Among the most prominent of President Bush's "thousand points of light" are volunteers who work with our nation's students. The last several decades show considerable growth in the numbers of school volunteers, with increasing participation by people from the business community, retired citizens, and college students, in addition to the traditionally active mothers of school children.
Yet, we must do more to ensure the success of volunteer programs in schools. It is not enough to assume that any volunteer effort will produce results, nor is it wise to use volunteers simply because they are "free."
This new volume from the National Research Council provides the first overview ever compiled of volunteer activity in U.S. public schools--reporting on how volunteers are being used in schools, what factors make programs successful, what further research will enhance our ability to create good programs, and what directions our national policy should take.
Included in this study of volunteers in public schools are the reports of the committee's site visits to 13 volunteer programs identified as "exemplary" from Boston Partners in Education to "Project Rescue" for dropout prevention in Corsicana, Texas. Each site report describes local economic conditions and their effects on education, the organization and size of the school system, and the volunteer program--with details on how each program functions and what results have been achieved.
This book will be immediately useful to federal, state, and local policymakers, school boards and administrators, principals and teachers, PTA members, business firms involved with schools, and, of course, managers or coordinators of volunteer activities and concerned volunteers.
National Research Council. Volunteers in Public Schools. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1990.
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