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Snacks by Erik Peterson
FEB
26

POLICY
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ESEA reauthorization debate heads to floor of House of Representatives

By Erik Peterson

The debate on the floor of the House of Representatives began this morning on the House Republican Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bill. A final vote is expected to take place tomorrow morning. The last time the bill was reauthorized was 2002, and Congress has been trying to reauthorize the current statute since 2007.  According to Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), who is managing the debate on the House floor for the Majority, HR 5, the Student Success Act, reduces the Federal footprint in education; empowers parents; supports effective teachers; and restores local control.  The White House has issued a veto threat on the partisan bill.

HR 5 does not reauthorize the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, which could lead to more than 1.7 million students losing access to desperately needed afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs that keep students safe, inspire learning and provide a lifeline for our hard working families.  While the bill does create the Local Academic Flexible Grant that would fund “supplemental student support activities such as before, after, or summer school activities, tutoring, and expanded learning time,”  it also allows the same funds to support school day activities, such as academic subject specific programs, adjunct teacher programs, extended learning time programs, dual enrollment programs and parent engagement.  At a time when local and state funding is declining, it is likely that this grant would predominantly be used to fund activities during the school day.  

While more than 100 amendments to the bill were filed this past Monday, including five supporting afterschool programs, the House Rules Committee only made 44 “in order” as they were ruled germane to the bill and debated on the House floor.  One of these amendments  focused on afterschool and was offered by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA). Also, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, will offer the last amendment – most likely tomorrow morning - which is the Democratic substitute bill, though it will fail along partisan lines.

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FEB
26

POLICY
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Farm to School Act of 2015 introduced in Congress, would include afterschool programs

By Erik Peterson

The bipartisan Farm to School Act of 2015 was introduced in Congress yesterday by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH).  The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program.  The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes afterschool programs and summer learning programs as well as preschools and tribal schools while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. 

The legislation has wide support from a variety of sectors for several reasons:

  • Farm to school is a proven method for improving the health of our nation's children.  Today, more than 23 million students are making healthier food choices at school, afterschool, and at home thanks to farm to school activities like school gardens, cooking classes and incorporating local foods in school meals. 
  • Demand for the successful USDA Farm to School Grant Program far exceeds supply.  In its first three years, the program received more than 1,000 applications but only had enough funding to award 221 grants.  In other words, just one in five projects was funded.

A complete summary of the bill and ways to take action in support of the bill can be found here. The Afterschool Alliance supports the bipartisan legislation and will be tracking the bill throughout the child nutrition reauthorization process this year. 

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learn more about: Congress Federal Policy Health and Wellness Legislation Nutrition
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FEB
25

POLICY
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Afterschool for America's Children Act introduced in the House

By Erik Peterson

Yesterday, Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) introduced the Afterschool for America's Children Act (HR 1042) in the House of Representatives.  The  legislation would reauthorize and strengthen the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative—the nation’s chief federal funding stream for afterschool programs—by supporting innovative advances taking root in before-school, afterschool and summer learning programs. The bill was announced at an event in Flint, Mich. last week and is companion legislation to bipartisan S. 308 introduced previously in the Senate.  A summary of the legislation is available here.

The reintroduction of the Afterschool for America’s Children Act comes as the full House of Representatives prepares to debate and vote this week on HR 5, a partisan ESEA reauthorization bill that would eliminate 21st CCLC and replace it with a block grant that can be used for afterschool or in-school programming.

The House Afterschool for America’s Children Act:

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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FEB
19

POLICY
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Congressman Kildee announces bill to support afterschool programming

By Erik Peterson

At an event at Potter Elementary School in Flint, Mich. on Tuesday, Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI) announced new legislation in Congress to invest in successful afterschool programs in cities across the U.S.  The bill, the Afterschool for America’s Children Act, leverages local and private support for afterschool and summer learning programs to provide a safe space for young people after school and help increase opportunities for children both in and out of the classroom.

Congressman Kildee’s legislation, the Afterschool for America’s Children Act, would:

  • Invest in successful 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) programs.
  • Increase flexibility for states to tailor their afterschool activities toward non-traditional programs such as STEM education, health, fitness, art and music.
  • Expand afterschool programming from simply preparing students for a standardized test to providing children with a safe and constructive environment.
  • Establish rigorous state-based reviews to improve the quality of afterschool programs and ensure that funding is maximizing a child’s education.

The announcement of the bill comes just a week after the House Education and the Workforce Committee voted to pass ESEA reauthorization bill H.R. 5 out of Committee, sending it to the House floor.  The partisan HR 5 would eliminate 21st CCLC.  Friends of afterschool can continue to reach out to Congress in support of afterschool and summer learning programs.

The announced bill is companion legislation to the bipartisan S. 308 introduced in the Senate last month by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).  Congressman Kildee is expected to introduce the bill next week when Congress is back in session.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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FEB
13

POLICY
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Bipartisan group of senators call on Senate HELP Chairman, Ranking Member to protect 21st CCLC

By Erik Peterson

This week a bipartisan group of fifteen senators wrote to Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray in support of keeping intact 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) funding that supports 1.6 million low-income children with afterschool and summer learning programs.  The letter comes in response to Chairman Alexander’s draft Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) legislation which proposes to eliminate the effective 21st CCLC initiative.

The letter in support of 21st CCLC outlines the extensive evidence for providing federal support to afterschool and summer learning programs and was spearheaded by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and signed by the following Senators: 

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
  • Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
  • Sen. Christopher Coons (D-DE)
  • Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)
  • Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
  • Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
  • Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM)
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
  • Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
  • Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-WV)
  • Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
  • Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

The letter follows one sent by more than 260 state, local and national organizations to the Senate HELP Committee earlier this month also calling on the committee to ensure 21st CCLC funds remain in place for afterschool and summer learning programs.  You can maximize the impact of the senators’ letter by emailing your Members of Congress today and urging them to support 21st CCLC—take action now!

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy
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FEB
12

POLICY
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House Education Committee passes ESEA reauthorization, Rep. Barletta speaks out on value of 21st CCLC

By Erik Peterson

The House Education and the Workforce Committee under Chairman John Kline (R-MN) passed the Student Success Act (H.R. 5) on February 11th, continuing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization process. The legislation consolidates more than 65 programs, including the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative (21st CCLC), the principal federal funding stream for afterschool, into a single grant program.

As pointed out by the Afterschool Alliance in a statement released earlier this week, such consolidation could be devastating for the 1.6 million young people served by 21st CCLC afterschool and summer learning programs across the nation. In fact, it is possible that the new grant structure would provide no resources whatsoever for students outside the school day. As a result, many children would be unsupervised, missing valuable learning opportunities that could help them succeed in school and in life, and without a host of other supports, including nutritious meals and opportunities for physical activity, STEM learning and access to mentors. 

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Budget Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy
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FEB
11

POLICY
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Upcoming Congressional briefing to focus on value of afterschool, 21st CCLC

By Erik Peterson

On February 18th, Capitol Hill will play host to a Senate Afterschool Caucus briefing for Congressional staff on the need for high-quality afterschool and summer learning programs.  Entitled “America After 3PM: Supporting Student Success Through Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs,” the briefing will cover recent America After 3PM data as well as experiences at the state and local level of how the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative plays a critical role in providing young people with educational and engaging experiences to help them succeed in school and in life. The briefing comes just weeks before the Senate HELP Committee is scheduled to mark up their draft ESEA reauthorization bill which proposes to eliminate 21st CCLC.

Speakers include:

  • Jodi Grant, Executive Director of the Afterschool Alliance
  • Marsha Edwards, CEO of the Martha O’Bryan Center, Nashville , Tenn.
  • Deputy Secretary of Education John Fischer, Vermont Department of Education 

Those in the DC area are invited to attend the briefing which will occur on February 18, 2015, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, room SVC 200, Washington, D.C.  Please RSVP by email to Josh Westfall jwestfall@wpllc.net by February 16, 2015.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Events and Briefings Federal Funding Federal Policy
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FEB
10

POLICY
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House Education Committee set to mark up ESEA bill; more than 500 groups urge support for afterschool

By Erik Peterson

As the House Education and the Workforce Committee prepares to mark up HR 5 on February 11th, continuing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization process, a diverse coalition of 536 local, state and national organizations has sent a letter to the House Education Committee urging them to maintain the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) initiative as a separate and specific federal funding stream for school and community partnerships to support students in grades Pre-K through 12 during the hours outside of the school day.  The groups, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and including 61 leading national organizations, wrote in support of quality afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs that provide 1.6 million young people annually with the academic, social and emotional learning opportunities they need to be successful in school and in life.

The letter seeks to preserve 21st CCLC even as HR 5 would consolidate 65 federal education programs, including 21st CCLC, creating instead a block grant that would consequently de-emphasize support for afterschool and summer learning programs. The letter sent this week, signed by positive youth development organizations, STEM groups, education organizations, physical activity and health associations, anti-hunger groups and more, is just one of many recent efforts in the past several weeks aimed at protecting dedicated 21st CCLC federal funding for afterschool and summer learning programs that serve as a platform to make a difference in the lives of children.  Among the other efforts undertaken by groups seeking to protect 21st CCLC:

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy
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