Wanted: A Civilian Coronavirus CorpsRoundup
tags: New Deal, childcare, COVID-19, Public works
Jonathan Zimmerman teaches education and history at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of the forthcoming “The Amateur Hour: A History of College Teaching in America.”
Millions of American working parents are wondering how they will care for their children in the fall, when most kids will be in school for just a few days a week — if they go to school at all.
Meanwhile, millions of U.S. college students are wondering whether they should return to campus, now that universities are putting most classes online and canceling many other activities.
Can you spell synergy? We could create one right now, by enlisting college students and other young adults in caring for our out-of-school kids.
Call it the Civilian Coronavirus Corps. In exchange for a small stipend, each enlistee would be paired with a small group of children for the year. On the days when the kids aren’t in school, CCC members would monitor their online instruction. And they also would engage the kids in sports, art, music, and all of the other fun things they’d be missing otherwise.
And fortunately, we already have a template for it: the original CCC.
I’m talking about the Civilian Conservation Corps, which sent 2.5 million young men across the country between 1933 and 1942 to dig canals, stock ponds, and — most of all — to plant trees. By the 1950s, half of the planted trees in the United States had been sowed by the CCC.
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