My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Reading Partners, Oakland, CA, USA
Reading Partners seems to be one of the better run Americorps program because there are adequate checks and balances built into the system, solid administrative structure, decent training, reasonable hours, and accountability maybe not just on paper. The idea of enhancing reading opportunities in urban areas seems nice. The curricula is well-designed, but there should be more flexibility with regard to implementation. RP's hiring practices seems to favor upper middle income white (and male) students. There are few minorities hired to work for Reading Partners, and this also was reflected at the charter school setting I volunteered at this year.
As to why the numbers of charter schools are skyrocketing , rife unemployment, and growing gaps between rich and poor at a time when multinational financiers are reaping record profits with the need for tax write-offs via charities...sadly or ironically, it actually justifies Reading Partners in order to alleviate the burdens of over-sized classrooms or the newbie mostly young white teachers hired via Teach for America or other skeletal recruitment programs. So, for instance, at the most recent charter school I volunteered at, over 80% of their staff were under thirty and inexperienced, and yes, age and race discrimination seemed pretty obvious, they being all mostly white and under thirty. It makes you feel that they cannot consider someone as old and overqualified as me to work there, such a crying shame, so it seems there is a lot of initial built-in rigidity with regard to hiring practices.
If you are an experienced older worker, you may not enjoy being a cog in the wheel for a younger person who strikes you as sort of a blockhead typecast wannabee unconscious authoritarian, but then again, there is some enjoyment in watching the students enjoy reading on their own. Keep repeating that last phrase like a mantra to yourself, especially if you are in the education field and underemployed. (Incidentally or not, it was a 100% black student body for vanilla chocolate creme cookie snapshot of the staff/student/auxiliary ratios).
Regarding employment, RP uses Job Score, a cheesy virtual placement firm, to help sort through the masses of applications. Again, it seems mostly about age, race, connections, and check-off criteria, how that computerized routine works. Don't count on being hired to work for them, and if you are selected, well great, welcome to the Elect.
Would you volunteer for this group again?
For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?
Did the organization use your time wisely?
Would you recommend this group to a friend?
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?