By Sarah Keller
By Jen Rinehart
As the official start of summer nears, things have been heating up here in D.C.—and not just the temperature. Congress has really kicked into action on reauthorizations. Check out Erik Peterson’s blog posts on all the recent Congressional activity for more details on that.
But, federal law makers can’t even compete with the work that state legislators have been doing to support afterschool and summer learning in recent months. In fact, a number of state legislatures recently passed (not just introduced!) afterschool related legislation:
- In Illinois, legislators demonstrated their commitment to supporting children and youth in the hours after school by passing a 2014 state budget that included a new $10 million afterschool funding stream to be administered by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, a 7 percent increase to Teen REACH funding—from $8.2 million to $8.8 million, funding for local afterschool initiatives like After School Matters and continued support for child care.
Last week Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Richard Burr (R-NC), Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced the bipartisan Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2013. The bill reauthorizes the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) for the first time in more than 17 years. Under the legislation, states would be required to ensure that all child care providers who care for children through the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) receive health and safety training in specific areas, comprehensive background checks, and on-site monitoring. The legislation does recognize the specific training and support needed for school-age caregivers.
More than 500,000 providers serve about 1.6 million low-income children through CCDF, including about 600,000 school-age children in afterschool, before-school and summer learning settings. Children ages 6 to 13 represent about 33 percent of all children receiving CCDF assistance. School-age children receive about $1.7 billion of all CCDF funds. The bill authors are soliciting feedback on the legislation prior to scheduling a mark-up of the bill. The Afterschool Alliance is preparing recommendations for the bill’s sponsors that would strengthen the school-age care components.
Do you provide care to children through CCDF? Please contact us with feedback on the reauthorization bill.
Two partisan ESEA reauthorization bills unveiled in Senate, mixed bag for afterschool and summer learning
funds would still flow by formula to state education agencies that would then hold competitions at the state level. Partnerships of local education agencies (LEA) and public entities or non-profit organizations would be eligible to apply for funding, with either the LEA or the public entity or non-profit serving as the lead funded entity.
While Congress is currently engaged in debate over immigration policy and the 2013 farm bill, two other policy issues are waiting patiently in the wings for their chance in the spotlight. There is a possibility that the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the House Education and the Workforce Committee will mark up their own versions of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bills in June. At the same time, progress is slowly being made by the Appropriations Committee staff in both the House and the Senate on FY2014 spending bills. Now is a great time to weigh in on both of these issues:
- Contact your senators and representative to encourage them to support afterschool and summer learning as part of ESEA by co-sponsoring the Afterschool for America’s Children Act, S. 326. This bipartisan bill will enhance the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative by strengthening school-community partnerships among other improvements.
- Funding for 21st CCLC and the Child Care Development Fund remain critical. Contact your senators and representative to express how sequestration and the economy have impacted access to afterschool programs in your community. Call on them to support funding for afterschool and summer learning programs in the FY2014 appropriations process.
Thank you for taking action on behalf of the 18 million children who would be engaged in afterschool programs this afternoon if a program were accessible to them.
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.
|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 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.