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.
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:
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.”
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.
By Jodi Grant
Thank you! This morning, Congress released the Every Student Succeeds Act—compromise legislation that will reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—and I am thrilled to report that it includes a dedicated funding stream for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC). Because of your advocacy, we are closer to preserving high quality afterschool and summer learning programs for millions of students.
This legislative victory was not easy to achieve! Afterschool programs faced challenges from every corner: a White House that wanted to divert funds to other programs, two Senate bills introduced in previous Congresses that would have diverted afterschool dollars, and earlier versions of House and Senate education bills introduced this year that would have eliminated the entire 21st CCLC funding stream.
But the afterschool community prevailed because we came together, in all 50 states, to showcase the value of high quality afterschool and summer learning programs. Your voices and the successful programs you run saved 21st CCLC.
With the Thanksgiving holiday around the corner, here are a few things to be on the lookout for in December—a month that looks to be a busy one for federal policy related to afterschool and summer learning programs.
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization. As noted last week here and here, the ESEA conference committee met last week and completed their work, passing a conference report out of committee. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the new compromise ESEA bill, reportedly to be called the Every Student Succeeds Act, the week of Nov. 30—likely Tuesday or Wednesday of that week. The Senate will likely take up the bill the week of Dec. 7.
The text of the Every Student Succeeds Act should be made public Nov. 30 as well; based on the now-public framework of the bill, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative is included and reflects the bipartisan language agreed to unanimously by the Senate HELP Committee earlier this year. Reauthorizing and strengthening 21st CCLC will mean almost two million children will continue to have access to quality afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs provided by local school-community partnerships.
The Child Protection Improvements Act (CPIA) H.R. 4073 was reintroduced by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rep. Mike Bishop (R-MI) in the House last week. The reintroduced bipartisan legislation would enable afterschool and other child-serving non-profit providers to access the national FBI fingerprint search databases through a federal criminal history review entity and to do so at affordable rates, bringing positive impacts to children and programs.
Currently, only state agencies can request FBI background checks, and in many states youth-serving non-profit providers are not given access to these requests. The law would expand access to allow all providers to identify applicants with out-of-state criminal records (who in pilot studies were revealed to be 6 percent of applicants) in a timely manner.
The bill may also streamline efforts by state child care providers to comply with updated requirements in the Child Care and Development Block Grant of 2014 legislation requiring an FBI fingerprint check for all staff members.
The bill language, highlighted in a prior blog here, is supported by a broad range of community groups such as the Afterschool Alliance, MENTOR, the American Camp Association, the YMCA of the USA, Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. To learn more, visit the MENTOR site.
The House and Senate conference committee for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Act (formerly No Child Left Behind) met to complete their amendment process today on a compromise framework for the new bill. The committee voted nearly unanimously (with one “no” vote) to accept and move the framework out of the committee and into full chamber votes in each house of Congress.
In next steps, the framework will be converted into the full text of the bill, an action expected to be final by November 30. Representative John Kline, conference chair and chair of the House Education and Workforce committee, has said the House could then begin considering the bill December 2 or 3. Senator Lamar Alexander, chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, said the Senate will have a week to review the bill language before it will be brought to the Senate floor, which may be as soon as December 7.
Without the bill language yet made public, information as to the text of the bill has come only from secondary and tertiary sources. However, education and political journalists at Education Week and Politico have noted that 21st Century Community Learning Centers have been preserved with a designated funding stream in the compromise bill. If that is the case, nearly 2 million children in pre-K through 12th grade, and their families and communities, will continue to have access to high-quality afterschool and summer learning programs provided by local school-community partnerships.
Details regarding STEM support, community school resources and other aspects of the final compromise legislation are expected to be made public after the Thanksgiving holiday. The process of bringing the legislation to this point has not been easy and as Senator Murray, ranking member of the HELP Committee, stated many times during the conference, “this framework is not what I would have written on my own, but it is a compromise.”
The Afterschool Alliance will issue a public statement on the final ESEA compromise bill when the bill is made public for review in advance of expected floor votes in the House and Senate.