It’s puzzling why some members of Congress are so keen to blot out AmeriCorps — the umbrella agency that helps to fund City Year, Teach for America, and other highly regarded programs. Vocal Republican critics, some of whom have tried to eliminate the program entirely, rightly demand quality, efficiency, and accountability. But that evidence is already right in front of them in the form of the thousands of graduates of highly competitive universities who opt to strengthen their communities and country through national service. Last year, 582,000 applicants of all ages competed for roughly 80,000 slots.
And national-service programs are increasingly providing desperately needed enrichment for schoolchildren, in Boston and elsewhere. At City Year, members of the national service team commit to an 11-hour workday at the nation’s toughest schools for a $12,000 annual stipend. Currently, City Year members are operating in 21 city schools. The recruits aren’t licensed educators, but they are contributing in major ways to the success of Boston students, especially in the schools designated by the state as in dire need of academic improvement.