The current Prime Minister of Australia has proposed a new initiative that would assist working parents by providing $A450 million (Australian Dollars) to boost afterschool programs in the country. The pledge was made as part of the Prime Minister’s recently launched re-election campaign. Last month the Australian press covered the shortage of afterschool programs for working parents.
The extra funding would be provided under the government's Better Schools plan and would involve support for about 500 schools interested in starting afterschool programs or enhancing current programs. The before-school and afterschool programs could open as early as 7 a.m. and run until 7 p.m., with extra hours provided during school holidays.
According to the Prime Minister’s press release, the afterschool program funding would cover new services, such as music programs, supervised sport and homework clubs, with grants of up to $A200,000 available to schools. The initiative, to start next year, would benefit 345,000 children aged 5 to 12 years old. The Prime Minister’s proposal harkens back to President Obama’s 2008 campaign pledge to double afterschool funding in the US—a campaign promise that has yet to be fulfilled.
A new report released late last month by Maryland Hunger Solutions finds that afterschool meals are reaching more than triple the amount of low-income Maryland children than when the federally funded At-Risk Afterschool Meal Program was first implemented in the state three years ago.
According to the report, Serving Maryland’s Children: The Afterschool Meal Program, every day during the 2011-2012 school year an average of 11,433 children received meals at 440 afterschool programs in Maryland through the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP) At-Risk Afterschool Meal Program, an increase from 2009-2010, the first year of the program, when 126 afterschool programs served meals to 3,404 children per day.
The largest growth in average daily participation was seen in Baltimore City, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.
The report attributed collaboration as the key to the growth. A partnership between Maryland State Department of Education, Maryland Hunger Solutions, the Maryland Out of School Time Network (MOST) and the Governor’s Office for Children (GOC) has been crucial to the successful launch and expansion of the At-Risk Afterschool Meal Program at the state level. At the local level, Maryland Hunger Solutions convened community leaders to determine strategies for afterschool meals that would work best for their jurisdiction and the low-income children they serve.
Today the Afterschool Alliance submitted comments to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the Department of Health and Human Services on the ACF’s proposed rule to amend the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) regulations. According to ACF, this proposed rule would strengthen health and safety requirements for child care providers, reflect current state and local practices to improve the quality of child care, infuse new accountability for federal tax dollars, and leverage the latest knowledge and research in the field of early care and education to better serve low-income children and families.
In comments to ACF, the Afterschool Alliance applauded the direction ACF is heading by proposing a rule emphasizing that quality child care opportunities are provided to parents, and focusing on improving health and safety standards. ACF was commended for emphasizing the value of quality school age before-school and afterschool programs, recognizing the collaborative role played by statewide afterschool networks, and for highlighting the importance of a continuity of care for children aging out of early care and phasing into school-age care.
Today Congress goes on a month-long recess. Representatives and senators will be home until Sept. 9 meeting with constituents and hosting Town Hall meetings. Plan now to reach out to your Members of Congress during this recess to emphasize the need for continued federal support of afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs.
Did you know that the Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) initiative was cut by $60 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 as a result of the sequester?
More than 60,000 children are expected to lose access to quality afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs as a result of the cut. Your Members of Congress need to hear from you this month before they continue to tackle 2014 spending for education programs like 21st CCLC when they return to session this fall.
If you have not already reached out to your representative and senators, here are five actions you can take:
On Wednesday the bipartisan Workforce Investment Act (WIA) reauthorization bill passed through the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee by an 18-3 vote, and will now be considered by the full Senate. The House ofRepresentatives passed their version, the SKILLS Act (HR 803), earlier this year.
The original WIA legislation was first passed by Congress in 1998 and has been overdue for reauthorization since 2003. The reauthorization bill passed by the committee contains changes to the legislation that reflect the ever-changing global economy, input from business, education and labor groups, and more than a decade of experience with existing programs. The bipartisan reauthorization bill was co-sponsored by Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN).
From an afterschool and summer learning perspective, the bill expands opportunities for youth who are out of school, out of work and at risk by increasing the percentage of funding dedicated to assisting out-of-school youth and young adults to 75 percent. For youth, the bill:
The Republican Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bill passed the House of Representatives this morning by a vote of 221 to 207, with 12 Republicans joining House Democrats in opposing the bill.
HR 5, the Student Success Act, does not reauthorize the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, which could lead to more than 1.1 million students losing access to desperately needed afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs that keep students safe, inspire learning and provide a lifeline for our hard working families. While the bill does create the Local Competitive Grant Program that would fund “supplemental student support activities such as before, after, or summer school activities, tutoring, and expanded learning time;” it allows the same Grant Program to also support school day activities, such as academic subject-specific programs, adjunct teacher programs, extended learning time programs, dual enrollment programs and parent engagement. At a time when local and state funding is declining, it is likely that this grant would predominantly be used to fund activities during the school day.
The House Republican Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bill is scheduled to make its way to the floor of the House of Representatives today. HR 5, the Student Success Act, debate on the House floor will start today and a final vote will most likely take place tomorrow. The White House has issued a veto threat on the bill and stated it “would represent a significant step backwards in the effort to help our Nation's children and their families prepare for their futures.”
HR 5 does not reauthorize the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, which could lead to more than 1.1 million students losing access to desperately needed afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs that keep students safe, inspire learning and provide a lifeline for our hard working families. While the bill does create the Local Competitive Grant Program that would fund “supplemental student support activities such as before, after, or summer school activities, tutoring, and expanded learning time.” It also allows the same funds to support school day activities, such as academic subject specific programs, adjunct teacher programs, extended learning time programs, dual enrollment programs and parent engagement. At a time when local and state funding is declining, it is likely that this grant would predominantly be used to fund activities during the school day.
The Fiscal Year 2014 spending bill for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education was adopted by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday and the full Appropriations Committee on Thursday. The major funding stream for afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, received a slight increase under the bill for a proposed total of $1.2 billion for FY2014, up from $1.091 billion for the current fiscal year (post sequester). Similar to last year, authorizing language was included in the bill that would change federal afterschool policy and divert 21st CCLC dollars from afterschool and summer learning programs to fund a longer school day, week or year.
The 21st CCLC program serves more than one million children from low-income families that attend high-need schools by providing safe and enriching environments during the hours when their parents are at work after school, before-school and during summer. 21st CCLC programs have been praised by law enforcement for keeping young people safe at a time of day when they are otherwise unsupervised. Recent research has also shown the effectiveness of 21st CCLC programs to improve student attendance at school and increase academic success.