In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama called for preschool programs for every 4-year-old—an idea that 30 states are funding. Providing early education for youngsters who haven’t started school is an idea whose time has come. So is supporting after-school programs for elementary school students. Researcher Deborah Vandell explains why.
Vandell, founding dean of the School of Education at the University of California-Irvine, is a distinguished education researcher focusing on issues of P-20 education and longitudinal studies of development.
What was the best Super Bowl ad? That’s not really the point, if you ask afterschool teens who participate in The LAMP’s (Learning About Multimedia Project) media literacy program. They might ask back what those ads reveal about us and our culture, and how ads might be manipulating viewers.
At the Break the Super Bowl event last Sunday night, teens from the McBurney YMCA remixed and deconstructed Super Bowl commercials as they aired, ultimately creating original works of video criticism. The “broken ad” pieces were created with a budget of $0, on a regular laptop computer, in less time than half a football game. Yet they raised important questions about the marketing techniques we are exposed to every day.
The Wallace Foundation has released two great new videos that make a clear and compelling case for investing in afterschool programs and the city systems needed to support them.
"Afterschool: Hours of Opportunity" features the data and images of powerful afterschool experiences, demonstrating the importance of afterschool programs in providing opportunities to expand and deepen learning, to complement the school day with fun and engaging projects, and to close the opportunity gap. As featured expert Robert Balfanz of Johns Hopkins University says, "Afterschool is where the community can help the school push back against the hungry bear of poverty."
“Better Together: Boosting Afterschool by Building Citywide Systems” hits on the elements essential to supporting programs: systems that address data, quality, leadership and coordination.
Forty-five states have adopted the Common Core State Standards in both English Language Arts and Math, with the majority of these states expected to implement the standards by the 2013-2014 school year. As more schools begin to implement the Common Core standards, afterschool programs are well-positioned to support the learning that takes place during the school day and to align afterschool programming so that it bolsters students’ academic growth and engagement in learning.
The Afterschool Alliance recently released an issue brief describing how afterschool programs are an ideal partner for schools and teachers in their work with the Common Core standards.
Below is a short Q&A on the intersection of afterschool programs and the Common Core standards.
How can afterschool learning contribute to student achievement under the Common Core standards?
- Across the country, afterschool programs are helping students develop the critical thinking, problem-solving and communications skills that the Common Core emphasizes.
- Afterschool programs create engaging, fun, thoughtful and relevant learning experiences for children, allowing them the opportunity to produce and create, delve deeper into projects, collaborate with their peers, and focus on the learning that takes place throughout projects, rather than solely on the end result.
- Working in partnership with schools and teachers, afterschool programs hold infinite potential to prepare children for college and the workforce, and have the competencies necessary to be successful, productive and engaged citizens.
Afterschool leader praises 2014 budget, lauds Congress for 'prioritizing children and working families'
By Jodi Grant
Statement of Jodi Grant, Executive Director, Afterschool Alliance
“The omnibus appropriations bill that Congress passed this week is a welcome step in the right direction toward prioritizing children and working families, as the country makes hard spending choices.
In restoring nearly $60 million in sequester cuts to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, Congress signaled that keeping kids safe, inspiring them to learn, and helping working families are priorities. That is very good news, as is the funding level of $1.149 billion, now in place for the remainder of FY2014. The 21st CCLC is the nation’s chief federal funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs, providing badly needed programs to 1.1 million students, many of whom would otherwise be unsupervised and at-risk when schools are closed.
This appropriations bill is also a step forward in terms what it does not contain—language that would allow 21st CCLC funds to be diverted for purposes other than providing the afterschool, before-school and summer programs children so urgently need.
In case you missed it, last week the Governator posed as a trainer at a Gold's Gym to promote physical activity and raise money for the afterschool program he founded, the After-School All-Stars.
By Jodi Grant
Statement of Jodi Grant, Executive Director, Afterschool Alliance. Read full press release here.
Gov. Cuomo’s announcement this afternoon is welcome news for afterschool programs across New York, and the children, working families and schools that rely on them. Afterschool programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and help working families by relieving parents of worries about whether their children are safe, supervised, and engaged in enriching, educational activities after the school day ends. But in recent years, in New York and across the country, these programs have suffered due to budget cuts and reductions in private contributions.
The need for afterschool programs remains huge. According to the Afterschool Alliance’s America After 3 PM study, 779,000 students in New York are on their own after school. The parents of 1.1 million New York kids say their children would participate in an afterschool program if one were available. Too often, it hasn’t been – but Gov. Cuomo aims to change that with the initiative he announced today.
Like the vast majority of parents, educators and the public, Gov. Cuomo made clear that he recognizes that afterschool programs are essential to giving our children the start they deserve. Combined with his new pre-K initiative, he has introduced a powerful package of supports for children and families. We commend his priorities, which will benefit New York families immeasurably.