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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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Afterschool Policy Snacks
FEB
25
2016

POLICY
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Acting Ed Secretary John B. King says he's a believer in afterschool

By Jillian Luchner

This week, elected officials in the House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce had an opportunity to ask their questions to Acting Secretary of Education John B. King regarding the newly passed federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and its implementation at a hearing entitled “Next Steps for K-12 Education.”

About an hour and a quarter into the hearing, the conversation turned to marshmallow pizzas and afterschool.

Representative and afterschool champion Lou Barletta (R-PA) asked the Secretary about the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program in Title IV of the law, highlighting the program as “the only federal funding source for our nation’s afterschool programs which students and working families rely on each and every day”. Barletta provided details about the SHINE (Schools and Homes in Education) afterschool program in his home state of Pennsylvania, mentioning that the program was 49 percent supported by 21st CCLC. Barletta had recently visited a program where students were using computer software to design a profitable restaurant, and where he was able to create and consume a marshmallow pizza as a result.

FEB
9
2016

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
3
2016

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
JAN
20
2016

POLICY
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Bipartisan Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill proposes to streamline afterschool and summer meals

By Erik Peterson

This morning, the Senate Agriculture Committee marks up the Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016, which would reauthorize the federal child nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP) At-Risk Afterschool Meals.  

The newly proposed bipartisan bill, crafted by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), includes a compromise on school lunch nutrition standards as well as changes to the way school lunch applications are verified. From an afterschool and summer learning perspective, the bill does the following:

JAN
13
2016

POLICY
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ESSA: What does it mean for afterschool and summer learning?

By Erik Peterson

With the passage late last year of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), many in the afterschool field have been asking about the impact of the new law on afterschool programs and the children served by programs providers. Join the Afterschool Alliance and a number of partner organizations for a webinar on January 20th when we seek to answer the question “what does ESSA mean for afterschool and summer learning program providers?”

This overview webinar seeks to break down what the new law says regarding funding and policy for afterschool and summer learning programs, whether through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, STEM afterschool provisions, full service community schools, or other programs. This introductory webinar will be the first in a series of five webinars to be held in the coming months that will go into depth on a variety of programs and topics in ESSA relevant to afterschool programs and providers. Bring your questions and join us on January 20, 2016, from 1PM ET – 2 PM ET. Register here.

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learn more about: Education Reform ESEA Obama
JAN
13
2016

POLICY
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President's final State of the Union sets agenda for the future

By Jillian Luchner

President Obama’ final State of the Union address appealed to the commonalities among us as a nation and posed 4 major questions:

  • How do we give everyone a fair shot at opportunity in this economy?
  • How do we make technology work for us and not against us?
  • How do we make the world safe without becoming the world’s police?
  • How can we make our politics reflect what’s best in us and not what’s worst?

In the afterschool field, there is much we can do—and are already doing—to help propel the vision the president sees for “the next five years, ten years, and beyond."

Afterschool programs provide daily access to the academic enrichment skills, interpersonal skills, mentors, and career introduction that young people need to be successful in life. Afterschool plays a key role in nurturing equal opportunity in the new economy.

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learn more about: Congress Obama Service Community Partners
JAN
4
2016

POLICY
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CCDBG implementation plans seek stakeholder input by March 1 deadline

By Jillian Luchner

The Child Care and Development Block Grants (CCDBG), supporting low-income working families with quality child care, were reauthorized in 2014 after 18 years. The update included a number of statutory changes on issues such as health and safety, staff training, background checks, staff ratios and group limit policies, consumer education, family eligibility policies, payment practices, tribal set-asides and quality standards among other topics.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has published a timeline of when expected changes must be enacted, and states must plan the details of implementation. Late in 2015, the Office of Child Care at HHS published the CCDF FY2016–2018 Final Plan Preprint for States and Territories and accompanying Program Instruction which serves as a blueprint for state agencies’ plans.

States have been given until March 1, 2016 to present plans on how they will implement the new requirementsEach state must meet with stakeholders and take public comment into consideration before finalizing their plan.

Some provisions especially relevant to afterschool programs include:

  • School-age child care ratios
  • Group size limits
  • Quality standards
  • Healthy and safety standards
  • Ensuring a continuum of care from early childhood programs into school age programs.  
  • Licensing and license exempt requirements for physical space
  • Inclusion of afterschool networks on advisory committees
  • Family income exit limits
  • Family contributions/ fees
  • Provider reimbursement rates
DEC
18
2015

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UPDATE: House and Senate pass FY16 spending bill with record high funding for afterschool

By Erik Peterson

UPDATE: Today the House and Senate passed the FY2016 omnibus spending bill that was unveiled earlier this week. With the bill having passed by bipartisan majority votes in both chambers, the President is expected to sign the measure into law shortly. The passage of the bill means the proposed increases to afterschool funding outlined below will go into effect. The Afterschool Alliance issued a statement on the spending bill today as well.

ORIGINAL POST (Dec. 16):

Last night House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House leaders unveiled a FY16 omnibus spending bill that will fund the government through the current fiscal year, which ends on September 30, 2016. There are several more steps before both houses of Congress send this budget to the President, but work is expected to be completed on the next ten days. A complementary tax extender bill was also unveiled early this morning and the two bills will be linked as they make their way through Congress.

The trillion-dollar government spending bill was made possible by the increased spending caps negotiated as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The omnibus includes funding increases for education, health and human services, child care, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and other key programs that directly contribute to the high-quality afterschool and summer learning programs millions of young people rely on.  

The Department of Education was funded at $71.7 billion, an increase of $1.171 billion compared to FY15. Funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative was increased by $15 million for FY16, bringing the total to a record $1.167 billion, up from $1.152 billion in FY15.