Leader sees cross-generational value in a nationwide education corps
- An estimated 10,000 baby boomers retire every day, creating a vast pool of highly skilled professionals with extra time on their hands, Pace University President Marvin Krislov writes in a column for Forbes.
- Research shows that one-on-one and small group interventions can provide at-risk youth with the assistance and motivation they need to stay in school.
- Creating an "education corps" comprised of retiring baby boomers willing to volunteer as tutors and mentors in high-poverty schools could go a long way toward helping at-risk youth finish high school and pursue a college a degree, Krislov writes.
A combination of factors including low salaries, high student loans and substandard teaching conditions have contributed to a critical teacher shortage throughout the U.S., especially in math, science, special education and English as a second language.
The problem is particularly acute in low-income, high-minority schools where the teacher attrition rate far exceeds the national average of 8%. To fill the void, education leaders have come up with myriad ways of enticing new faces, including baby boomers, into the classroom to teach full-time or help fill in the gaps for at-risk youth.
AARP’s Experience Corps, for example, is made up of nearly 2,000 volunteers who assist elementary school students with literacy skills in more than 20 cities around the country. The program has been in place since the mid ‘90s, and researchers have found that in addition to providing a significant boost to student achievement, it contributes to the mental and physical well-being of volunteers.