Congress continues work this week on a spending bill for Fiscal Year (FY)2013 to replace the Continuing Resolution (CR) that expires March 27. Last week the House passed its version of the FY2013 spending bill, and the Senate took up their version of a final FY2013 spending bill this week. Both the House and the Senate bills leave the 5 percent across-the-board sequester cut in place. The House CR also includes its own 0.098 percent across-the-board cut on top of the sequester cut. A FY2013 spending bill must be agreed upon by the House and Senate and signed into law by the president before March 27 to prevent a government shut-down.
The Senate has developed a hybrid spending bill to fund the government through Sept. 30, the end of FY2013. This version includes full appropriations bills for more agencies than the House version. The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013—developed in a bipartisan manner by Appropriations Committee Chair Sen. Mikulski (D-MD) and Ranking Member Sen. Shelby (R-AL) includes separate divisions for appropriations to Agriculture; Commerce, Justice and Science; Defense; Homeland Security; and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. The Mikulski-Shelby bill provides about $1 trillion in budget authority, consistent with the Budget Control Act of 2011.
Labor, Health and Human Services as well as Education programs were not included in the Mikulski-Shelby bill and therefore would be funded under a regular CR, which would extend programs’ funding at FY2012 levels through the end of the current fiscal year. The spending bill does include a $50 million increase for the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF), significant because not many programs were slated for modest increases. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative is funded at $1.15 billion in FY2012 and (like most non-defense discretionary funding) will be subject to the 5 percent sequester cut plus the 0.098 percent cut from the House bill if that remains in the final version of the bill.
The Mikulski-Shelby bill is expected to be voted upon by the full Senate by the end of the week. The House and Senate then must reconcile their differing FY2013 spending bills and pass a final bill before March 27 when the current CR expires. Once the final FY2013 bill passes, check back for final spending levels for key afterschool and summer learning related funding streams.
Last week, Afterschool Caucus Chair Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) put her support for afterschool programs and STEM education on the record on the Senate floor. Read her full statement below, or download here.
Madam President, I rise today to speak about the great work that afterschool and summer learning programs in California and across the country are doing to engage children and youth in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.
Afterschool and summer programs are a vital part of our country’s education tapestry. They provide engaging, hands-on learning experiences that stimulate student interest, develop crucial skills, and drive home the relevance of STEM to our daily lives. Out- of-school learning opportunities help children develop the academic and life skills, such as problem-solving and determination, which are crucial in STEM fields. Additionally, these programs provide key opportunities for mentors and role models to engage with children.
High-quality afterschool STEM learning programs are having a significant impact on the young people who participate in them. A recent study shows participants in afterschool and summer programs have improved attitudes toward STEM fields and careers, increased STEM capacities and skills, and a higher likelihood of graduating from high school and pursuing a STEM major in college.
This piece was originally published as a commentary in Education Week on March 6, 2013 (Vol. 32, Issue 23, Page 26). Read the original article here.
- Developing interest in STEM and related learning activities;
- Developing capacities to productively engage in STEM learning activities; and
- Valuing the goals of STEM and STEM learning activities.
When Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011 almost two years ago, they included a provision meant to be so difficult to swallow that it would force the House and the Senate, Republicans and Democrats, to come together and pass a reasonable plan for reigning in the deficit. That strategy failed and the result is that the across-the-board cuts known as the sequester officially went into effect today—after a two month reprieve that resulted from the Jan. 1, 2013, fiscal cliff resolution.
- Approximately 30,000 low-income children of working parents would lose child care assistance through the Child Care and Development Block Grant and many more would experience a reduction in services.
- Title I Grants to school districts would see a cut in excess of $750 million, denying funding to well over 2,500 schools serving more than 1 million disadvantaged students. These funds pay for teachers, tutors and afterschool programs. Sequestration would mean job losses for more than 10,500 teachers and aides.
- For the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, it is now estimated that about 58,000 young people would lose afterschool and summer learning supports, likely beginning with the 2013-14 school year.
|Sen. Barbara Boxer at the "Breakfast of Champions"|
Following rousing speeches by Sens. Boxer (D-CA) and Murkowski (R-AK) last week during the "Breakfast of Champions," the bipartisan Afterschool for America’s Children Act, S. 326, wasintroduced in the Senate today. Sens. Boxer (D-CA), Murkowski (R-AK) and Murray (D-WA) introduced the Afterschool for America’s Children Act that reauthorizes the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative and builds on past afterschool and summer learning program success. The bill number, 326, symbolizes the hours of 3 to 6 p.m. when young people should have quality learning and enrichment opportunities.
- Strengthens school-community partnerships to include sharing of data and resources, the ability to better leverage relationships within the community and provide an intentional alignment with the school day.
- Promotes professional development and training of afterschool program staff.
- Encourages innovative new ways to engage students in learning that looks different from a traditional school day, with an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); and physical activity and nutrition education. Supports approaches that focus on individualized learning that provide a variety of ways for students to master core skills and knowledge.
- Provides accountability measures that are connected to college- and career-readiness goals and show student progress over time toward meeting indicators of student success including school attendance, grades and on-time grade level advancement.
- Ensures that funding supports programs that utilize evidence-based, successful practices.
- Increases quality and accountability through parent engagement, better alignment with state learning objectives, and coordination between federal, state and local agencies.
- Does not prioritize any one model of expanded learning opportunities over another.
- Maintains formula grants to states that then distribute funds to local school-community partnerships through a competitive grant process.
On the heels of the Afterschool for All Challenge, there have been a number of activities in Washington as we move into the middle of February. From the State of the Union earlier this week to a day of action on sequestration today, the impact on education in general and afterschool and summer learning programs in particular are highlighted below:
- Supporting all 50 states to provide access to preschool for all low- and moderate-income children: The president is proposing to work with Congress to provide all low- and moderate-income 4-year-old children with high-quality preschool—while also expanding these programs to reach hundreds of thousands of additional middle class children—and incentivizing full-day kindergarten policies, so that all children enter kindergarten prepared for academic success.
- Creating a Master Teacher Corps of exemplary educators in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM): President Obama is calling on Congress to commit new resources to create a STEM Master Teacher Corps, enlisting 10,000 of America’s best and brightest science and math teachers to improve STEM education across America’s schools.
- Modernizing America’s high schools for real-world learning: The president is announcing a new competition to kick-start a redesign of high schools to emphasize real-world learning. The president’s plan will invest in redesigning high school to focus on providing challenging, relevant experiences as well as reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers and that create classes that focus on technology, science, engineering and other 21st century skills.
On Feb. 7, 2013, hundreds of you across the country stepped up to the challenge and reached out to your elected officials to let them know that you support afterschool for all:
- More than 120 Congressional offices
- Across 36 states
- More than 100 district meetings & site visits
- Hundreds of phone calls and emails to Congress
- Digital Learning Day celebrations in 23 states
Arkansas: The Arkansas Out of School Network worked with allied organization Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families to take the Afterschool for All Challenge to the state capitol in Little Rock on February 7. Child advocates from across the state met at the Arkansas State Capitol to participate in the legislative process, meet with local legislators, attend legislative committee meetings, and observe lawmakers voting on bills that affect the lives of children and their families.
In conjunction with Kids Count Day, Arkansas Senate Bill 249 was introduced to provide $5 million to fund the pilot phase of the Positive Youth Development Act.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe stopped by Kids Count Day to lead pre-k children in singing Itsy Bitsy Spider. Watch:
Pittsburgh: Director Mila Yochum of Allegheny Partners for Out of School Time (APOST) had several local advocates join her at a series of meetings at the local offices of Rep. Mike Doyle and Sens. Pat Toomey and Pat Casey.
More than 200 state afterschool leaders and experts backed up your outreach with face-to-face meetings on Capitol Hill with senators and representatives to echo your message that afterschool works to keep kids safe, inspire learning and help working families.