Saturday, December 06, 2008

"Teach for America", military and other service opportunities attract college students in tough economy


More college students are becoming interested in Teach for America and other service opportunities, according to Megan Greenwell in a front page article in The Washington Post, Saturday Dec. 6. The title of the article is “Applicants Flock to Teacher Corps for Needy Areas,” link here.

The recent HBO film "Hard Times at Douglas High: A 'No Child Left Behind' Report Card
", about an inner city Baltimore high school, demonstrates the problems that young teachers will have and shows that they need to have practical experience before with inner city or poor children.

All of this happens while unemployment accelerated sharply in November up to 6.5%. Over 500000 jobs were lost in November, when the expected loss had been 300000. The pace of job loss is accelerating, like a derivative in calculus. Some states will have serious problems paying claims from the unemployment insurance coffers without federal assistance. Students certainly have an economic incentive to look at all kinds of service opportunities. For example, engineers could work on clean water or other infrastructure projects in developing countries funded by private charities and organizations.

Many service jobs or opportunities expect to see a track record of volunteer service before. This is true of the Peace Corps application.

Military service is obviously going to be more attractive to many young people, especially those with multiple language skills. This makes ending the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy a high priority.

We seem to be in the classic economics textbook deflationary depression cycle, triggered by the collapse of the debt pyramid with the mortgage mess and improper securitization of the default risk. However, the need to solve “real problems” with infrastructure, clean and renewable energy, and there is obvious need in service areas. These, and overriding concerns about sudden international disruption, could complicate the psychology

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