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FEB
9

POLICY
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The president's FY2017 budget: An afterschool and summer learning perspective

By Erik Peterson

Today President Obama released the final budget request of his presidency, proposing a $4 trillion budget blueprint for the upcoming 2017 fiscal year, which begins this October. The president requested $1 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) —a cut of $167 million that would be devastating to the 170,000 children and their families that stand to lose access to quality afterschool and summer learning programs under the proposal. Read Executive Director Jodi Grant's official response to the budget proposal. 

The budget proposal has also been deemed “dead on arrival” by Congressional leadership.

The 21st CCLC initiative was reauthorized last December in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and saw funding increased by $15 million as part of the bipartisan 2016 fiscal year omnibus spending bill. However, even with this strong support, more than 11 million students remain unsupervised after school, and the parents of almost 20 million students would like their children to be in programs—but programs are unavailable, unaffordable or both. Rather than cut this vital support for young people and their families, Congress should increase funding to $1.3 billion to help meet the growing demand for afterschool programs and help address rising labor costs associated with quality afterschool and summer learning programs.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Budget Congress Obama
FEB
8

RESEARCH
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Presenting a united front on solutions to poverty and income inequality

By Jillian Luchner

While nationally, primary season seems bent on focusing on the politics that divides us, a group of Washington, D.C. academics from both sides of the political spectrum has identified three principles that they feel can unite and motivate people around policy solutions to some of our nation’s most pressing domestic concerns.

Opportunity, Responsibility and Security: A Consensus Plan for Reducing Poverty and Restoring the American Dream,” released in December 2015, concentrates on the three moral values in the title, which the authors suggest bring us together as a nation and can be used as a foundation for seeking and implementing solutions to the pressing national problems of poverty and income inequality.

First, a look at the problems:

  • Poverty: The U.S. child poverty rate has remained consistently around 20 percent for over 40 years, and our national poverty rate that remains above 15 percent. The report authors state, “as both conservatives and progressives, we believe these rates are too high.” Especially for vulnerable populations, such as children, these high poverty rates limit safety and security.
  • Inequality: Economists note that children born into the bottom fifth of income levels are 43 percent likely to stay there, yet in an equitable society only 20 percent of those children should remain. The likelihood of poor children staying poor and wealthy children staying wealthy represents a situation of income levels economists call “sticky." Moreover, the problem is such that “most scholars believe that the U.S. has lower mobility than other industrialized countries” and “the rungs on the economic ladder are getting father apart." This contrasts with the expectation that the American Dream is founded on equal opportunity.
FEB
5

FUNDING
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White House proposes $5.5 billion to help young adults find their first jobs

By Jillian Luchner

Do you remember your first job? Did you find it in the classifieds, through a family friend? Did it provide a reality check on that place called the “real world?" Did it help you make friends, connections, build confidence? Did it help you get your second job?

President Obama’s fiscal year 2017 budget proposal aims to provide $5.5 billion dollars to connect young people with their first jobs. According to the White House, the reason is simple, “one of the first things employers screen for in the hiring process is work experience…Once a young person gets their first job, its much easier to get the next one." Currently, 1 in 7 young people are both out of school and out of work. The new proposal could provide an opportunity for summer learning providers to partner with potential summer work employers to provide a comprehensive learning experience for young people.

The initiative, which coordinates among the Departments of Labor and Education, has multiple components to help youth ages 16-24 get their foot in the door, including:

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learn more about: Federal Funding Obama
FEB
5

FUNDING
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NRPA announces available funds to support HEPA implementation

By Tiereny Lloyd

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) recently announced a new funding opportunity, through the Walmart Foundation, to support park and recreation agencies in their efforts to benefit children’s health. The one-year grants are expected to range from $25,000 to $35,000 and will focus on four main goals:

  • Increase the number of healthy meals children in low-income communities receive through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) during out-of-school times;
  • Provide nutrition literacy to children and families that creates behavior change by teaching the importance of healthy eating;
  • Implement nutrition standards that increase access to healthier foods and support a healthy eating environment; and
  • Promote meal and program efficiencies that will decrease food waste and lead to more sustainable meal programs.

All local park and recreation agencies (large and small) are encouraged to apply. Grant funds can be used to support your out-of-school time program's expenses such as transportation, equipment, staffing, marketing, supplies, etc. The funding cannot be used to purchase food.

Applications are due at midnight ET on Monday, March 7, 2016. It is anticipated that NRPA will notify all applicants by April 4, 2016. Visit NRPA's website to review full eligibility guidelines and to submit your application.

Park and recreation agencies are the health and wellness leaders in their communities. Having a safe place to go after school, being active and eating healthy are vital services park and recreation agencies provide. That's why NRPA created Commit to Health—a campaign that supports the implementation and evaluation of Healthy Eating, Physical Activity (HEPA) standards in park and recreation sites across the country.

FEB
3

POLICY
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Child nutrition policy proposals focus on afterschool and summer learning programs

By Erik Peterson

With the Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016 unanimously passing the Senate Agriculture Committee last month, the process of reauthorizing the federal child nutrition programs is well under way. The bill, which is expected to head to the Senate floor sometime this spring, would impact the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP) At-Risk Afterschool Meals. At the same time President Obama recently announced a new Administration initiative calling for major investments in preventing child hunger.

The bipartisan child nutrition reauthorization bill, crafted by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), includes a number of provisions of interest to afterschool and summer learning providers, including:

  • Streamlining summer and afterschool meal coordination, which will allow afterschool meal sites to choose to operate year-round through the Summer Food Service Program. This will allow sponsors to operate one program rather than two, and significantly reduce duplicative paperwork and confusing administrative rules protecting the new school meal nutrition standards that are improving our children’s health and the school nutrition environment. The Afterschool Alliance had strongly recommended such a provision. The streamlining provision is phased in over time.

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learn more about: Budget Congress Health and Wellness
FEB
3

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: February 3, 2016

By Luci Manning

Students Get Young Peers Excited About Science Through Outreach Programs (Wesleyan Argus, Connecticut)

Middletown elementary students are gazing through telescopes, designing galaxies and making crystals thanks to two programs run by the Wesleyan University astronomy department that aim to make science fun for young students. Wesleyan students write lesson plans and run the afterschool Kids Korner at five elementary schools in the area, expanding children’s interest in science. “The most rewarding part about being involved with the program is watching the elementary school kids’ faces light up when they learn something new,” club co-coordinator Madeleine Junkins told the Wesleyan Argus.

Raytheon Helps Afterschool Club Members Discover Physics of Fun at Frisco’s Dr. Pepper Arena (Frisco Enterprise, Texas)

Three hundred Boys & Girls Club members recently learned how math and physics affect the basketball skills of their favorite professional players. Employees from defense contractor Raytheon used basketballs to demonstrate different science lessons to students and let them show off their physical prowess. They discussed how air pressure affects the buoyancy of a basketball, compared their heights and wingspans with those of several Dallas Mavericks players and tested their leaping abilities. Raytheon hoped the event would show students how important science is to everyday life. “Music, sports – there’s math and science in everything you love to do,” senior community relations manager Kim Parks told the Frisco Enterprise. Raytheon’s eight North Texas locations have supported area Boys & Girls Clubs with Engineering Week events and other volunteer activities.

Lessons in Learning: Aloha Angels Funds Almost 50 After-School Programs Districtwide (Garden Island, Hawaii)

Several years ago, Koloa Elementary Schools stopped receiving government funding for afterschool programs. Thanks to Aloha Angels, this year they were able to offer 15 programs, including ukulele band, art and cooking. Aloha Angels, a nonprofit that raises funds to support teachers and students, turned its attention to afterschool a few years ago and has since raised $334,000 to help fund programs throughout the school district. “The organization started funding afterschool programs in 2014 after Sherry Gonsalves, principal at Kilauea Elementary School, emphasized the importance of needing an outlet for students to learn subjects like art, music and sports, which are not taught during the school day, said Ric Cox, president of Aloha Angles,” the Garden Island reports. Now six different schools offer at least five programs, each emphasizing the mentoring relationships between teachers and students.

Afterschool Program at Centennial Farm Earns an Award (Los Angeles Times, California)

The California Park and Recreation Society recently recognized the Ranch Afterschool Program, an initiative of Costa Mesa’s Parks and Community Services Department that provides students with hands-on farming experience. According to the Los Angeles Times, the program teaches students agricultural techniques and how to care for farm animals, even maintaining a portion of the farm’s land. “Agricultural education helps children learn about healthy food choices and teaches them different ways to access fresh fruits and vegetables,” city spokesman Tony Dodero said. “Most importantly, students begin to understand the deep impact agriculture has in their lives: past, future and present.” 

FEB
2

RESEARCH
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A second look at "Parenting in America"

By Nikki Yamashiro

Last month, we wrote a blog highlighting key findings from the Pew Research Center’s report, Parenting in America: Outlook, worries, aspirations are strongly linked to financial situation. Due to the enormous amount of questions asked in the Pew survey and the variety of demographic breakdowns covered in the 100-plus report, we weren’t able to dive deep into each and every one of the findings that stood out to us. Which is why we decided to go back, take a second look at the report, and this time take parents’ responses related to afterschool in Pew’s survey and compare them to parents’ responses from America After 3PM, our national household survey examining how children spend the hours after school.

A key takeaway from Pew’s report that I'd like to spend a little more time on are the socioeconomic and racial gaps that arise, especially when looking at parents’ ability to find afterschool opportunities for their children. The report found that for some parents—especially lower-income families and African-American parents—locating affordable, high-quality afterschool activities and programs in their community is challenging. More than half of families making less than $30,000 annually (52 percent) report that it is hard to find affordable, high-quality afterschool programs and activities. This is 23 percentage points higher than families with an annual income of over $75,000. African-American parents are even more likely to report difficulties. Fifty-six percent of African-American parents report that it is hard to find afterschool programs and activities. This is also higher than both White and Hispanic parents (35 percent and 38 percent, respectively). 

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learn more about: Working Families
JAN
29

STEM
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Encourage your female high school students to try coding this summer!

By Erin Murphy

Girls Who Code has just opened applications for their FREE Summer Immersion Program, a seven-week introduction to computer science for 10th and 11th grade girls. If you have girls who are or might be interested in coding or STEM, please encourage them to apply! No prior experience is required.

During the program, participants connect coding to their passions, explore career opportunities within the world of computer science and engineering, and join a supportive and diverse community of girls who are passionate about coding.

Girls Who Code will be hosting 18 Summer Immersion Programs in the following cities:

  • Atlanta, GA (new!)
  • Austin TX (new!)
  • Boston, MA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Miami, FL
  • New York, NY
  • Newark, NJ
  • Seattle, WA
  • Washington, DC
  • Emeryville, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Mountain View, CA
  • Palo Alto, CA
  • Redwood City, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • San Ramon, CA
  • Santa Clara, CA

Though the program itself is free, additional transportation stipends and need-based scholarships are available to support students who qualify.
Applications are due March 1, 2016 at 11:59 PM PST.