Katie has already addressed this issue on her blog, but I wanted to discuss it as well. Recently, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget has declared the AmeriCorps*NCCC program “ineffective” and recommends the program be terminated. Based on this assessment, President Bush’s proposed national budget for FY 2007 provides no funding for the continuation of the program.
I understand the need to use taxpayers’ funds in the most effective manner, but I also believe that a program such as the NCCC is not a program whose merits should be weighed solely on a monetary scale. The opportunities and experiences that the program provided for me, for Katie, and for countless others- not least of which are those on the receiving end of the community service- are hard to quantify. Regardless of whether you are an alumni or not, if you think that this program is worth saving, act now and contact your congressional representatives urging that funding for the program be reinstituted. This is not an over-reaction. This is a legitimate concern, and if not addressed, the program will be terminated.
Some helpful links so that you may make informed decisions regarding this program:
First, click HERE to read about the NCCC program. Not all AmeriCorps programs are in danger of elimination at this time, just the NCCC.
Click HERE to read a summary of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget review of the program. I’d like to point out that 2 of the 3 criticisms of the NCCC revolve around bureaucratic aspects of the program, not the intrinsic value. And the last of the three doesn’t say that the program is NOT achieving its goals, but that it is hard to measure the program’s achievement. I am OK with a program that may cost on the front-end if it reaps benefits down the road in a more active and informed citizenry.
Click HERE to contact your state’s elected officials. You should be able to drop an email message to your congressional representatives. Save yourself some time: write one letter, copy and paste it into the contact form for each representative.
Is this a flawless program? No, and I have no doubt that the bureaucratic system of the NCCC should be improved upon. Yet, you cannot improve upon something you scrap. Reevaluate it. Restructure it. But don’t eliminate the whole program. If you think the NCCC is worth saving, I do urge you to jump online and get the word out to Congress.