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Policy update: Congress continues to address COVID-19

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Policy update: Congress continues to address COVID-19

Last week we saw thousands of school districts close; the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. continue to increase; and on Wednesday, hundreds of afterschool advocates reach out to Congress for the Afterschool for All Challenge to share the impact of the pandemic on communities and young people.

Also last week H.R. 6201. the Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed the Senate and was signed into law by the president. We wanted to give a quick update on the afterschool meal service flexibility provided through that legislation as well as give you an update on proposed Senate bill language and timeline for the third COVID-19 response bill – and provide another way you can reach out to Congress.

HR 6012 which was signed into law on March 18.

  • The new law provides the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to issue nationwide school meal waivers during the COVID-19 emergency, which will eliminate paperwork for states and help more schools quickly adopt and utilize flexibilities. The USDA has been working around the clock to provide flexibility to states and ultimately local programs and schools to facilitate delivery or distribution of meals.
  • The new law also allows all child and adult care centers including afterschool programs that were serving meals — including dinners through the CACFP At Risk After School Meals Program — to operate as non-congregate (i.e. they can serve meals outside the program or school or in individual settings) and waives all meal pattern requirements if there is a disruption to the food supply as a result of the COVID-19.
  • There is some variability between states in how the new flexibility and waivers are being implemented; however, we are already seeing afterschool programs providing meals to families and students through curbside drop off or delivery.

The third COVID-19 relief bill: Senate proposal: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and “CARES Act"; and House proposal: the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act.

Late on March 19, the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) released language for a third COVID-19 pandemic comprehensive response bill, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or “CARES Act.” The bill would provide direct cash payments to individuals, help for small businesses and certain industries impacted by the pandemic, and more resources for testing. While the legislation is currently not bipartisan and negotiations continue, the following proposals included in the initial bill are of interest to afterschool and summer learning programs:

  • Small business loan program that also includes nonprofits as eligible entities.
  • Allowance of partial above the line deduction for charitable contributions (encourages Americans to contribute to churches and charitable organizations in 2020 by permitting them to deduct up to $300 of cash contributions, whether they itemize their deductions or not). Modifies limitations on charitable contributions during 2020 (increases the limitations on deductions for charitable contributions by individuals who itemize, as well as corporations).
  • Provides the Secretary of Education with broad waiver authority to provide waivers from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Higher Education Act, and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, except civil rights laws, which are necessary and appropriate due to the COVID-19 declaration of disaster.
  • Provides participants serving in the National Service Corps programs, including VISTA and AmeriCorps, with the educational award they were due to receive before their duties had been suspended or placed on hold during the COVID-19 declaration of disaster. Extends the age limits and the terms of service to allow individuals serving in national service programs to continue participating in programs after the COVID-19 declaration of disaster ends.

A second version of the Senate bill released Sunday morning also included $3 billion for Child Care Development Block Grant to provide assistance to child care providers including school-age providers that are funded through CCDBG, as well as $12 billion in an education fund for states that can be used to support a wide range of education purposes including afterschool programs.

What’s Next?

The bill as released Thursday evening did not provide relief for afterschool programs, nor any funding for K-12 education. Negotiations continued all weekend and into this week on Capitol Hill on the third relief bill and several proposals have been suggested for ensuring support is extended to the education sector, including afterschool and child care. Among the proposals being suggested is Sens. Murray (D-Wash.) and Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.) Supporting Students in Response to Coronavirus Act, which would provide needed support to students, educators, and their families. Sens. Kaine (D-Va.) and Young (R-Ind.) have also made the case for additional child care funding through the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). While compromise looked possible on Sunday, March 22, the Senate bill failed a key vote and the House announced it would start on their own bill — the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act.

Last week on the House of Representative side, a bipartisan letter led by Reps. Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Young (R-Alaska) and signed by more than 50 bipartisan members of Congress called for a $500 million increase to the Nita M. Lowey 21st CCLC to support afterschool programs now and this summer as well as in the new school year. National afterschool providers and supporting organizations also reached out to Congress this week in their own letter calling for support of the field, including:

  • $500 million immediate increase in 21st CCLC to cover programs now and increased need for summer learning programs this summer and afterschool programs next fall to help students at risk for learning loss this spring.
  • Financial recovery supports for non-profit organizations and small business afterschool providers in any congressional stimulus package.
  • The request to not penalize afterschool programs that are grant funded for being unable to serve youth in-person, particularly for programs like 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
  • Funding for afterschool programs that have been able to stay open and provide extended school-age child-care services for the essential workforce.
  • Additional supports for supplies and services to keep facilities clean, safe, and sanitary. 

As of early Monday, March 23, negotiations continue on both the House and Senate side and with the White House as a compromise remains just out of reach.

The bottom line: Your Senators and Representatives need to hear from you. Ask that afterschool programs be included in upcoming COVID-19 pandemic response legislation.

Virtual Hill Briefing recap: Afterschool and Summer Programs Support Learning and Recovery

On May 26, the Afterschool Alliance hosted our first ever virtual Capitol Hill briefing for congressional staff and afterschool stakeholders. Afterschool and Summer Programs Support Learning and Recovery focused on the role of afterschool programs in COVID-19 recovery and featured perspectives from...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      05/27/20

HR 266 signed into law; additional Paycheck Protection Program funds are now available

On April 24, following passage by the Senate and House earlier last week, the President signed into law HR 266 - the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (also known as CARES Act 2.0 or as COVID19 stimulus package 3.5). The $480 million legislation focuses primarily on...

BY: Erik Peterson      04/27/20

House passes COVID-19 bill

By Jodi Grant and Jillian Luchner. The good news – late last week, the House of Representatives put partisanship aside to begin addressing the coronavirus pandemic, with House Bill H.R. 6201. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed the House with "yea" votes from 223...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/16/20

One week until the Virtual Afterschool for All Challenge: A policy and appropriations update

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BY: Erik Peterson      03/10/20

Trump administration proposes eliminating afterschool, again

On a rainy Monday in Washington, the Trump administration released its fiscal year 2021 full budget proposal. The full budget represents the president’s vision for how Congress should spend federal funds for the fiscal year that begins October 1, 2020 (FY 2021) and, for the fourth...

BY: Erik Peterson      02/10/20

FY2020 appropriations update: Afterschool funding increased!

House and Senate appropriators reached an agreement on final subcommittee allocations to avert a shutdown and fund the government past the December 20 deadline.  The final  bi-partisan bill language specifying funding levels for all government programs provides $1.25 billion for...

BY: Erik Peterson      12/17/19

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On October 15, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, introduced the College Affordability Act (H.R. 4674) (CAA) on behalf of all the Committee Democrats. Working expeditiously, the Committee  then passed the bill on October 31 by a 28-22 partisan...

BY: Jillian Luchner      11/18/19

Sen. Harris introduces legislation that would double funding for 21st CCLC

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Afterschool programs and a trauma-informed approach

“A trauma-informed, culturally responsive lens must be a part of everything we do.” This statement by Laura Norton-Cruz, Director of the Alaska Resilience Initiative, sums up the key message of last week’s Senate Afterschool Caucus briefing for Congressional staff which focused on...

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WORK NOW Act introduced in Senate, would help nonprofit organizations including afterschool providers

Late last week Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) along with Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i), Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), introduced legislation to help nonprofit organizations meet an increase in demand for their services due to the coronavirus pandemic while helping newly...

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HR 266 signed into law; additional Paycheck Protection Program funds are now available

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CARES Act signed into law, includes support for afterschool, nonprofits, and child care

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FY2020 appropriations update: Afterschool funding increased!

House and Senate appropriators reached an agreement on final subcommittee allocations to avert a shutdown and fund the government past the December 20 deadline.  The final  bi-partisan bill language specifying funding levels for all government programs provides $1.25 billion for...

BY: Erik Peterson      12/17/19

Federal funding update: Stopgap spending measure until Dec. 20

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College Affordability Act presents a mixed bag for afterschool supporters

On October 15, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, introduced the College Affordability Act (H.R. 4674) (CAA) on behalf of all the Committee Democrats. Working expeditiously, the Committee  then passed the bill on October 31 by a 28-22 partisan...

BY: Jillian Luchner      11/18/19

Bipartisan Youth Workforce Readiness Act announced

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BY: Erik Peterson      10/03/19

Virtual Hill Briefing recap: Afterschool and Summer Programs Support Learning and Recovery

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BY: Charlotte Steinecke      05/27/20

One week until the Virtual Afterschool for All Challenge: A policy and appropriations update

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Trump administration proposes eliminating afterschool, again

On a rainy Monday in Washington, the Trump administration released its fiscal year 2021 full budget proposal. The full budget represents the president’s vision for how Congress should spend federal funds for the fiscal year that begins October 1, 2020 (FY 2021) and, for the fourth...

BY: Erik Peterson      02/10/20

FY2020 appropriations update: Afterschool funding increased!

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FY2020 afterschool appropriations update: Spending deal reached

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Supporting student success afterschool and during the summer with 21st CCLC

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BY: Erik Peterson      05/02/19

Hearings and letters: Support broadens on Capitol Hill for 21st Century Community Learning Centers

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HR 266 signed into law; additional Paycheck Protection Program funds are now available

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BY: Erik Peterson      04/27/20

One week until the Virtual Afterschool for All Challenge: A policy and appropriations update

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BY: Erik Peterson      03/10/20

Trump administration proposes eliminating afterschool, again

On a rainy Monday in Washington, the Trump administration released its fiscal year 2021 full budget proposal. The full budget represents the president’s vision for how Congress should spend federal funds for the fiscal year that begins October 1, 2020 (FY 2021) and, for the fourth...

BY: Erik Peterson      02/10/20

The time is now: Share your afterschool success story with senators

When Congress returns in September, the first thing on their agenda will be passing fiscal year 2020 spending bills. The House of Representatives passed all twelve of their spending bills earlier this year. The Senate waited on a budget deal, now signed into law, and will likely start with the...

BY: Erik Peterson      08/27/19

FY2020 afterschool appropriations update: Spending deal reached

Last week the White House, Senate leadership, and House leadership announced that they had come to an agreement to increase spending caps for FY2020 and FY2021. The deal, which passed the House last Thursday and is expected to pass the Senate and be signed into law by the president this week, would...

BY: Erik Peterson      07/29/19

Hearings and letters: Support broadens on Capitol Hill for 21st Century Community Learning Centers

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BY: Erik Peterson      03/29/19

Trump administration proposes eliminating afterschool

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BY: Erik Peterson      03/11/19

Thank you, friends of afterschool!

In February of this year, parents, students, educators, and afterschool providers were faced with the prospect of the complete elimination of federal support for local afterschool and summer learning programs through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative—the second such...

BY: Erik Peterson      10/02/18

Final education spending bill increases afterschool funding

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BY: Erik Peterson      09/14/18

The countdown to the end of the fiscal year is on

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BY: Erik Peterson      09/12/18

Tools to help plan for summer programs

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BY: Jillian Luchner      06/11/20

Virtual Hill Briefing recap: Afterschool and Summer Programs Support Learning and Recovery

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BY: Charlotte Steinecke      05/27/20

WORK NOW Act introduced in Senate, would help nonprofit organizations including afterschool providers

Late last week Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) along with Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i), Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), introduced legislation to help nonprofit organizations meet an increase in demand for their services due to the coronavirus pandemic while helping newly...

BY: Erik Peterson      05/18/20

Fifth COVID-19 response bill, the HEROES ACT, to be voted on in the House of Representatives

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BY: Erik Peterson      05/13/20

How federal government funding is supporting child care in the states

Economic recovery cannot happen without child care, including quality, comprehensive care for school-age children of working parents. If the concern has not already impacted you directly, you may have become aware from the news stories which keep flooding in. “Will Child Care Be There...

BY: Jillian Luchner      05/12/20

Department of Education announces call for innovation; opportunity for funding to reimagine remote learning

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BY: Erik Peterson      05/05/20

HR 266 signed into law; additional Paycheck Protection Program funds are now available

On April 24, following passage by the Senate and House earlier last week, the President signed into law HR 266 - the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (also known as CARES Act 2.0 or as COVID19 stimulus package 3.5). The $480 million legislation focuses primarily on...

BY: Erik Peterson      04/27/20

Implementation process begins for CARES Act education funds

While the CARES Act was signed into law on March 27, the $30.75 billion Education Stabilization Fund authorized by the legislation is still in the early stages of the implementation process led by the US Department of Education. Four grant programs were created through the CARES Act under the...

BY: Erik Peterson      04/15/20

CARES Act signed into law, includes support for afterschool, nonprofits, and child care

On March 27 the House passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (The CARES Act), also known as the Third COVID-19 Supplemental Relief bill, and the president signed the legislation into law. The third Coronavirus response package passed both the Senate and House unanimously...

BY: Erik Peterson      03/31/20

Congress nears passage on third Coronavirus response legislation

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BY: Erik Peterson      03/26/20

Get the latest afterschool STEM news in your inbox

The next issue of the Afterschool Lab Report is coming in just a few days. Brought to you each quarter by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the newsletter provides the latest STEM education policy updates, new resources, upcoming opportunities for advocacy, and new...

BY: Leah Silverberg      10/31/19

Bipartisan Youth Workforce Readiness Act announced

In late September, plans to introduce the bipartisan, bicameral Youth Workforce Readiness Act were announced in the House and Senate by Sen. Smith (D-Minn.) and Rep .Josh Harder (D-Calif.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.). The legislation would provide funding for hands-on skills education at...

BY: Erik Peterson      10/03/19

Federal support for STEM and making in afterschool

Picture a center filled with computers, paired with a wood and metal shop, combined with a sewing studio, mixed with an arts and crafts room, filled with people of all ages building and making things to solve problems – this is the foundation of a maker space. Maker spaces were born out of...

BY: Leah Silverberg      08/12/19

Afterschool makes a difference for middle school career exposure in CTE

“Imaginations are what will carry us to the future, and (for me) Digital Harbor helped to expand it,” 7th grader Jacob Leggette proclaimed in front of the full room at the Senate Career and Technical (CTE) Education Caucus  and Afterschool Alliance Briefing on June 25. The...

BY: Jillian Luchner      07/09/19

Putting afterschool to work: Career exploration in out-of-school settings

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BY: Guest Blogger      06/25/19

Get the latest afterschool STEM news in your inbox

The next issue of the Afterschool Lab Report is coming at the end of April. Brought to you each quarter by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the newsletter provides the latest STEM education policy updates, new resources, upcoming opportunities for advocacy, and new...

BY: Leah Silverberg      04/15/19

New toolkit for partnering on career and technical education

In July 2018, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, or Perkins V, was passed by Congress and signed into law. The legislation reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and provides much needed updates to the law that reflect the...

BY: Chris Neitzey      04/09/19

Investments in quality afterschool STEM policy will continue in 2019

For successful advocacy efforts, slow and steady wins the race. Advancing legislation or budget requests at the state or federal level requires resources, content expertise, and a dedication that often spans a timeframe far longer than originally anticipated. As we enter the third year of a...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/18/18

What does the Trump administration’s 5-Year STEM Education Strategy mean for afterschool?

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine On December 4, the White House released their five-year STEM education plan, entitled Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education. The plan is a required component of the America COMPETES Act of 2010, which mandates that the...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/07/18

Afterschool goes to college

After celebrating an updated law in Career and Technical Education (CTE) in July, it’s natural to ask “What’s next?” in the education landscape for Congress. One thing on the agenda is the Higher Education Act, or HEA, which governs federal investments in making quality...

BY: Jillian Luchner      10/09/18

Get the latest afterschool STEM news in your inbox

The next issue of the Afterschool Lab Report is coming in just a few days. Brought to you each quarter by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the newsletter provides the latest STEM education policy updates, new resources, upcoming opportunities for advocacy, and new...

BY: Leah Silverberg      10/31/19

Bipartisan Youth Workforce Readiness Act announced

In late September, plans to introduce the bipartisan, bicameral Youth Workforce Readiness Act were announced in the House and Senate by Sen. Smith (D-Minn.) and Rep .Josh Harder (D-Calif.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.). The legislation would provide funding for hands-on skills education at...

BY: Erik Peterson      10/03/19

Federal support for STEM and making in afterschool

Picture a center filled with computers, paired with a wood and metal shop, combined with a sewing studio, mixed with an arts and crafts room, filled with people of all ages building and making things to solve problems – this is the foundation of a maker space. Maker spaces were born out of...

BY: Leah Silverberg      08/12/19

Afterschool makes a difference for middle school career exposure in CTE

“Imaginations are what will carry us to the future, and (for me) Digital Harbor helped to expand it,” 7th grader Jacob Leggette proclaimed in front of the full room at the Senate Career and Technical (CTE) Education Caucus  and Afterschool Alliance Briefing on June 25. The...

BY: Jillian Luchner      07/09/19

Putting afterschool to work: Career exploration in out-of-school settings

By Jillian Luchner, Christopher Neitzey, and Austin Estes from Advance CTE. This is a cross-post of the first blog post in a series on the intersection of CTE and afterschool programs, exploring strategies and opportunities to bridge learning both in and out of the classroom. The original...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/25/19

Get the latest afterschool STEM news in your inbox

The next issue of the Afterschool Lab Report is coming at the end of April. Brought to you each quarter by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the newsletter provides the latest STEM education policy updates, new resources, upcoming opportunities for advocacy, and new...

BY: Leah Silverberg      04/15/19

New toolkit for partnering on career and technical education

In July 2018, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, or Perkins V, was passed by Congress and signed into law. The legislation reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and provides much needed updates to the law that reflect the...

BY: Chris Neitzey      04/09/19

Investments in quality afterschool STEM policy will continue in 2019

For successful advocacy efforts, slow and steady wins the race. Advancing legislation or budget requests at the state or federal level requires resources, content expertise, and a dedication that often spans a timeframe far longer than originally anticipated. As we enter the third year of a...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/18/18

What does the Trump administration’s 5-Year STEM Education Strategy mean for afterschool?

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine On December 4, the White House released their five-year STEM education plan, entitled Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education. The plan is a required component of the America COMPETES Act of 2010, which mandates that the...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/07/18

Afterschool goes to college

After celebrating an updated law in Career and Technical Education (CTE) in July, it’s natural to ask “What’s next?” in the education landscape for Congress. One thing on the agenda is the Higher Education Act, or HEA, which governs federal investments in making quality...

BY: Jillian Luchner      10/09/18