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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
JUN
29

POLICY
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Bipartisan Summer Meals Act introduced in Senate

By Erik Peterson

This week Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced the bipartisan Summer Meals ActS. 2527, which would enhance the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Summer Food Service Program. The legislation would help improve nutrition and enhance learning in underserved areas by better integrating summer learning programs with meal programs, making it easier for community-based organizations to participate in the summer meals program, addressing barriers to summer meals in rural communities and by providing a third meal for children who attend evening enrichment programs.

Across the country, 31 million children receive free or reduced price school lunch—meaning their families live at or near the poverty line—but only 1 in 7 of these high-need children have access to summer meals. The Summer Meals Act would help more children access healthful food by lowering the community threshold from 50 percent to 40 percent or more of students receiving free or reduced price lunch to be eligible for the summer meals program, making it consistent with the eligibility for summer learning programs provided through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative. This legislation would also reduce the paperwork burden for community based organizations who want to participate in the program, provide children with transportation to the summer meals sites in hard-to-serve areas, and would also offer an additional meal to children who attend evening programs.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress Federal Policy Legislation Nutrition Summer Learning Sustainability
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JUN
9

POLICY
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My Brother's Keeper Task Force reports back to the president

By Erik Peterson

In late February, Pres. Obama appointed a high-level task force to oversee his new “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative “to develop a coordinated federal effort to improve significantly the expected life outcomes for boys and young men of color.” Recently the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force released a report on their first 90 days of actions, including key recommendations for the initiative moving forward.

Since the launch of My Brother’s Keeper initiative, the president’s task force has met with and heard from thousands of Americans through online and in-person listening sessions, including a number of afterschool and summer learning providers.  Cities and towns, businesses, foundations, faith leaders and individuals have made commitments to helping youth get a strong start in school and life and later connect them to mentoring, support networks and specialized skills they need to find a good job or go to college.

The 90-day report laid out cross-cutting recommendations, seven broad themes and specific recommendations.  The importance of afterschool is highlighted in the specific recommendations, which call for expansion of effective afterschool and summer programs to accelerate socio-emotional and academic learning and health.  The recommendations also call for a public-private campaign to recruit high-quality, sustained mentors—an important component of many afterschool programs.  Details on the recommendations are below. 

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Equity Federal Policy Media Outreach Obama Youth Development
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JUN
3

POLICY
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Bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act proposed in Congress

By Erik Peterson

Late last month, a bipartisan group of law makers in the House and Senate introduced the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), a bill that would reauthorize and update the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and eliminate duplicative programs, improve reporting requirements and develop a set of common performance measures.

With regard to youth programs, WIOA would:

  • Require 75 percent of youth funding to support out-of-school youth, of which 20 percent is prioritized for "work-based activities." This would include funding career pathways development, dropout recovery efforts, skills training, and education and training leading to a recognized postsecondary credential.
  • Provide youth with disabilities the services and support they need to be successful in competitive, integrated employment.
  • Reauthorize the YouthBuild program; stipulating an independent evaluation of activities is conducted at least every four years for the purposes of improving the management and effectiveness of related programs and activities. The bill includes language that also allows the YouthBuild program to expand into additional in-demand industry sectors or occupations specific to its region, in recognition of the "changing demands of the economy."
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learn more about: Congress Federal Funding Legislation Youth Development
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MAY
21

POLICY
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Experts to share the latest afterschool research and outcomes at Congressional briefing

By Erik Peterson

We know the achievement gap is real—73 percent of fourth graders scoring below the 25th percentile in math are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch. Now we have research that offers a solution: participating in afterschool activities—consistently across the elementary school grades—improves the math achievement of children from low-income families. In fact, taking part in these programs can help eliminate the gap in math achievement between low-income and high-income children by grade five.

Tomorrow, Dr. Deborah Lowe Vandell, founding dean of the School of Education at the University of California-Irvine, will present this latest research to an audience of Congressional staff and policy professionals as part of a special briefing co-hosted by the Afterschool Alliance and the Expanded Learning Project. The briefing will feature both research and examples on how participation in afterschool programs is linked to overall improvements in academic achievement, reductions in school absences and improvements in behavioral outcomes.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Champions Congress Equity Evaluations Events and Briefings
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APR
13

POLICY
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Thanks for making #3to6 Day a success!

By Erik Peterson

On March 26 (3/26) more than 3 million parents, young people and supporters of afterschool were reached through an online campaign that raised awareness about the value of afterschool programs and called for Congressional support of the Afterschool for America’s Children Act: S. 326 and HR 4086. 

Every afternoon between the hours of 3 to 6 p.m. children nationwide should have the opportunity to participate in engaging afterschool programs that support their learning and development and spark their passions and creativity.  In recognition of the afterschool hours of opportunity from 3 to 6 p.m., on 3/26 friends of afterschool programs took to their social media networks to promote afterschool and build support for the Afterschool for America’s Children Act. 

The bipartisan Afterschool for America’s Children Act, S. 326 and HR 4086—led by Sens. Boxer, Murkowski and Murray in the Senate and by Reps. Kildee and DeLauro in the House—would reauthorize and strengthen the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative—the nation’s chief federal funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs—by supporting innovative advances that support student success.

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learn more about: Advocacy ESEA Inside the Afterschool Alliance Legislation Media Outreach
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APR
4

POLICY
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It's appropriations season: 2015 appropriations process continues in House and Senate

By Erik Peterson

With the House and Senate each passing their own budget resolutions last month, and the president’s budget request submitted to Congress earlier this month, the FY2014 appropriations process can now move forward.  A challenge for Congress early in the process is trying to reconcile the House and Senate FY2014 budget bills.  Reconciling the two is a difficult prospect as the Senate resolution has $92 billion more than the House does to fund programs.
 
Despite the differences, House and Senate appropriations committees have begun holding hearings on the FY2014 spending bills, including Labor, HHS, Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee hearings featuring testimony by Education Secretary Arne Duncan.  At the House subcommittee hearing in early April, Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Nita Lowey (D-NY) emphasized the importance of  maintaining strong investments in afterschool programs through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC)  initiative and cautioned against diverting federal afterschool funding.  As part of her formal statement, LHHS Subcommittee Ranking Member DeLauro addressed the need for an increase in funding while also noting her concerns with the Administration’s proposed changes to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative:
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learn more about: 21st CCLC Budget Congress ESEA Federal Funding
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MAR
24

POLICY
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Raise your voice for afterschool programs on 3/26

By Erik Peterson

This Weds., 3/26, raise awareness about the value of afterschool programs and support the Afterschool for America’s Children Act: S. 326! 

Every afternoon between the hours of 3 to 6 p.m. children nationwide should have the opportunity to participate in engaging afterschool programs that support their learning and development and spark their passions and creativity.  In recognition of the afterschool hours of opportunity from 3 to 6 p.m., on 3/26 use your own social media network to promote afterschool and build support for Senate Bill 326—the Afterschool for America’s Children Act. 

The bipartisan Afterschool for America’s Children Act, S. 326 and HR 4086—led by Sens. Boxer, Murkowski and Murray in the Senate and by Reps. Kildee and DeLauro in the House—would reauthorize and strengthen the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative—the nation’s chief federal funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs—by supporting innovative advances that support student success. 

Quick ways you can take action!

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Advocacy Afterschool Voices Congress Legislation Media Outreach Sustainability
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MAR
14

POLICY
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Senate passes Child Care and Development Block Grant Act

By Erik Peterson

Bipartisan support and a great deal of advocacy from supporters of child care, afterschool programs and early education led senators to vote overwhelmingly yesterday in favor of reauthorizing S. 1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014.  This was the first reauthorization of CCDBG since 1996.

The Afterschool Alliance supported the legislation and its recognition of the importance of including care for school-age children up to 13 years old.  Given the research on the benefits of a continuum of care that begins with early education and extends into the school-age years of childhood, it's important to emphasize the value of quality school-age child care to achieve positive outcomes for children, including improved academic performance, work habits and study skills.  The bill includes many common-sense measures to help protect children in child care, such as requiring providers to undergo comprehensive background checks and ensuring annual inspections are conducted.

The need for quality afterschool programs and child care for school-age children continues to grow, therefore adequate funding for CCDBG will be necessary for this legislation to have the most impact.  The FY2015 spending process is scheduled to begin in earnest next month.  In addition to ensuring adequate resources for CCDBG, the House must also pass a CCDBG reauthorization bill.  The House Education and the Workforce Committee is reportedly planning a hearing on CCDBG for the morning of March 25.  Take action here to support funding for CCDBG and other federal afterschool funding sources.

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learn more about: Congress Legislation
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