National Service: Improving Learning, Strengthening Schools
At a time when America is challenged to improve education and ensure our national growth and prosperity, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is leading a citizen-driven effort to provide students across the country with the skills and experiences they need to succeed in the 21st century.
Given the chance, all students can succeed. At CNCS, we have a simple strategy: create the conditions that make children and youth want to learn, and give them the opportunity to achieve. The most important support we can give our students is the attention of caring, capable individuals who are dedicated to helping them learn. We train and support educators, and connect skilled volunteers with students who benefit from their guidance. This is “people power”— millions of people serving, to help millions of students succeed.
Experts agree: the strategies that best help students achieve include family involvement, tutoring, mentoring, teacher support, and expanded learning opportunities. They also include giving students the chance to serve—to contribute through meaningful experiences that teach them about their world inside and outside the classroom or the campus.
Education has always been one of our highest priorities. As part of the expanded mandate of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act and our new Strategic Plan, we are placing a greater emphasis on identifying strategies and programs that work, funding them, and driving innovation in education. Over the next five years, we will bring our proven national service efforts to more schools and communities to help more students graduate from high school, pursue higher education, and compete in the global economy.
Investment and Impact
- We annually invest more than $550 million—or more than half of our funding—in education, including $197 million in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards for college tuition and student loan repayments.
- We tutor, mentor, and educate more than three million disadvantaged youth, helping our most vulnerable students learn, engage, and achieve.
- We engage more than one million students in service-learning, including 400,000 disadvantaged youth, who use what they learn in the classroom to improve their communities.
- We train, support, and mobilize more than 44,000 professional educators who work in K-12 and college classrooms across the country.
- We engage more than 18,000 AmeriCorps members as teachers, tutors, mentors, and counselors to help educate students from cradle to career.
Each of the agency’s programs address national education challenges in unique ways:
AmeriCorps members provide both in-school and after-school support to students in need, and receive Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards to fund their own education and repay student loans.
Senior Corps mobilizes more than 50,000 seniors aged 55 and older through RSVP and the Foster Grandparent program who improve educational outcomes through volunteer service as mentors, tutors, and teacher aides.
These efforts, in collaboration with our partners and programs, are leading to increased school attendance and classroom engagement, as well as improved performance on achievement tests. Our programs help prepare graduates to succeed in college, work, and life.
- Youth are our nation’s greatest asset. Ensuring they receive the highest quality education must be our greatest concern.
- Our education system doesn’t work for all students—too many don’t get the support they need. When we fail to ignite the talents and ambitions of our children today, we face the consequences tomorrow.
- Given the chance, all students can succeed. Those who have traditionally been excluded from the promise of a good public education need our targeted attention.
- Learning extends beyond school walls and campus borders. The community must become the classroom and the classroom must welcome the community.
- When we give students opportunities to solve problems and interact with role models throughout the community, it lays the groundwork for a love of learning and a lifetime of service.
National Service In Action:
- AmeriCorps tutors and mentors working through City Year have helped 61% of students in 4th and 5th grades increase one or more grade levels.
- As a result of their service-learning engagement, Learn and Serve America 5th graders in Michigan significantly outperformed peers on state achievement tests in writing and social studies.
- AmeriCorps members working through Minnesota Reading Corps have helped 74% of their 3rd grade students reading below grade level pass the 3rd grade state test.
- Experience Corps AmeriCorps members have helped students increase their gradespecific reading skills by 40% compared to their peers.
- With the support of CNCS, Communities in Schools is increasing graduation rates of disadvantaged students in almost 50% of the schools they serve.