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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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SEP
22
2017

STEM
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Guest blog: Have recent investments in afterschool STEM improved student outcomes?

By Guest Blogger

By Dr. Gil G. Noam, Dr. Patricia J. Allen, and Bailey Triggs at The PEAR Institute: Partnerships in Education and Resilience.

Percentage of youth reporting positive change in STEM-related attitudes and 21st-century skills

U.S. policymakers have prioritized boosting student interest in science, engineering, technology and math (STEM) to prepare the nation’s youth for an increasingly STEM-focused workforce. High-quality STEM afterschool programs are helping to fill this growing need. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the Noyce Foundation (now STEM Next) played a critical role in helping states across the country to develop systems of support for these quality afterschool STEM programs so that they can share research and best practices.

To support this effort, we at The PEAR Institute (Partnerships in Education and Resilience) at McLean Hospital and Harvard University partnered with Dr. Todd Little and IMMAP (Institute for Measurement, Methodology, Analysis & Policy) at Texas Tech University to conduct one of the first large-scale evaluations to measure the impact of afterschool programs on students’ STEM-related attitudes, social-emotional skills, and 21st-century skills. Our report was made possible through a collaboration of researchers, practitioners, funders, and 11 statewide afterschool networks.

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learn more about: Evaluation and Data Federal Funding STEM
SEP
14
2017

POLICY
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$100 million win for afterschool as amendment passes House of Representatives

By Erik Peterson

Last night the House of Representatives voted 228 to 188 in support of the DeLauro/Lowey amendment (#161) to restore $100 million of the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) afterschool and summer learning funding that had been cut in the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354). The vote sends a strong signal of bipartisan support for afterschool and summer learning programs as the appropriations process continues into the fall.

The amendment vote was the latest step in the long appropriations and spending process that began last spring when the president’s budget proposed elimination of Community Learning Centers afterschool funding. The inclusion of the amendment stands as a testament to the hard work of our field — advocates and allied organizations have delivered more than 78,600 calls and emails to Congress in support of federal funding for local afterschool and summer learning programs since March. Read Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant’s statement here.

SEP
8
2017

POLICY
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Policy update: What this week means for afterschool funding

By Erik Peterson

After being out of Washington for the month of August, the House and Senate returned this week with a full agenda including advancing the fiscal year 2018 (FY18) spending process. Both the Senate Appropriations Committee and the House of Representatives took actions this week that could impact federal support for afterschool and summer learning programs. Moreover, a Continuing Resolution passed extending current federal funding to December 8.

Senate appropriations

The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee passed their FY18 spending bill on September 6, followed by the full Senate Appropriations Committee on September 7. The Senate’s LHHS spending bill funded 21st Century Community Learning Centers at the FY 17 level of $1.192 billion, rejecting the president’s proposed elimination of the program. For the second year in a row, the Senate appropriations subcommittee produced a bipartisan bill that provides leverage in negotiations with the House of Representatives. Read the Afterschool Alliance’s statement on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s strong support for afterschool and summer learning programs.

AUG
3
2017

POLICY
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You are here: The policy road map to protecting afterschool funding

By Erik Peterson

With more than half the calendar year behind us and only two months left in the 2017 federal fiscal year, now is a great time to pause and reflect on the ongoing quest to protect and grow federal funding for afterschool and summer learning programs. Much has happened since the March 16 release of the Trump administration’s skinny budget which proposed to eliminate federal 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) funding for almost 1.6 million students—yet there is still a long way to go.

Making progress

The administration’s FY2018 skinny budget released in mid-March, and the subsequent full budget proposal released in late-May, both proposed to eliminate $1.1 billion in Community Learning Centers funding that allows local afterschool and summer learning providers in all 50 states to offer quality enrichment and academic programming to 1.6 million students in grades K through 12. The Administration justified the proposed elimination of the program by pointing to data from a 12 year old report with flawed methodology that questioned the effectiveness of the program.

The response to the proposed elimination was swift:

  • Since March 1: We've made approximately 71,500 points of contact with Congress -- including calls, emails, and letters
  • March 2017: Multiple summaries of recent Community Learning Centers afterschool evaluations were published, showing widespread positive outcomes in classroom attendance, student behavior, grades and academics, and engagement.
  • Since April 6: At dozens of site visits around the country, members of Congress or their staff were able to meet students, parents, and program staff and see first-hand the impact of Community Learning Centers funded programs
  • April 10: Bipartisan Dear Colleague Letters circulate in Congress and gain signatures from more than 80 Representatives and more than 30 Senators. On the same day, an organizational support letter signed by 1,400 groups and a second support letter signed by 130 public health organizations are released.
  • June 6: During the Afterschool for All Challenge, advocates held more than 250 in-person meetings on Capitol Hill with policymakers.
  • June 28: Multiple briefings are held for Congressional staff, featuring program providers, local elected officials, students and more.

A tremendous thank you to all of the parents, advocates, friends of afterschool, national afterschool and summer learning providers, and supporters that joined together to reach out directly and through stakeholders to provide research and examples of the effectiveness of Community Learning Centers-funded programs. We’ve also seen a flood of media outreach in national and local press.

So... where do we go from here?

AUG
2
2017

RESEARCH
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AFT poll shows opposition to federal funding cuts to education

By Nikki Yamashiro

The clear message coming out of a recent national poll on attitudes toward federal education spending is that voters are overwhelmingly opposed to the federal government cutting funds for public education.

In the poll, conducted by Hart Research Associates for the American Federation of Teachers, close to 3 in 4 voters say that they are opposed to the Trump administration’s proposal to cut federal spending on education by 13.5 percent while “cutting taxes for large corporations and wealthy individuals” and 73 percent say that they find this to be an unacceptable way to reduce spending by the federal government. When asked about the proposed elimination of funding for afterschool and summer learning programs, more than 7 in 10 voters responded that it was an unacceptable cut.

JUL
20
2017

POLICY
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House Appropriations Committee cuts afterschool by $191 million

By Erik Peterson

The full House Appropriations Committee met for a marathon mark up of the FY2018 education-funding bill on July 19, starting at 9:30 a.m. and lasting late into the evening. The FY2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) Appropriations Act sets funding levels for all federal education, human services, and health and labor programs—including the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, which provides federal funds leveraged by local school-community partnerships to provide quality afterschool and summer learning programs.

The Committee voted to approve the House LHHS FY2018 spending bill on a party line vote of 28 – 22. The bill includes a $191 million cut to 21st Century Community Learning Centers afterschool funding. The cut brings funding for local afterschool and summer learning programs below the current authorized level to the lowest level of federal afterschool funding since 2007 and means approximately 192,000 children could lose access to quality afterschool and summer learning programs next year. An updated table shows how the proposed cut to afterschool will be felt in all 50 states.

JUL
14
2017

POLICY
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$191 million cut to afterschool proposed in education spending bill

By Erik Peterson

As the nation celebrated National Summer Learning Day yesterday, an additional step in the FY2018 appropriations process continued. The House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee took up their FY2018 education spending bill. The bill sets funding levels for all federal education, human services, and health and labor programs—including the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, which provides federal funds leveraged by local school-community partnerships to provide quality afterschool and summer learning programs.

The House LHHS FY2018 spending bill cuts federal education spending by at least $2 billion ($4 billion if one counts recessions), rolling back necessary supports to children and working families due to a spending allocation that was $5 billion less than FY2017. An updated table shows how the proposed cut will be felt in all 50 states.

The bill passed the Subcommittee on a straight party line as expected. The full House Appropriations Committee is expected to mark up the bill next week. The Senate Appropriations Committee likely will not tackle their own version of the bill until later this summer or early fall.

MAY
24
2017

POLICY
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Number crunch: Details from the president's FY2018 budget

By Erik Peterson

Photo of Mick Mulvaney by Gage Skidmore

Yesterday, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney released the Trump administration’s fiscal year 2018 full budget proposal, following up on the “skinny budget” outline released in March. The full budget represents the president’s vision for how Congress should spend federal funds for the upcoming fiscal year that begins October 1, 2017 (FY18).

Consistent with the skinny budget released in March, the full budget proposal proposes the elimination of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, which funds local afterschool programs in all 50 states. That proposal, which would devastate the 1.6 million children and families, comes in stark contrast to the strong support for afterschool recently displayed in Congress in the passage of the bipartisan FY17 omnibus spending bill last month, which included a $25 million increase to Community Learning Centers.

A budget opposed to research

The budget proposal, titled A New Foundation for American Greatness, attempts to justify the proposed elimination of Community Learning Centers by claiming that a lack of evidence exists that links the program to increased student achievement. In fact, over a decade of data and evaluations provide compelling evidence that Community Learning Center afterschool programs do in fact yield positive outcomes for participating children.

The Community Learning Centers initiative was reauthorized in December 2015 in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and saw its funding increased in the 2016 bipartisan omnibus spending bill. However, even with this strong support across party lines and a wealth of research to the contrary, the administration continues to maintain that the Community Learning Centers program is ineffective. The only evidence the administration uses to back its claim is hand-selected data that ignores more than a decade of evidence from numerous researchers showing that afterschool works. 

In fact, the Department of Education’s most recent report on Community Learning Centers finds that half of the students regularly participating in Community Learning Center programs improved their math and reading grades, two-thirds improved their homework and class participation, and more than half improved their classroom behavior. One out of four students moved from “not proficient” to “proficient” or better in both math and reading test scores. Considering that Community Learning Centers programs work with some of the most disadvantaged children and youth, many of whom would otherwise be unsupervised after school, we should be celebrating these victories.