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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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OCT
23

RESEARCH
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Two new reports add to the case for investing in youth programs

By Erik Peterson

With Lights On Afterschool upon us and fresh on the heels of the new America After 3PM (AA3) data, two additional reports further make the case for supporting afterschool and summer learning programs. This week, Opportunity Nation released the 2014 Opportunity Index and the Children’s Leadership Council announced a new public opinion poll showing strong support for investing in effective programs that improve the lives of children and youth.

The Opportunity Index is an annual composite measure at the state and county levels of 16 economic, educational and civic factors that expand or restrict upward mobility. The Opportunity Index ranks all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., and found that access to opportunity has increased by more than 6 percent nationwide since the first iteration of the Index in 2011. Much of this growth is due to large improvements on specific economic and educational indicators (such as the unemployment rate, Internet access and on-time high school graduation rate). There was less robust improvement on civic indicators such as access to healthful food, volunteerism and access to health care. In spite of gains in opportunity overall, the Index also shows that this progress is not enough to ensure that all Americans, particularly teens and young adults, get their fair shot at the American Dream. In particular, while the number of young Americans ages 16-24 who are neither in school nor working dropped significantly since 2013—from 5.8 million to 5.6 million in 2014—the four-year trend is more modest: there were 5.66 million disconnected youth in 2011. Afterschool and summer learning programs, particularly for older youth, can help close the opportunity gap by engaging young people through quality college and career readiness programs.

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learn more about: America After 3PM Equity Evaluations Youth Development
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OCT
23

RESEARCH
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Afterschool across three cities: New data from America After 3PM

By Jen Rinehart

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to hundreds of afterschool providers, funders and advocates about the new America After 3PM data—research that shows more kids than ever are in afterschool programs, but that the unmet demand for programs is also at its highest ever.  Each time I talk to folks about the 2014 findings, a new aspect of America After 3PM grabs my attention.  For instance, the finding that for every one child in an afterschool program now, two more would be enrolled if programs were available.  Or the findings that show that low-income and minority youth are more likely to be in afterschool programs and are also more likely to enroll if more programs were available. 

Most recently I spoke at a conference with Audrey Hutchinson from the National League of Cities, and naturally my attention drifted to what America After 3PM tells us about afterschool in cities.  We have data from three urban communities available—Washington D.C., New York City and Pittsburgh/Allegheny County, PA.  Aside from all being on the east coast, these three communities are quite different in many respects—size, both in terms of population and square miles; industry and workforce; numbers and ethnicity of school-age children and more. 

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learn more about: America After 3PM
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OCT
16

RESEARCH
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Which states made the top 10 list for afterschool?

By Nikki Yamashiro

A huge congratulations to California, D.C., Florida, Vermont, Massachusetts, Arizona, Oregon, Nebraska, Tennessee and Hawaii for making America After 3PM’s “Top 10 States for Afterschool”! 
 
These states made the list because they have some combination of strong afterschool participation rates, high parent satisfaction with their child’s afterschool program, and low rates of children who are alone and unsupervised after school.  For example, California, which secured the number one spot, has an afterschool program participation rate of 25 percent, third highest in the nation, and a participation rate higher than the national average of 18 percent.  America After 3PM also found that the Golden State has strong parent satisfaction when it comes to their child’s afterschool program.  Nine in 10 California parents are satisfied with their child’s afterschool program and 92 percent are satisfied with the program’s quality of care.  
 
There are a handful of familiar states that were on the top 10 list from our 2009 edition of America After 3PM, but there are also a few newcomers to list, including Washington, D.C.  This is the first time in the three rounds of America After 3PM that we were able to report on the District of Columbia.  
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learn more about: America After 3PM Education Reform Media Outreach State Networks State Policy
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OCT
16

RESEARCH
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Unmet demand for afterschool programs approaches 20 million children

By Jodi Grant

For every child enrolled in an afterschool program, two more would enroll if they could, according to parents. That’s among the findings from our new survey, the 2014 edition of America After 3PM spanning 30,000 American households.

In all, 10.2 million children are in afterschool programs, up from 6.5 million in 2004. But the unmet demand for afterschool—parents who want to enroll their child in a program but say they don’t have a program available—has increased over the last decade as well, with the parents of a projected 19.4 million children now saying they would enroll their child in a program if one were available to them. Demand is especially high among low-income, African-American and Hispanic families.

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, founder of After-School All-Stars, spoke with reporters about the data and commented:

“Due to the fact that most students come from homes where both parents are working, we have a duty to provide safe havens for our children during the crucial hours from 3-6 pm. Afterschool programs do remarkable things for our children, families and communities. Reams of data show it, and I’ve seen it in my own work. These programs help kids with homework, teach them teamwork, engage them in community service, pair them with mentors, help them to be physically fit, involve them in activities like rocketry and robotics, and much more.”

“Afterschool is a wise investment but, unfortunately, we’re not investing nearly enough,” Schwarzenegger added. “America After 3 PM shows that we are meeting only about one-third of the demand for afterschool programs. We need federal, state and local governments, philanthropies, and businesses to step up and provide the resources that will put us on the path to making afterschool available to all.”

Highlights from the new survey:

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learn more about: America After 3PM Equity Events and Briefings Federal Funding Media Outreach Working Families
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OCT
16

FUNDING
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Brand new! America After 3PM interactive dashboard

By Nikki Yamashiro

Releasing our findings from America After 3PM is incredibly exciting, but one of the new features that we’ve launched this time around that I’m especially thrilled about is our interactive Web dashboard.  The dashboard makes all of the valuable America After 3PM data come to life and I think it’s a useful tool to see the state of afterschool across the country.  
 
There are national maps that help you see how each state, plus the District of Columbia, stacks up when it comes to afterschool program participation, demand for afterschool programs, satisfaction with afterschool programs, public support for afterschool programs, and much, much more.   
You also have the ability to take a closer look at all of the information at the state-level.  Interested in finding out how many children are participating in an afterschool program in Vermont?  Want to know how parents in Texas feel about their kid’s afterschool program?  Need the number of children in Oregon who would be enrolled in an afterschool program if one were available to them?  Those answers, as well as answers to a number of other questions you might have about afterschool programs, are easy to find on our dashboard.   
Happy exploring! 
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learn more about: America After 3PM Education Reform Inside the Afterschool Alliance Media Outreach State Policy
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OCT
13

RESEARCH
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Schwarzenegger to Help Unveil America After 3PM

By Ursula Helminski

Being afterschool data geeks, we're terribly excited about the upcoming release of new America After 3PM research. And now we’ve got the Terminator on our team.  This week, Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will help share the 2014 data with media and shine a light on the need for more investments in quality afterschool programs, just as programs across the nation get ready to showcase their offerings at Lights On Afterschool rallies on Oct. 23.

Gov. Schwarzenegger is a long-time champion of afterschool programs—he founded the After-School All-Stars, and spearheaded the successful passage of a ballot initiative in California to fund afterschool programs across the state.  Last October, he visited the halls of Congress to urge leaders to preserve 21st Century Community Learning Center grant dollars for afterschool programs.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Afterschool Voices America After 3PM Celebrities
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SEP
29

LIGHTS ON
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Senate passes Lights On Afterschool resolution

By Erik Peterson

On Sept. 17 the U.S. Senate unanimously passed bipartisan resolution S. Res. 552 celebrating afterschool programs in honor of upcoming Lights On Afterschool Day on Oct. 23, 2014. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate Afterschool Caucus, authored the resolution, which was co-sponsored by Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

Lights On Afterschool is celebrated by thousands of parents, students, leaders and educators around the country, who will join together in October to celebrate the power of afterschool programs to improve the lives of young people.  A large and growing body of evidence demonstrates improvements in school-day attendance, behavior, academic achievement and more among children who participate in afterschool programs. Researchers have also found that afterschool programs encourage increased parental involvement—an important building block for student success.

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learn more about: Afterschool Caucus America After 3PM Congress
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JUL
17

RESEARCH
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Survey says: Summer learning gains ground

By Jen Rinehart

New research from the 2014 edition of America After 3PM, the most comprehensive household survey of how students in America spend their after school hours, shows that summer learning programs are strongly supported by parents and that participation in summer learning programs is on the rise. 

According to the survey of nearly 14,000 families:

  • Eighty-six percent of parents indicate support for public funding for summer learning programs, a statistically significant increase of 3 percentage points over the already very strong support registered in 2009. 
  • One-third of families report at least one child participated in a summer learning program last summer, up from the 25 percent of families reporting at least one child participated when the survey was last conducted in 2009.
  • Demand for summer learning programs for 2014 is high.  More than half of families reported a desire to participate in a summer learning program this summer.
  • Thirteen percent of families reported that summer programs were available to them at no cost in 2013. However, the vast majority of parents paid for programs and the average weekly per-child cost for a summer learning program was $250—high enough to put the programs out of the reach of many children and families.
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learn more about: Afterschool Voices America After 3PM Inside the Afterschool Alliance Summer Learning Sustainability
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