An Inclusive Litany

7/17/00

As part of the goals set for the previously unauditable 1993 AmeriCorps program, which pays "volunteers" competitive wages, members of Mississippi Action for Community Education (MACE) were obliged to "give a reflection and self-assessment" on their own personal growth, the result being measured by "self/diagnosis [sic] in an end-of-year survey." Each AmeriCorps member would be expected to achieve "a 75% increase on average in understanding about self." The Milwaukee Community Services Corps, which concentrates on "Ethical Training," would run Ethical Fitness workshops, after which, "An increase in knowledge by at least 50% is mandatory."

Energy Express, a literacy program run under AmeriCorps' auspices, enrolls 600 college students to teach in West Virginia classrooms each summer. When asked how much training he received to teach children how to read, AmeriCorps member Brian Farar said, "We're not teaching them to read—we are just exposing them [to reading] and getting them to like it. You just want them to think they're doing a good job." AmeriCorps' biggest expense in running such literacy programs is to train its own members on General Equivalency Degree (GED) preparation. Some AmeriCorps programs don't even require high school equivalency, and simply retrain welfare recipients as reading tutors, despite the fact that welfare recipients are among the least literate groups in American society.

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