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Snacks by Erik Peterson
JUL
30

POLICY
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Join us in celebrating #summermeals & #summerlearning today!

By Erik Peterson

In the summer of 1993, I worked as a staff member at the DC Schools Project’s Summer Enrichment Program hosted by Georgetown University in Washington, DC. That summer (and the next), a small staff of college students and I had the absolute honor of working closely with about 100 amazing DC middle school students, for whom English was not most of the students’ first language. I have a number of memories from that summer from helping students write, direct and act in their own original play to taking them to the beach in Delaware—for most, their first time to ever visit the ocean.

While there was a lot of fun and studying during those six-hour days, what sticks out the most was lunch time. It was over lunch that I got to know the teens and they got to know and respect each other. The opportunities for mentoring and relationship-building had a tremendous impact on the students and the staff, and it was the noontime meal that broke down the barriers between staff and participants and forged those connections.

Today, the Afterschool Alliance is joining forces with the YMCA, the National Recreation and Park AssociationBoys & Girls Clubs of America, the National AfterSchool Association, the Food Research and Action Center, the National Summer Learning Association and others to celebrate the power of linking summer nutrition programs with summer learning programs. While logistics and access issues associated with these programs are not always easy for providers, we know that providing nutritious meals through the USDA Summer Food Program is a critical part of successful summer learning programs. For some young people, meals are the hook that helps them get in the door and unlocks experiences like swim lessons, reading groups and robotic teams. For others, a nourishing meal silences a grumbling tummy and helps them focus on the learning at hand.

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learn more about: Congress Federal Policy Health and Wellness Legislation Nutrition Summer Learning
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JUL
24

POLICY
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Senate Judiciary Committee passes Juvenile Justice reauthorization bill

By Erik Peterson

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a markup of S. 1169, the bipartisan Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2015. The measure would authorize critical juvenile justice programs operated through the Department of Justice and originally enacted through the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Protection Act of 1974 (JJDPA) which last expired in 2007.

From an out-of-school-time program perspective, programs previously funded in JJDPA assist counties and communities in investing in collaborative, community-based delinquency prevention efforts to reach youth in need. Title V delinquency prevention funds are used by counties to support prevention programs targeting youth at risk of becoming delinquent or to intervene with first-time and non-serious offenders to keep them out of the juvenile justice system.

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learn more about: Congress Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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JUL
16

POLICY
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Senate ESEA bill, the Every Child Achieves Act, passes Senate and strengthens afterschool programs

By Erik Peterson

For the first time since 2001, the U.S. Senate passed a federal K-12 education bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), approving the bipartisan Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177) by a vote of 81 to 17 and sending a message that No Child Left Behind should be replaced. The legislation passed with strong bipartisan language reauthorizing and strengthening the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative which supports local school-community partnerships that provide effective before-school, afterschool and summer learning programs to more than 1.6 million students in all 50 states. The next step in the process will be a conference committee between the House and Senate with the goal of producing a compromise bill that can pass both chambers and be signed into law by the President.   

Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant issued a statement in support of passage of the bill, stating in part:

The Senate today took a huge step to strengthen our children’s future by preserving dedicated funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) in its Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization, the Every Child Achieves Act. Strong, bipartisan support for the afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and help working families made this outcome possible.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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JUL
16

POLICY
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ESEA day 6: Nearing the finish line

By Erik Peterson

The Senate neared the end of its consideration of the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) (S. 1177) yesterday, voting 86-12 to invoke cloture and start a 30-hour clock on debate that would end with a final vote on the bill Thursday, July 16. Four amendments were voted on late in the afternoon yesterday and all four failed to pass, including SA #2161 offered by Sen. Kirk (R-IL) to ensure that States measure and report on indicators of student access to critical educational resources and identify disparities in such resources, and SA #2241 offered by Sen. Murphy (D-CT) to change the ECAA’s accountability requirements by increasing subgroup accountability for underperforming groups. Twenty one amendments deemed non-controversial passed by unanimous consent.

The stage is set for a final vote later today, preceded by votes on about 19 additional amendments, including SA # 2100 offered by Sen Brown (D-OH) that would authorize the Full Service Community Schools grant program.

Stayed tuned for additional updates on the blog later today, and follow the latest on Twitter at @afterschool4all. And as always, all Senate action is broadcast on C-SPAN2 here and afterschool supporters can continue reaching out to Senators in support of afterschool and summer learning programs being strengthened by the Every Child Achieves Act.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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JUL
15

POLICY
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ESEA days 4 and 5: Every Child Achieves Act heads to a final vote later this week?

By Erik Peterson

On the afternoon of July 13th and all day July 14th, the Senate resumed consideration of the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177). A number of Senators, including Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Al Franken (D-MN) spoke in support of S. 1177 and previewed amendments they have filed and sought the support of their colleagues. A final vote on the bill could happen before the end of the week.

Yesterday evening on the Senate floor, several Senators acknowledged the importance of the 21st CCLC section included within the bill. Sen. Murkowski (R-AK), co-sponsor of the Afterschool for America’s Children Act and a great champion of afterschool programs, stated the following:

I acknowledge the work that I was able to do with Senator Boxer. Together we worked to craft the support for the Afterschool for America's Children Act. She and I worked on this bill to update and strengthen the 21st Century Community Learning Centers afterschool program across the country. We worked with a number of other Members in the Senate to make sure that this important program--the program that keeps our children safe and engaged after school and during the summer--works for all of our States. We worked with the chairman and ranking member, and after a lot of good negotiation, the Afterschool for America's Children Act, with some amendment, was included in the Every Child Achieves Act, and this was done by unanimous consent in the HELP Committee, which I appreciate.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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JUL
10

POLICY
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ESEA day three: Senator Boxer speaks out on 21st CCLC, resource coordinator amendment passes

By Erik Peterson

Day three of the U.S. Senate’s deliberation of S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (ECAA) started off with one of the most controversial amendments offered. Amendment #2110, introduced by Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), originally introduced in the Senate as the Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success Act, would essentially allow states to opt out of federal education regulations and continue to receive federal funds.  The amendment was defeated 54 to 44 by recorded vote. Also known as the A+ amendment, its House companion was defeated earlier in the week prior to final passage of HR 5, The Student Success Act.

Meanwhile, the Senate displayed overwhelming support for community schools, voting 98-0 for Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) amendment to make community school site resource coordinators an allowable use of funds for Title IV in ESEA. Sen. Brown’s bipartisan amendment (SA 2099) with Sens. Manchin (D-WV) and Capito (R-WV) prioritizes strong coordination and relationships between schools and community based partners. Sen. Brown is expected to introduce an additional amendment to fund 5 year grants for Full Service Community Schools when ESEA debate resumes next week.

During floor debate, Afterschool Caucus co-chair Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) spoke passionately about afterschool and 21st CCLC, thanking Sens. Murkowski and Murray for their help with the 21st CCLC amendment that passed in Committee mark-up and addressing her commitment over the years to afterschool programming and the need to preserve it as a separate funding stream. While mentioning that currently 11.3 million children are still unsupervised between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m. each day, Sen. Boxer recounted stories of children kept safe and successful through access to afterschool programming as well as the benefits to working parents in having a safe place for their children to go. Sen. Boxer also discussed the strengthening of the 21st CCLC program based on the Afterschool for America’s Children Act which directs programs to complement school-time academic learning. “Our kids don’t stop learning just because the clock strikes two, or three, or four. They keep learning”, Boxer said. “So, the afterschool activities are very important”. (You can listen to Sen. Boxer speak here: July 9th between times 6:39 and 6:45). Her full comments are below:

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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JUL
9

POLICY
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ESEA day two: HR 5 passes House, Sen. Shaheen praises afterschool STEM in Senate

By Erik Peterson

After pulling it from the House floor before a final vote last February, the U.S. House of Representatives continued debate of HR 5, the Student Success Act, yesterday afternoon. The House passed the bill last night with 218 Republicans supporting the legislation and all Democrats and handful of Republicans voting against it. The final vote was 218 to 213 in favor of passing HR 5. The White House has issued a veto threat of the Student Success Act, criticizing the lack of accountability measures and lack of supports for vulnerable children. Of note to friends of afterschool, Rep. Loebsack’s (D-IA) amendment supporting partnerships that provide digital learning in rural schools passed by a vote of 218-213. The stage is now set for a House-Senate conference, assuming the Senate is able to pass the Every Child Achieves Act soon. 

A short distance from the House floor, the U.S. Senate continued its consideration yesterday of S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (ECAA), a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) which is currently known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The debate was managed by the bill’s coauthors, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), and debate included consideration of a number of amendments. Of note, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Senator Thad Cochran’s (R-MS) amendment to improve support for school libraries was adopted 98-0; Senator Murray’s amendment to increase equity in sports and Senator Michael Bennet’s (D-CO) amendment calling for a GAO study on all existing federal agency services intended to support students were passed by voice vote.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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JUL
8

POLICY
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Day one of ESEA week: Senate, House begin consideration of federal education law

By Erik Peterson

Yesterday, for the first time since 2001, the full Senate began debating the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177), legislation that would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and serve as a federal blueprint for the nation’s 50 million K-12 students. At the same time, on the other side of Capitol Hill, the House of Representatives Rules Committee began laying the groundwork for a return to the House floor today of their version of ESEA reauthorization, the Students Success Act (HR 5). The ESEA reauthorization process has significant implications for afterschool and summer learning programs as key federal funding like the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative is authorized within the bill. Weigh in with Congress in support of afterschool now.

On the Senate side, the stage was set for floor debate Tuesday afternoon with Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) giving opening speeches on the importance of striking the right balance between federal, state and local support for education. Dozens of amendments have already been filed by Senators, although given the Senate’s rules regarding floor debate, it is unclear how many will ultimately be offered and subjected to floor votes. Among the amendments pertaining to afterschool are several by Sens. Brown (D-OH) and Manchin (D-WV) that support community school efforts. Senator Alexander stated he expects the first recorded votes on amendments will be today. Senate action will be broadcast on C-SPAN2.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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