I’m a big believer in national service. That obviously includes military service, but I don’t think that should be the only way people can help their country. I think being a teacher (or a doctor, or a lawyer, or plenty of other things) in an area where they really need you counts. I think being a religious leader counts. I think creating public art counts. I think working for a charity counts. I think being rich and donating salaries for people doing the work counts. I’m pretty flexible about the definition, but I think the more people helping out, the better.
So of course I love Teach For America for facilitating jobs for so many people in our education system, but I also love TFA for being such an effective organization that it inspires imitators. The latest is Code For America, which is recruiting web developers, designers and product managers to help city governments become more “efficient, transparent, and participatory.” They are starting out in Boston, DC, Boulder, Seattle, and Philadelphia. It’s an 11-month paid commitment and they’re now accepting their first round of applications. I love it.