While trying to start up the Cooper Union Volunteer Tutoring Initiative, I have discovered an interesting policy in NYC’s Department of Education that is of interests to students of Game Theory.
In order for a volunteer to be in contact with public school children on school property, he or she must be fingerprinted in order for the DoE to do a criminal background check, paid for by the volunteer. The monetary cost would be an obvious disincentive to volunteer, so each school is allowed to opt to pay the cost of the volunteer’s fingerprinting out of their own budgets. This however, does not actually solve the problem because it creates an environment similar to that of the volunteer’s dilemma.
In this case, no school wants to pay the fingerprinting fee for volunteers because they would rather that other schools foot the bill. This is just bad policy because it leads to fewer volunteer’s working with NYC’s children. With policies like these it’s not hard to see why our schools aren’t doing too well…..
For more information about the tutoring initiative, you may contact us at coopertutors at gmail dot com