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MAR
22
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: March 22, 2017

By Luci Manning

Trump's Budget Would Scrap $120M for Michigan Teacher Training, After-School Programs (MLive, Michigan)

Low-income students in Michigan would lose out on important educational and social experiences under President Trump’s proposed budget, which eliminates federal funding for afterschool programs. The budget cuts would result in a loss of more than $120 million for teacher training and afterschool programs in the state. “These cuts would have a devastating impact on the lives of our students, the families we support and the communities we live in,” Afterschool Ambassador Maria Mitter told MLive. Mitter supervises afterschool programs at 20 sites through Eastern Michigan University, which has received $2.7 million in federal funds.

Give Caregivers Way to Afford Services (Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Hawaii)

Afterschool Ambassador Paula Adams explains how the loss of federal funding for afterschool programs would hurt Hawaii students in a letter to the editor in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser: “They’ll be latchkey kids, on their own, on the streets, some getting involved in risky behaviors, and all losing the opportunity to be constructively engaged and learning under the watchful eye of caring adults. It’s up to Congress to make sure the president doesn’t succeed in killing federal afterschool funding – and up to all of us to make sure our members of Congress know how much we value afterschool programs.”

After School Funding Could Be Cut; Glen Iris Principal Weighs in (WBRC, Alabama)

Many Birmingham parents don’t know how they would care for their children if federal funding were eliminated for afterschool programs, as proposed in President Trump’s budget. “Those families depend on the 21st Century [Community Learning Centers] grant money that funds the afterschool programs,” Afterschool Ambassador and Glen Iris Elementary School principal Michael Wilson told WBRC. “[These] 120 kids, rather than stay here where it’s affordable and safe and nurturing, might be on the street in the afternoon.” Programs in the area provide a safe space for students to spend time after school ends and a chance for them to explore subjects that they may not have time for during the school day, like coding.

Federal Budget Cuts Could End After-School Programs (KUTV, Utah)

President Trump’s proposed budget would affect some 5,000 Granite School District students who benefit from 19 afterschool programs supported by the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative. “It’s devastating,” Afterschool Ambassador Margaret Peterson, executive director of the Community Education Partnership of West Valley City, told KUTV. “How can you abandon our children? They’re the future of America.” Peterson elaborated that taking away funding for afterschool programs will mean that students will miss out on valuable educational opportunities; studies show that students who participate in these programs exhibit significant academic improvement. 

AUG
30
2016

RESEARCH
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New report reveals how afterschool aids communities of concentrated poverty

By Nikki Yamashiro

Where you live has direct and indirect impacts on the fundamental resources and opportunities you count on, and which many people may take for granted. Your location affects the quality of schools available to you, your access to healthy and affordable food, and your overall wellbeing and future economic success.

This is why the Afterschool Alliance believed it was critical to examine the role that afterschool programs are playing (or not playing) in communities of concentrated poverty. These are neighborhoods, or groupings of neighborhoods, where there is a high concentration of families living below the poverty line. This is the first time that America After 3PM data has been used to look at high-poverty communities that research has found are struggling when looking at economic, academic and health indicators.

In our new America After 3PM special report, Afterschool in Communities of Concentrated Poverty, we take a closer look at the afterschool program experience of children and families living in communities of concentrated poverty, including participation in afterschool programs, barriers preventing participation, activities and services provided by programs, and satisfaction with programs.

Key findings from the report include:

  • The demand for afterschool school and summer learning programs in communities of concentrated poverty is high. Both participation in and the demand for afterschool and summer learning programs is higher in communities of concentrated poverty compared to the national average. 
    • Close to 1 in 4 children living in communities of concentrated poverty (24 percent) participate in an afterschool program, compared to less than 1 in 5 nationally (18 percent). More than half of children in communities of concentrated poverty not in an afterschool program would be enrolled if one were available (56 percent), compared to the national average of 41 percent.
    • When asked about participation in summer learning programs, 41 percent of parents living in communities of concentrated poverty reported that their child participated in a summer learning program and 66 percent would like their child to take part in a summer learning program, higher than the national average of 33 percent and 51 percent, respectively.
JAN
30
2014

POLICY
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'Today in America, a teacher spent extra time with a student who needed it' - Pres. Obama

By Erik Peterson

On Tuesday, Pres. Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union (SOTU) address.  As anticipated, the speech focused largely on policies to address income disparity in the United States, with special attention to education, workforce development and opportunities to learn.  Featured prominently were a number of the White House’s existing education policy issues including the early childhood education initiative, the need to make college more accessible and affordable and support for more and better workforce and job training programs to put more Americans to work in better jobs. 

Education was at the forefront in the president’s speech: he led with, “Today in America, a teacher spent extra time with a student who needed it, and did her part to lift America’s graduation rate to its highest level in more than three decades.” Among his examples of work done to increase learning opportunities for young people was the recent College Opportunity Summit, where 150 universities, businesses and nonprofits made concrete commitments to reduce inequality in access to higher education. 

In his speech, the president laid out multiple education priorities saying, “Of course, it’s not enough to train today’s workforce. We also have to prepare tomorrow’s workforce, by guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education.”  He hailed the success of the Race to the Top initiative, saying the program “has helped states raise expectations and performance...Teachers and principals in schools from Tennessee to Washington, D.C., are making big strides in preparing students with skills for the new economy—problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering and math.”

JAN
27
2014

RESEARCH
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Working moms on the brink: Americans want help for moms and kids

By Ursula Helminski

The latest Shriver Report on poverty in the U.S. shines a light on the many challenges facing working women, especially working moms, and the supports that could help them gain sure footing and step away from the brink of financial disaster.  While women hold much sway as consumers and voters, too many are struggling to stay afloat, despite working harder than ever.  The 2014 Shriver Report, A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink reports that:

  • Women are nearly two-thirds of minimum-wage workers in the country.
  • 40 percent of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income.
  • The median earnings of full-time female workers are still just 77 percent of the median earnings of their male counterparts.

What’s refreshing is that Americans recognize we need to do more to support working women and families, and afterschool programs and child care are an enormous part of the solution. The Shriver Report poll of 3,000 Americans found that:

SEP
23
2013

RESEARCH
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New Census numbers show household incomes and poverty levels stagnant

By Nikki Yamashiro

The Census Bureau’s new report citing a lack of change in household income and the poverty level from 2011 to 2012 may not sound like terrible news, but Ron Haskins, co-director of the Brookings Center on Children and Families and Budgeting for National Priorities project, may have said it best: “The poverty and income numbers are a metaphor for the entire economy…Everything’s on hold, but at a bad level.”

According to the report, in 2012 there were 9.5 million families living in poverty.  Looking at children under the age of 18, there were more than 15 million living in poverty.  To help put the figure into perspective, that number is greater than the total 2012 estimated populations of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut combined.  While the report points out that both numbers weren’t statistically different than the numbers from 2011, it highlights the staggering number of children and families who are struggling in today’s economic environment. 

A Huffington Post piece by Mark Shriver, senior vice president for strategic initiatives for Save the Children, makes some excellent points linking the Census Bureau report to what is taking place in Congress right now.  His example of the tough choice Save the Children had to face because of cuts to their Head Start programs in Louisiana—having to choose between closing one community’s classroom over another—during a time when children and families need more support, not less, was incredibly upsetting.  But, unfortunately, this is a choice many youth serving providers, including afterschool programs, are forced to deal with.  I hope you’ll take the time to read the rest of Mark’s piece "Boom and Bust: Economic Recovery Falling Short for Kids."

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JUN
17
2013

RESEARCH
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Two reports show childhood hunger remains a major concern

By Alexis Steines

Two reports released last week show that despite a modestly improving economy and nationwide efforts to increase participation in federal meal programs, childhood hunger remains a problem.

The reports were released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) and Feeding America, two major anti-hunger advocacy organizations, just in time for Summer Food Service Week. Participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) increased slightly last summer, but not enough to reverse three years of declining participation. According to the FRAC report, Hunger Doesnt Take a Vacation, program participation increased for the first time since 2008, with 2.8 million children participating in the program on an average July weekday. Last July, 13,000 more children participated in the program than in July 2011. While the increase is encouraging, it is not enough to reverse three years of declines. In summer 2012, 99,000 fewer children were participating in than in 2008. Hunger Doesnt Take a Vacation measures participation in the summer nutrition programs by comparing the number of children receiving summer meals to the number of children receiving school lunch during the school year.

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APR
10
2013

RESEARCH
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Who's minding the kids?

By Nikki Yamashiro

“Perhaps the most critical decision parents make in balancing their work and home life is choosing the type of care to provide for their children while they work.”  We at the Afterschool Alliance couldn’t agree more with this statement by Lynda Laughlin, author of a Census Bureau report released last week analyzing child care patterns and costs.  A positive and encouraging finding of the report is that the percentage of school-age kids who have no regular child care arrangement—kids in self-care—has decreased, and this is particularly true of children with a single, employed parent.

Who’s Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Spring 2011” examined the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) data to determine the child care arrangements of preschoolers (children under 5) and school-age kids (children ages 5 to 14) and found that between 1997 and 2011, the percentage of school-age children in self-care who lived with a single, employed parent decreased from 24 percent to 14 percent.  One explanation offered for this decrease was increased investment in afterschool programs.  This rationale is highly probable, given that federal funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers—the only federal funding dedicated exclusively to before-school, afterschool and summer learning programs—was first appropriated $40 million in 1998, and has grown to $1.1 billion for FY2013 and serves approximately 1.1 million kids.

JAN
2
2013

POLICY
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Update: Afterschool policy, sequestration, appropriations and the fiscal cliff

By Erik Peterson

This blog post updates a December 19 post that provides more background on what is at stake for afterschool and summer learning programs with regard to the fiscal cliff.

Late yesterday the House of Representatives passed the so-called "fiscal cliff deal," following an early morning passage of the same measure by the Senate. The legislation temporarily averted the “fiscal cliff” (the scheduled across-the-board spending cuts and the expiration of numerous tax breaks.) In the early morning hours of New Year’s Day, the Senate passed H.R. 8, legislation containing the budget agreement, by a vote of 89-8. In the evening hours of January 1, the House passed the Senate bill by a vote of 257-167.

The deal means that sequestration, the automatic spending cuts of over 8 percent that would have impacted domestic programs (including federal education and afterschool funding), have been pushed back from this week until early March. In the coming two months, Congress also must address FY2013 spending as the current Continuing Resolution expires in March as well. Among the unfinished business of the 112th Congress was the Sandy Relief bill, which- although it passed the Senate late last month- was not brought to the floor of the House for a vote. The 113th Congress is scheduled to be sworn in tomorrow. For additional coverage of the fiscal cliff deal see this Education Week blog post