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Afterschool Policy Snacks
SEP
30

POLICY
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Update on the FY2016 temporary spending bill

By Erik Peterson

With the current 2015 federal fiscal year (FY2015) due to end at midnight on September 30, Congress is working on efforts to pass a temporary continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through December 11th of the upcoming FY2016 which will keep the government open two and half months into FY2016. 

This morning, the Senate voted on a so-called “clean” CR, which passed by a vote of 78 to 20. Following that vote, the House of Representatives is expected to vote late Wednesday to clear the CR for the President's signature, ensuring federal programs remain funded and in place for two and a half additional months.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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SEP
22

POLICY
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More than 670 groups demonstrate overwhelming show of support for 21st CCLC

By Jillian Luchner

letter signed by more than 100 national and 560 state and local organizations—including the Afterschool Alliance, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Citizen Schools, the National Center for Time and Learning, and the YMCA of the USA—was delivered to Capitol Hill today. The letter calls on Congress “to maintain the Title IV language in S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA), which authorizes the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) initiative as a separate and specific federal funding stream.”

The letter demonstrates a groundswell of support for the Senate 21st CCLC language, which passed unanimously and by bipartisan vote through the Senate HELP committee in the spring, and is absolutely essential to provide quality programming to more than one million young people after the end of the traditional school day.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Advocacy Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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SEP
10

POLICY
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More than 2,500 groups tell Congress to avoid fiscal meltdown

By Erik Peterson

The Afterschool Alliance joined more than 2,500 other national, state and local organizations for veterans, teachers, scientists, law enforcement, women's rights, transportation safety and others to call on Congress to avoid America’s next great budget crisis.

Funding levels for programs like the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, which provides quality learning opportunities for 1.6 million children when school is out, were not cut (and in fact increased slightly) the past two years under the bipartisan Murray-Ryan budget deal signed in December 2013. 

That agreement is set to expire on October 1st with the beginning of the 2016 federal fiscal year, meaning that 21st CCLC and hundreds of other nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs—ranging from education and job training, to housing and science, to natural resources and veterans services, to public health, safety and security—are once again on a crash course to disaster as the true impact of sequestration will be felt by millions of Americans from all walks of life.

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learn more about: Congress Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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SEP
8

POLICY
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Juvenile justice legislation celebrates its 41st birthday

By Jillian Luchner

Yesterday, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) celebrated its 41st birthday and the possibility of a new tune-up is on the horizon. The law, last reauthorized in 2002, is once again up for reauthorization. Senator Chuck Grassley’s bill, S. 1169, aims to give the important law the alterations it needs to bring it up to date.

The 2002 reauthorization of the legislation made some initial strides in protecting children under age 18 from exposure to the adult criminal justice system. It also secured some of the necessary data collection on juvenile custody in order to provide a national picture of who juvenile justice systems serve, including demographic and education obtainment data, and their levels of effectiveness.

Perhaps most importantly, the law authorized funding and technical assistance to support preventative and comprehensive services to juveniles and the personnel with whom they interact. These provisions aim to lower both rates of children’s entry and their rates of return into the juvenile justice system. These include afterschool programs, mentoring and programs for positive youth development.

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learn more about: Federal Policy Legislation
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AUG
28

POLICY
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Back to school (and afterschool!) for students and Congress

By Jillian Luchner

Students are returning to classrooms this fall to continue their studies, just as Congress plans to return on September 8th with its own need for continued learning. This fall Congress has big decisions on its plate about the future of the federal role in American schools and federal support for afterschool programs. They need to hear from you about how afterschool programs in your community are helping young people succeed in school and in life!

As students across the country get out their textbooks and begin their homework, use a few minutes of your own “homework time” to make sure you reach out to educate Congress on the essential need to keep afterschool programs authorized and funded to ensure high quality, safe, engaging places for students afterschool.

Students know their work outside of the classroom pays off and so will yours! Acting now by emailing Congress and spreading the word on social media will help preserve and strengthen the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative that provides afterschool programming for 1.6 million children. Taking two minutes to assist 1.6 million lives and the parents and communities around them will be sure to earn you a gold star. 

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Advocacy Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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AUG
26

POLICY
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How do Americans define effective schooling? By measures of engagement and student hopefulness

By Jillian Luchner

On Monday, August 24, Gallup/PDK released the 47th Annual Poll of the Public’s Attitudes toward the Public Schools, a nationally representative poll including a phone and web survey of more than 4,000 Americans. The poll focused substantially on perceptions of standardized testing but also touched on issues such as school choice, teacher quality, funding, and the roles of different levels of federal, state, and local government. Overall, the public seems to understand what the research has shown, that learning occurs best when tied to curiosity, interest and relationships.

Gallup/PDK Findings:

Engagement matters: Americans prefer to see student engagement and student hope for the future prioritized in schools.

  • 81% of public school parents believe “the percent of students who feel hopeful about their future” ought to be a very important measure of school effectiveness and 80% felt the same about student engagement.
  • The national public at large shared the sentiment with 78% listing engagement and 77% listing hopefulness as very important.
  • Meanwhile, 67% of public school parents surveyed felt there is too much emphasis on standardized testing and only 14% believe that standardized test scores can measure the effectiveness of the public schools.
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learn more about: Education Reform Federal Policy Academic Enrichment
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AUG
21

POLICY
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Comparing afterschool supports in the House and Senate ESEA reauthorization bills

By Jillian Luchner

It might officially be summer recess in Congress but hard work on ESEA reauthorization continues. For advocates in the field that means site visits, editorials and letter writing campaigns, all aimed at preserving the Senate 21st CCLC language. On Capitol Hill it means preparing for the conference committee which will create a single bill from the House (H.R. 5) and Senate (S. 1177) versions that passed through Congress in the late spring and early summer.

Rep. John Kline (R-MN) will chair the conference committee, which operates a rotating chairmanship between House and Senate leadership. The conference committee should also include Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), the chairs and ranking members of each chamber’s education-focused committee. Other members have yet to be selected.

The two bills being conferenced would both make significant changes to the current ESEA legislation as highlighted in a recent CRS report. The committee will have to negotiate a number of controversial and politically polarized issues such as mandatory partnerships, Title I portability, equity, accountability and funding formulas. Moreover, there is a major distinction in fund allocations. The Senate bill maintains many of the formula and competitive grant programs that support specific initiatives in education. The House bill creates aggregate block grants which distribute a specified amount of funding to a state for a broad variety of discretionary uses. While the Senate bill funds most programs with “such sums as may be available,” the House bill sets specific authorization amounts for each title of the bill.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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AUG
17

POLICY
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Iowa on the federal role for children in 2016

By Jillian Luchner

What does Iowa think about 2016?

Every Child Matters and the Child and Family Policy Center released the top line results of a poll of Iowan voters collecting popular opinion on child and family issues. A full 65% of voters were “very” or “mostly skeptical” that our children’s generation will have a better life than our own. Perhaps this is why they also recognized how important it is to invest in our children today. 84% would like to see sustained (32%) and increased (52%) federal investments in children’s health, education and nutrition.

Additional findings:

  • 77% of voters believe improving health, education and well-being of children is a high priority for the president to address.
  • 62% said they would be favorably impressed by a candidate who made afterschool a major element of their agenda. When split by gender, 66% of women and 58% of men agreed.
  • 67% reported a favorable impression towards a candidate prioritizing child care assistance for working families, and 77% felt strongly about support for child abuse prevention.
  • When asked if the federal government ought to focus more on the needs of children or the elderly, 53% of voters said children, while 24% said elderly. Even among those 65 and older, 49% preferred a focus on children rather than the elderly (22%).

Elevating children’s issues in the contest for the presidency is essential to protecting children’s programs and supports once a new candidate takes office. The Afterschool Alliance has published some good practices to keep election conversations focused on opportunities for our kids.

In the meantime, be sure to email Congress and urge them to invest in our country's future!

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learn more about: Federal Policy
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