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Afterschool Snack, the afterschool blog. The latest research, resources, funding and policy on expanding quality afterschool and summer learning programs for children and youth. An Afterschool Alliance resource.
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Snacks by Erik Peterson
MAY
21

POLICY
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Experts to share the latest afterschool research and outcomes at Congressional briefing

By Erik Peterson

We know the achievement gap is real—73 percent of fourth graders scoring below the 25th percentile in math are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch. Now we have research that offers a solution: participating in afterschool activities—consistently across the elementary school grades—improves the math achievement of children from low-income families. In fact, taking part in these programs can help eliminate the gap in math achievement between low-income and high-income children by grade five.

Tomorrow, Dr. Deborah Lowe Vandell, founding dean of the School of Education at the University of California-Irvine, will present this latest research to an audience of Congressional staff and policy professionals as part of a special briefing co-hosted by the Afterschool Alliance and the Expanded Learning Project. The briefing will feature both research and examples on how participation in afterschool programs is linked to overall improvements in academic achievement, reductions in school absences and improvements in behavioral outcomes.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Champions Congress Equity Evaluations Events and Briefings
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APR
21

FUNDING
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Time is running out to serve meals this summer

By Erik Peterson

Warm weather has returned and that means the kick-off of the Summer Food Service Program is just around the corner. This federally-funded program allows summer learning providers to serve free meals to eligible children when school is out for the summer.

Although many children qualify for this program, very few participate.

During fiscal year 2013, the National School Lunch Program provided an average of 21.5 million children a free or reduced-priced lunch each school day. When schools let out for summer, less than 10 percent of those students participate in the Summer Food Service Program.

Luckily for families who are struggling, the Summer Food Service Program is working with school districts, nonprofits and cities this summer to keep school cafeterias open and having community centers provide a site where children can get a delicious free meal.

The Summer Food Service Program also helps to draw children into safe and fun activities filled with learning opportunities. The program encourages communities to provide safe places for children to be with other children and supportive adults. Children benefit nutritionally by receiving complete, wholesome meals. Parents benefit from some help in stretching their food dollars and by knowing their children are engaged in supervised activities.

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learn more about: Funding Opportunity Nutrition Summer Learning Sustainability
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APR
13

POLICY
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Thanks for making #3to6 Day a success!

By Erik Peterson

On March 26 (3/26) more than 3 million parents, young people and supporters of afterschool were reached through an online campaign that raised awareness about the value of afterschool programs and called for Congressional support of the Afterschool for America’s Children Act: S. 326 and HR 4086. 

Every afternoon between the hours of 3 to 6 p.m. children nationwide should have the opportunity to participate in engaging afterschool programs that support their learning and development and spark their passions and creativity.  In recognition of the afterschool hours of opportunity from 3 to 6 p.m., on 3/26 friends of afterschool programs took to their social media networks to promote afterschool and build support for the Afterschool for America’s Children Act. 

The bipartisan Afterschool for America’s Children Act, S. 326 and HR 4086—led by Sens. Boxer, Murkowski and Murray in the Senate and by Reps. Kildee and DeLauro in the House—would reauthorize and strengthen the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative—the nation’s chief federal funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs—by supporting innovative advances that support student success.

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learn more about: Advocacy ESEA Inside the Afterschool Alliance Legislation Media Outreach
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APR
4

POLICY
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It's appropriations season: 2015 appropriations process continues in House and Senate

By Erik Peterson

With the House and Senate each passing their own budget resolutions last month, and the president’s budget request submitted to Congress earlier this month, the FY2014 appropriations process can now move forward.  A challenge for Congress early in the process is trying to reconcile the House and Senate FY2014 budget bills.  Reconciling the two is a difficult prospect as the Senate resolution has $92 billion more than the House does to fund programs.
 
Despite the differences, House and Senate appropriations committees have begun holding hearings on the FY2014 spending bills, including Labor, HHS, Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee hearings featuring testimony by Education Secretary Arne Duncan.  At the House subcommittee hearing in early April, Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Nita Lowey (D-NY) emphasized the importance of  maintaining strong investments in afterschool programs through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC)  initiative and cautioned against diverting federal afterschool funding.  As part of her formal statement, LHHS Subcommittee Ranking Member DeLauro addressed the need for an increase in funding while also noting her concerns with the Administration’s proposed changes to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative:
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learn more about: 21st CCLC Budget Congress ESEA Federal Funding
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MAR
24

POLICY
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Raise your voice for afterschool programs on 3/26

By Erik Peterson

This Weds., 3/26, raise awareness about the value of afterschool programs and support the Afterschool for America’s Children Act: S. 326! 

Every afternoon between the hours of 3 to 6 p.m. children nationwide should have the opportunity to participate in engaging afterschool programs that support their learning and development and spark their passions and creativity.  In recognition of the afterschool hours of opportunity from 3 to 6 p.m., on 3/26 use your own social media network to promote afterschool and build support for Senate Bill 326—the Afterschool for America’s Children Act. 

The bipartisan Afterschool for America’s Children Act, S. 326 and HR 4086—led by Sens. Boxer, Murkowski and Murray in the Senate and by Reps. Kildee and DeLauro in the House—would reauthorize and strengthen the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative—the nation’s chief federal funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs—by supporting innovative advances that support student success. 

Quick ways you can take action!

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Advocacy Afterschool Voices Congress Legislation Media Outreach Sustainability
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MAR
14

POLICY
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Senate passes Child Care and Development Block Grant Act

By Erik Peterson

Bipartisan support and a great deal of advocacy from supporters of child care, afterschool programs and early education led senators to vote overwhelmingly yesterday in favor of reauthorizing S. 1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014.  This was the first reauthorization of CCDBG since 1996.

The Afterschool Alliance supported the legislation and its recognition of the importance of including care for school-age children up to 13 years old.  Given the research on the benefits of a continuum of care that begins with early education and extends into the school-age years of childhood, it's important to emphasize the value of quality school-age child care to achieve positive outcomes for children, including improved academic performance, work habits and study skills.  The bill includes many common-sense measures to help protect children in child care, such as requiring providers to undergo comprehensive background checks and ensuring annual inspections are conducted.

The need for quality afterschool programs and child care for school-age children continues to grow, therefore adequate funding for CCDBG will be necessary for this legislation to have the most impact.  The FY2015 spending process is scheduled to begin in earnest next month.  In addition to ensuring adequate resources for CCDBG, the House must also pass a CCDBG reauthorization bill.  The House Education and the Workforce Committee is reportedly planning a hearing on CCDBG for the morning of March 25.  Take action here to support funding for CCDBG and other federal afterschool funding sources.

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learn more about: Congress Legislation
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MAR
11

POLICY
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Take action: Senate to take up child care bill this week

By Erik Peterson

This week the Senate is expected to debate and vote on reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). CCDBG, which was last reauthorized nearly 20 years ago, is the main federal source of funding for families needing child care and also funds child care quality initiatives.  Currently, 1.6 million children a month—from birth to age 13—receive funding to cover child care expenses, totaling $5 billion a year.  About 600,000 school-age children are provided with afterschool program care through CCDBG. 

Advocates can reach out to senators in support of the legislation:
  • Call 202-224-3121. Tell the operator the name of one of your senators. (Not sure? Look up your senators here.)
  • Once you are connected to your senator's office, tell the staff person who answers:
    1. Your name
    2. That you are a constituent (name your city and state)
  • Then, say, "I urge the senator to vote yes on the bill to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant. Thank you."
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learn more about: Advocacy Congress Legislation
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MAR
7

POLICY
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New House Budget Committee report fails to recognize recent 21st CCLC research and effectiveness

By Erik Peterson

On March 3, just one day before the president released his FY2015 budget proposal, the House Budget Committee issued a report on federal spending related to federal antipoverty efforts entitled The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later.  Among the 92 federal programs reviewed in the report is the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative.   

The Budget Committee report seeks to examine the effectiveness of Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson’s "War on Poverty" that was launched 50 years ago. According to the report, there are at least 92 federal programs designed to help lower-income Americans, including education and job-training programs, food-aid programs and housing programs.

The report does include a brief entry on the 21st CCLC initiative, the only coordinated federal effort that supports afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs delivered by local schools and community-based organizations. 21st CCLC programs provide students attending high-poverty schools with academic enrichment activities; a broad array of additional services designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program such as hands-on experiments to excite children about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), access to physical activity, drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, art, music, opportunities to be creative, and technology education programs; as well as literacy and related educational development services to the families of children who are served in the program.  In addition, afterschool programs provide an infrastructure to bring in other resources to our children including access to mentors, tutors, and nutritious snacks and meals. 

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Budget Congress Evaluations Federal Policy Obama
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