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Afterschool Policy Snacks
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

POLICY
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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.

DEC
9
2015

POLICY
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Landmark reauthorization passes Senate, but still no clear budget deal in sight

By Erik Peterson

With the new Every Student Succeeds Act set to be signed into law tomorrow (Thursday) securing the authorization of the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) program for the next four years, attention now turns to completing the FY2016 budget. Funding for all federal programs, including 21st CCLC, Child Care and Development Block Grants, and AmeriCorps, are operating under a continuing resolution (CR) for FY2016 that is set to expire this Friday, December 11th.

House and Senate negotiators continue to struggle to find a compromise for the omnibus spending bill that can be signed by the White House due to a variety of policy riders Members are trying to include in the final spending package. Several scenarios have emerged:

  • Congress can pass a short-term CR through next week giving negotiators time to resolve differences over policy riders, followed by passage of a final omnibus FY2016 spending bill; 
  • Congress can pass a long-term CR through next spring or late winter for at least some federal agencies including the Department of Education; or. 
  • Congress can pass a final CR through next fall locking in FY2015 spending levels. 

One good piece of news is that all parties in the negotiations process have made it clear they do not want the government to shutdown.

Friends of afterschool are encouraged to thank their Member of Congress for supporting 21st CCLC in the ESEA reauthorization bill and also call on Congress to pass an omnibus spending measure that funds 21st CCLC and other funding streams that support afterschool at least at current funding levels. You can learn more and take action here.

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learn more about: Budget Congress ESEA Federal Policy Obama
DEC
9
2015

POLICY
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Senate passes ESEA, 21st CCLC: sends to President for signature

By Erik Peterson

By a strong bipartisan vote of 85 to 12, the US Senate cleared the second to last hurdle for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) sending the measure, which will now be called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), to the President’s desk to be signed into law, with reports indicating that the signing will occur tomorrow, Dec. 10. The long delayed reauthorization of ESEA includes multiple provisions strengthening and supporting student access to quality afterschool and summer learning programs, including an update to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative. 

As described by Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant in a letter to the field last week, there were multiple challenges to the inclusion of 21st CCLC in the final ESEA bill including efforts to eliminate the program. However 21st CCLC was preserved in the final compromise bill as a result of the strong evidence base of 21st CCLC, well-reasoned advocacy on the part of afterschool supporters and more than 670 allied organizations, and tremendous champions in Congress including Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Al Franken (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and in the House of Representatives by Representatives Lou Barletta (R-PA), Dan Kildee (D-MI), David Cicilline (D-RI), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Susan Brooks (R-IN), Don Young (R-AK) and Nita Lowey (D-NY).

Among the key provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act that support afterschool and summer learning programs for K through 12th grade students are the following:

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Advocacy Congress ESEA Obama
DEC
8
2015

POLICY
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Making sense of afterschool policy jargon

By Robert Abare

“ESEA,” “ESSA,” and “21st CCLC” may look like spoonfuls of alphabet soup to some, but if you’ve been following the latest legislative developments in afterschool policy on the Afterschool Snack blog, then you know these terms appear quite often. As we enter a busy time of legislative action on education-related issues, we felt it would be helpful for our readers to freshen up their understanding of essential policy lexicon.

You can use the following “dictionary” to make sure our future policy updates don't go misunderstood! You can also explore afterschool and summer learning policy issues in greater detail on our Afterschool Policy page.

21st CCLC – The 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative. This is the only federal funding source dedicated exclusively to afterschool programs. Each state receives 21stCCLC funding based on its share of Title I funding for low-income or disadvantaged students. 21st CCLC was included in the most recent measure to reauthorize ESEA, which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on December 2, 2015.

Appropriations – The process by which Congress allocates funding for programs and initiatives that have been signed into law, which is accomplished by regularly passing appropriations bills. The main bodies responsible for this process are the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations and the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, each of which are broken into several subcommittees that deal with specific areas, like “Homeland Security” or “Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.”   

DEC
2
2015

POLICY
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House passes ESEA reauthorization, 21st CCLC included

By Erik Peterson

This evening the House of Representatives voted 359 to 64 in favor of passing the Every Student Succeeds Act—the measure that would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replace No Child Left Behind. As mentioned earlier this week, the legislation does include the Senate bill’s language strengthening and reauthorizing the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative that funds local school-community partnerships and provides millions of students and families with access to quality afterschool and summer learning programs.

During an hour of floor debate on the bill, several members of Congress including Reps. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD) emphasized the value of afterschool programs and community schools supported through the legislation. Following passage of the measure, Representatives Lou Barletta (R-PA) and Dan Kildee (D-MI) issued press releases supporting the bill and highlighting the important role of 21st CCLC afterschool programs in helping young people be successful in school and in life.