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JAN
14

POLICY
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Omnibus spending bill ensures renewed federal support for afterschool, summer learning

By Erik Peterson

With only a few days before the Continuing Resolution funding the federal government expires on Wednesday, House and Senate appropriators unveiled the Fiscal Year 2014 (FY2014) Omnibus Appropriations bill last night. For the more than 8 million young people and their families that rely on afterschool and summer learning programs, the proposed Omnibus represents a step in the right direction. Most importantly, the majority of the FY2013 sequester cut to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative is restored, and no language was included allowing the diversion of afterschool funds to other purposes. In addition, there are slight increases in other key funding streams that support afterschool programs. 

Congress plans to pass an additional three day Continuing Resolution to allow time to consider and pass the FY2014 Omnibus bill. The Omnibus is a compromise between House and Senate appropriations committees and was made possible as a result of the budget deal struck between House and Senate Budget Committee Chairs last month, funding the government at $1 trillion through the end of September. Both the House and Senate must pass the Omnibus bill and the president must sign it before it becomes law.

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learn more about: Budget Congress Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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DEC
12

POLICY
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Guest Blog: Teens take D.C.

By Sarah Simpson

Alberto Cruz is the Senior Youth and Family Director for the West Side YMCA in New York City and an Afterschool Ambassador emeritus.

Through the generous support of the Robert Bowne Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance, teens from the West Side Y’s Teens Take the City (TTC) program headed off to Washington, D.C., last month to meet with our elected officials to speak on behalf of YMCA of Greater New York afterschool and youth programs.

West Side Y teens set out to take over D.C. and were led by former Afterschool Ambassador and current West Side Senior Youth and Family Director Alberto Cruz and Teen Program Director Johann Dubouzet. While learning about the political landscape in Washington, teens had the opportunity to meet with legislative aides from Reps. Rangel, Serrano and Engel and with aides in Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand to speak about the importance of supporting teen programs and in particular the Teens Take the City program. TTC gives teens the opportunity to learn and participate through mock proposal writing, research and presentations about city government.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Congress Guest Blog Youth Development
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DEC
12

POLICY
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Budget deal may restore some 2014 sequester cuts

By Erik Peterson

This week, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA)reached a two year budget deal. The compromise deal restores $63 billion of the harmful sequester cuts that have resulted in decreased federal support for a variety of education opportunities for young people, including support of afterschool and summer learning programs.

The budget deal, reached after weeks of negotiations following the government shutdown in October, restores almost two-thirds of the scheduled non-defense discretionary cuts in 2014, providing $45 billion split evenly between defense and nondefense discretionary spending.  For 2015 the agreement adds $18 billion, again split evenly between defense and non-defense discretionary spending. The Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) provides much-needed certainty for FY2014 and FY2015 and paves the way for passage of appropriations bills through regular order, rather than through continuing resolutions and crisis management. While a deal has been struck between budget committee chairs, the full Senate and House must still pass the BBA and the president must sign it into law. It's important to note that initial reaction to the deal from both parties has been positive. If the deal fails, however, a full year continuing resolution with additional sequestration cuts will be the result, likely meaning a continuation of harmful sequestration cuts that are impacting children and youth. 

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Afterschool Caucus Budget Congress
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NOV
13

POLICY
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What last week's elections mean for afterschool programs

By Michelle Cravez

Tuesday’s election results brought in a new wave of hope for our nation’s children.  As many of the newly elected officials and their proposals promised to bring sweeping reform across some of our largest school districts, some officials went even a step further and promised expansion of afterschool and summer programming.   

In New York City, the newly elected Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to improve communication between the New York State Education Department, Homeless Services and Child Services.  At the center of his educational platform is a plan to provide universal pre-kindergarten and increase afterschool programming for middle school students.  To raise the necessary funds, the mayor will raise the NYC income tax rate for incomes above $500,000 from 3.876 percent to 4.3 percent.  According to the Independent Budget Office, a municipal agency, the increase would average out to $973 a year for each of the 27,300 city taxpayers earning between $500,000 and $1 million.  His campaign website expands on his afterschool proposal:

Over the last several years in New York City, afterschool programs have been dramatically cut from 87,000 slots in 2008, to roughly 20,000 slots for FY2014.  Bill de Blasio has called for a large-scale expansion of afterschool programs for all middle school students by taxing New York’s wealthiest residents.  The extended learning time in afterschool programs helps our students make positive gains in their academic performance, benefit from diverse programs that enrich learning, improve communication skills with adults, decrease behavioral problems, and it offers young people alternatives to trouble on the streets.

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learn more about: Election Equity State Policy Youth Development
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NOV
13

POLICY
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Fighting for afterschool programs with brawn and brains: Mr. Schwarzenegger comes to Washington

By Erik Peterson

In late October former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger came to Washington, D.C., to shine a light on the importance of federal funding for afterschool programs. Through meetings hosted by leadership in both the House of Representatives and the Senate with both Republicans and Democrats, as well as a meeting with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and a stop at the new D.C. After-School All-Stars program, Gov. Schwarzenegger made clear the importance of afterschool programs in keeping young people safe and supported, inspiring learning for children and youth, and helping working families.

The focus of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s meetings on Capitol Hill was to express strong support for continued federal funding for afterschool programs through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative. The governor urged Members of Congress to find a separate funding stream for lengthening the school day or school year so that it doesn't compete with funding for afterschool programs. He also called for supporting the 21st CCLC program so that afterschool programs become an expectation, not an afterthought.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Advocacy Afterschool Caucus Afterschool Champions Celebrities Congress Department of Education Extended Day Media Outreach
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OCT
17

POLICY
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Senate passes Lights On Afterschool Resolution

By Erik Peterson

Last night Congress passed a bill based on an agreement struck by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that ended the the 16-day federal government shutdown and raised the debt ceiling, avoiding an international economic crisis.

After 16 days of the vast majority of the Federal workforce at home (90 percent of the Department of Education was furloughed), the bill reopens the government by providing funding through Jan. 15, 2014, at last year’s levels. For key federal funding that supports afterschool and summer learning programs, like the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative and Child Care Development Fund (CCDF), the bill means funding at last year’s levels despite increasing program costs and growing demand for quality afterschool programs.  The agreement also leaves in place the sequester, which is expected to result in an additional 7.2 percent cut to federal non-defense discretionary programs on Jan. 15. Education advocates are hopeful that the conference committee established by the agreement will address the pending sequester cut.  A final budget for FY2014 will have to be negotiated, voted on and signed by the president before the funding runs out on Jan. 15.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Afterschool Caucus Afterschool Champions Budget Department of Education Federal Funding Legislation
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OCT
15

POLICY
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STEM, child care & federal policy filled the agenda when state afterschool networks came to Washington

By Erik Peterson

Late last month, leaders from more than 40 state afterschool networks, including representatives from state education agencies, gathered for several days in Washington, D.C., for a national convening: “Expanded Learning Opportunities: STEM Programs and Systems.”

The convening, co-hosted by the Department of Education, the C.S. Mott Foundation and the Noyce Foundation, focused on creating positive STEM outcomes for more students through collaboration and cooperation among national, state and local partners. Sessions allowed network leaders and education officials to work together to consider how to leverage investments and actions to expand the availability of quality informal science in afterschool and impact more students across the country.

Deputy Secretary of Education Jim Shelton opened the conference with a well-received talk on the partnerships necessary to generate the best possible STEM outcomes in young people. Stating that learning occurring after school is just as essential as learning taking place during the school day, the deputy secretary demonstrated his understanding of the depth and power of informal STEM education occurring in quality afterschool programs.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Congress Department of Education Events and Briefings Federal Policy Inside the Afterschool Alliance Science State Networks State Policy Working Families Community Partners
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OCT
15

POLICY
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Juvenile justice & afterschool: an important connection

By Erik Peterson

Ed. Note: This blog was originally posted as part of the ACT4JJ Campaign's JJDPA Matters Blog Project, a 16-week series that launched Sept. 10, 2013. You can find the full series at the JJDPA Matters Action Center.

 

For almost 40 years, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) has supported the work of afterschool programs to protect young people and promote safe communities.  While just one part of the whole JJDPA picture, funding for evidence-based afterschool programs has empowered communities to implement innovative programs that provide opportunities to engage young people in their own futures. This week, JJDPA will be on our minds as more than one million Americans and thousands of communities nationwide celebrate Lights On Afterschool, an annual event that helps to raise awareness about the need for afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.

The JJDPA was one of the first federal legislative efforts to clearly link quality afterschool programming to the prevention of youth crime and violence. Within Title V of the law, Incentive Grants for Local Delinquency Prevention Programs fund a range of innovative and effective initiatives that bring together communities to provide mentoring and engaging activities for young people. A cost effective alternative to detention and incarceration, prevention and early intervention efforts like afterschool programs during the peak hours of youth crime (3-7:00 p.m.) keep young people safe while engaging in learning opportunities ranging from dance, gardening and spoken word, to robotics and building solar powered cars. Increasingly these programs are a setting for hands-on, social-emotional learning that help young people develop the skills they need to succeed in school and in life.

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learn more about: Equity Federal Funding Health and Wellness Youth Development
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