks, that is like not even enough for rent. you can quit.
12:04 PM, January 22, 2009
Anonymous said...I'm currently doing VISTA as well and I'm absolutely miserable, it's nice to know that I'm not the only one struggling. I moved across the country for this job and feel totally lost and unsupported.
2:40 PM, January 22, 2009
projectalice said...Crimini. I am doing Americorps and I think it is way lame....but the program has such potential... where are you guys in the country? Does anyone know how to post info about whitch programs suck? Kind of like an online review, like YELP for americorp...the real version? That way we could tell the real deal for each program. Any computer savvy people have some thoughts?
2:50 PM, January 22, 2009
Anonymous said...I am looking into joining AmeriCorps and have heard something that unsettles me. My doctor told me she has filled out many forms for AmeriCorps and PeaceCorps and that she is asked to report any previous depression in the person applying. She believes that when the corps review the medical records she provides, if they see depression in your past they will not accept you into the program. To me this seems very unfair and unethical. I have struggled with depression in the past and am wondering if this will automatically block me from entering the program. Anyone know anything about this?
3:16 PM, February 04, 2009
projectalice said...About the depression comment, I am doing Americorp right now, and I doubt very much that they will be able to keep track of anything about you. I know they are super concerned with proving you are a U.S. citizen but they are not togethor enough to track your emotional, medical history.
4:38 PM, February 04, 2009
Anonymous said...Hey Everyone! I have been doing AmeriCorps since August and I have totally lost all motivation, but I am not going to quit. It is really refreshing to know that there are other AmeriCorps volunteers out there struggling. I went through the first 3 months of my experience thinking I was the only one having issues. I feel like my program has so much potential but my supervisor doesn't even have time to meet with me once a week. Initially they said that the ideal candidate would be a "self starter", which I consider myself, but there has to be a place to start. A lot of my good ideas have been shot down as well. I have been told "no" so many times in 6 months that I don't even want to ask for anything anymore. It is very frustrating. I need my motivation back, but I am afraid it is lost for good :( Anyone have any good ideas to spark motivation?
12:52 PM, February 18, 2009
projectalice said...You know...I am really serious about opening a website for underground thoughts about Americorp so we can help each other out. There is allot of us. If any one knows how to do it, let me know or I will just figure it out and post the address when I am done. TO the person who just posted.....I started in sep, and I feel like a slave. But look at it like this....it is better then food service, better then being a stripper and better then being allot of things. If you can, get something out of it and when you are done you can kiss the mofo's goodbye.
1:55 PM, February 18, 2009
projectalice said...p.s. we are half way done, that is like the middle of the week right? Plus given enough time....we are become revolutionaries and gain skills to take over . =)
1:56 PM, February 18, 2009
Anonymous said...projectalice: Thank you! It is so true that it's better than food service and stripping and tons of other stuff. It would be great to have an "underground" web site, but my web site IQ is way down in the single digits, lol.
We are halfway done! Praise the Lord!
2:39 PM, February 19, 2009
projectalice said...Yeah we ar half way done, I feel like a monk, I have no idea what I am doing. Maybe after this I will go to heaven or something.
6:23 PM, February 19, 2009
Michelle said...I see tons of posts about people being bored, not having anything to do, etc. I am having the exact opposite experience.....The place where I am serving was supposed to get two VISTAs, they only got me....so they took both VADs and pretty much stapled them together. I have two supervisors, one doesn't speak to me, never has time to do supervisions,one time refused to sign my time sheet because she was "too busy" and thinks I'm an idiot because she gave me projects that are so vague the VISTA supervisor can't even tell me what I do after reading my VAD. The other one is constantly giving me more to do and expects miracles. The other day she told me I need to fill out stat sheets (a stat sheet where I am is a minute by minute break down of your day and what you do all day). One of the girls I work with told me flat out that my supervisor thinks I'm not doing anything and that is why she wants me to do them. She expects me to do everything the last two VISTAs they had did, plus all the new projects for the other department as well. I feel like a slave not a volunteer.
3:55 PM, February 21, 2009
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3:55 PM, February 21, 2009
projectalice said...To Michelle and everyone else, here is my email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to figure this sh*&t out. Americorp is this subculture of amazing, smart, marginalized people who are manhandled more then the rest of the work force. I am trying to figure a way out of my "service" to be honest. But I want to figure out a way to either screen these "projects" that we get given, either with information on an underground website or something. This is so messed up. There are thousands of us going through a hard time, there must be a way to figure this out. As far as I can see, Americorps members tend to be bright, free thinkers who become slaves. This is so not o.k with me, if enough of us say something I think this could change. To anyone struggling out there to make their year into something good, I am with you, I know what you are going through and this is an old service program that needs to change.
8:05 PM, February 21, 2009
Heather said...Wow, I'm amazed at the response this post has generated!
I see that a lot of the dissidents are VISTA placed.
I have no experience with VISTA, just with AmeriCorps State programs. VISTA may well suck. I remember my Program Supervisor mentioning that at some point.
Are some of you NCCC Corps as well? There seems to be a lot of talk about moving cross country?
I didn't have to move anywhere - why in the world would you look for service opportunities outside of your community if you don't want to move?
Maybe I got "lucky" with my program, site, and various supervisors. I doubt I affected change on a major level, but I helped people out most days.
Each one reach one...
10:38 PM, February 26, 2009
Michelle said...I didn't move for my VISTA position, I do have a 30 to 40 minute commute each way though. I'm a "non-traditional" VISTA, I'm in my thirties, I have school age kids. I have almost ten years of experience in non-profits, so I didn't go into this expecting to save the world or enact huge changes....I just wanted to put my skills to good use in a way that would help others. I definitely do that, but if you look at the job description of what I signed up to do and what I do now......it's not anything remotely the same. I really thought I was the only one in my program having this type of issue, but when I talked to my program supervisor (not my site supervisor) she said that others are having issues as well....although not to the degree that I am. When we have our monthly meetings and we do updates, everyone else is doing what you would expect a VISTA to be doing.....I'm the only one who has to explain to my supervisor what I do because no one understands how it relates to VISTA.
3:30 PM, February 28, 2009
Anonymous said..."Americorps VISTA Sucks" "I Hate Americorps" Dittooooo....:(. Sucks HARD.
4:51 PM, March 04, 2009
Anonymous said...Does anyione know if you complain on your exit interview if they find out or anything? I Think there was a time differnt politicians had considered doing away with Americorps. Now that I am doing it, I wish they had. Eithor that or at least raise the education award. 4 grand, sweet that will pay for my text books.
1:28 PM, March 10, 2009
20-something-woman said...Okay, I have to comment because I too am an AmeriCorps and am thinking about leaving early. I definitely think there should be some type of website about AmeriCorps that is more prolific---it took a TON of digging through the Internet to even find this, to sift through all of the propoganda (funded by AmeriCorps)--there needs to be more honesty.
For the most part, my experience has been positive--it has been rewarding and I have learned a lot--but I have some serious qualms. I am also in a slightly different position than most because I had a few years of professional experience before joining AmeriCorps, and CHOSE to walk away from a job paying almost 4 times more because I was unhappy. However, here are a few things:
1. I would NOT recommend AmeriCorps, unless: you are a recent college graduate and can't get a job elsewhere; you are a service-minded recent graduate who was rejected by the PeaceCorps or Teach for America (both way better programs); OR you know the organization well, the employees there, and what exactly you will be doing.
2. The pay is absolutely outrageous. I have worked three, four jobs while doing my AmeriCorps job, ranging from part-time teaching to tutoring to waitressing to babysitting. I live in a cheap town, but there is no way I can live off $388 every two weeks. Total b*shit. The stipend hasn't been raised since Americorps started FIFTEEN YEARS AGO.
3. Non-profits, to make a sweeping generalization, are kind of lame. They are disorganized, lack technology, are underfunded, and often have weird hierarchies/lids on information (which is TOTALLY unnecessary--we're not dealing with the Pentagon here).
Whoever is spreading lies about a single mother having to pay back her stipend because she had a job at Starbucks, and those types of things--don't spread that kind of misinformation. You're discrediting people who have REAL and SERIOUS ideas about how to reform the mess that is AmeriCorps.
1:00 AM, March 21, 2009
VISTA has totally different rules than other AmeriCorps programs, and VISTA was the one going after the woman who took a second job.
11:34 AM, March 21, 2009
Anonymous said...My AmeriCorps director, Emily Button, told me back in October that she was my "safety net" and "support system" She explained to me that a year in AmeriCorps would be very trying, and that it would be impossible to make it through without a support network.
When I was assaulted, I called her that night and told her about it. She said that if I needed anything I should ask. When she met with my site supervisor and me to fill out an incident report for AmeriCorps he recommended that I see a counselor. I told her that I was interested in this. She sent me an email, that had a link to one place to get counseling. I emailed them, but never heard anything back. That was the end of that.
Another AmeriCorps member, Craig, got stabbed in the arm. Sadly that is the end of that story. There wasn't much of any response to support him.
When he got robbed at gun point and beaten the week of christmas across the street from his apartment building he told our AmeriCorps director. She said she hoped he was allright and that she was sorry, etc. The rest of the AmeriCorps "team" didn't know it happened. So he spent the next week locked in his apartment, afraid and alone.
A month later he was robbed at gun point again. This time inside his apartment building, that our AmeriCorps program was leasing him, they had told him the neighborhood was fairly safe after all. So why not live there? Emily Button took him to the ER, then had him spend the night at her parent's house. The next morning she dropped him off at his apartment. That was the sum total of the support he received from AmeriCorps. He was actually called by the Director of US, Stephanie Buckley, two days after Craig was assault he was woken up by Ms. Buckley who demanded that he come to her office at 11am that morning. He explained that he was really tired, he hadn't been sleeping well because he was badly bruised and hadn't gotten his pain killers for his broken lip or the big lump on his head from where he'd been pistol whipped. She said "I don't know what to tell you , but you need to come to my office". He asked if she was going to pick him up, or send someone else to. He was a bit hesitant to wander through the neighborhood where he had been robbed at gun point twice in the past thirty days. She said regardless of the fact no one was going to pick him up, that he need to come to her office. He then told her off.
Luckily a AmeriCorps member overheard what happened to Craig, and about 5 of us were able to go over and spend time with him. We brought him groceries because he didn't have any and his wallet was stolen. We escorted him to the police station to follow up, and to the bank for a new card. We were happy to support him, but hoped AmeriCorps would be too.
That friday (a few days after his second robbery) another AmeriCorps member, Joey, (of the 5 of us who knew what happened, out of a group of about 30) asked "I would like to discuss what is being done by AmeriCorps to support Craig". Our AmeriCorps director became extremely defensive and said that question was "extremely inappropriate" to discuss the situation, that it was a private matter, that they were handling it, and it wasn't our job. She also explained that she had never had an AmeriCorps member get assaulted three times in a year.
About an hour later Joey received a phone call from Stephanie Buckley chastising him for his tone, and how it was wildly inappropriate for him to discuss the situation.
The following week when Craig met with Ms. Buckley and Ms. Button they told him that they wanted him to quit AmeriCorps and take a partial education award. They said that they couldn't secure his safety, and that his experience "was terrifying other Americorps members". Which is ridiculous because one I am positive they just made that up, and two they think its acceptable to punish the victim of a violent crime because it makes other people feel unsafe? Can you honestly imagine a sorority house asking a girl to quit because she was date raped? or a police department asking an officer who was shot to quit? Its asinine.
None the less Craig told them that he was intent on finishing his year.
When Craig expressed to Ms. Button that he didn't feel supported by AmeriCorps she argued with him saying "I took you to the hospital"
In that same conversation Ms. Button told Craig that she felt he did not have a support network in DC.
It seems contradictory to me for her to hold the positions that: she is his support network, she is adequately supporting him, he does not have an adequate support network.
No effort was ever made by AmeriCorps or US vets to possibly move him out of his neighborhood. Even though Ms. Button recognized that there was the possibility that he was being targeted.
Finally Craig did quit. He was pestered by US VETS because he hadn't re-embursed them for paying for his prescription. Yes, they did fill his prescription, then Joey and I took it to him. They bugged him for small things like that, and he finally had enough and quit.
7:52 PM, April 04, 2009
Whatyeah said...I finally quit my position last month after having a complete mental breakdown. I was lucky enough to have received a medical termination, but have been unable to find alternative employment. Although my situation was not nearly as bad as some, I can empathize with the lack of a support network. I have been thrust into the arms of the same community organizations I was once supporting, but to no avail. Basically, Americorps has left me high and dry as far as post-termination support. Why do they use us like this? Not only do I feel used, but I don't feel like any of the work I did has made any difference. Instead, I am placed into the same situation as the people that I was supposed to be helping.
11:44 PM, April 04, 2009
Anonymous said...What can I say except "thank you, thank you, thank you!" to all those who posted their traumatic AmeriCorps experiences. (Or should I say AmeriCrap).
I am in utter amazement and disgust that these non-profits who apply for AmeriCorps funding get to do whatever they want to their members; not only that, but, as the case is with my group, they allow members to traumatize other members without any repercussions or discipline.
AmeriCorps is a very screwed up system (to put it mildly) that doesn't disclose the true nature of its function: it is merely a funding umbrella and they don't enforce whatever rules they put on non-profits that get AmeriCorps funding.