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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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FEB
12

POLICY
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House Education Committee passes ESEA reauthorization, Rep. Barletta speaks out on value of 21st CCLC

By Erik Peterson

The House Education and the Workforce Committee under Chairman John Kline (R-MN) passed the Student Success Act (H.R. 5) on February 11th, continuing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization process. The legislation consolidates more than 65 programs, including the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative (21st CCLC), the principal federal funding stream for afterschool, into a single grant program.

As pointed out by the Afterschool Alliance in a statement released earlier this week, such consolidation could be devastating for the 1.6 million young people served by 21st CCLC afterschool and summer learning programs across the nation. In fact, it is possible that the new grant structure would provide no resources whatsoever for students outside the school day. As a result, many children would be unsupervised, missing valuable learning opportunities that could help them succeed in school and in life, and without a host of other supports, including nutritious meals and opportunities for physical activity, STEM learning and access to mentors. 

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Budget Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy
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FEB
11

POLICY
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Upcoming Congressional briefing to focus on value of afterschool, 21st CCLC

By Erik Peterson

On February 18th, Capitol Hill will play host to a Senate Afterschool Caucus briefing for Congressional staff on the need for high-quality afterschool and summer learning programs.  Entitled “America After 3PM: Supporting Student Success Through Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs,” the briefing will cover recent America After 3PM data as well as experiences at the state and local level of how the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative plays a critical role in providing young people with educational and engaging experiences to help them succeed in school and in life. The briefing comes just weeks before the Senate HELP Committee is scheduled to mark up their draft ESEA reauthorization bill which proposes to eliminate 21st CCLC.

Speakers include:

  • Jodi Grant, Executive Director of the Afterschool Alliance
  • Marsha Edwards, CEO of the Martha O’Bryan Center, Nashville , Tenn.
  • Deputy Secretary of Education John Fischer, Vermont Department of Education 

Those in the DC area are invited to attend the briefing which will occur on February 18, 2015, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, room SVC 200, Washington, D.C.  Please RSVP by email to Josh Westfall jwestfall@wpllc.net by February 16, 2015.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Events and Briefings Federal Funding Federal Policy
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FEB
10

POLICY
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House Education Committee set to mark up ESEA bill; more than 500 groups urge support for afterschool

By Erik Peterson

As the House Education and the Workforce Committee prepares to mark up HR 5 on February 11th, continuing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization process, a diverse coalition of 536 local, state and national organizations has sent a letter to the House Education Committee urging them to maintain the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) initiative as a separate and specific federal funding stream for school and community partnerships to support students in grades Pre-K through 12 during the hours outside of the school day.  The groups, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and including 61 leading national organizations, wrote in support of quality afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs that provide 1.6 million young people annually with the academic, social and emotional learning opportunities they need to be successful in school and in life.

The letter seeks to preserve 21st CCLC even as HR 5 would consolidate 65 federal education programs, including 21st CCLC, creating instead a block grant that would consequently de-emphasize support for afterschool and summer learning programs. The letter sent this week, signed by positive youth development organizations, STEM groups, education organizations, physical activity and health associations, anti-hunger groups and more, is just one of many recent efforts in the past several weeks aimed at protecting dedicated 21st CCLC federal funding for afterschool and summer learning programs that serve as a platform to make a difference in the lives of children.  Among the other efforts undertaken by groups seeking to protect 21st CCLC:

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy
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FEB
3

POLICY
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House Education Committee leaders Kline and Rokita introduce ESEA reauthorization bill

By Erik Peterson

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN) introduced  the Student Success Act (H.R. 5) today, which would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  Based on a proposal passed by the House of Representatives in 2013, H.R. 5 focuses on giving more control over federal education dollars to local and state education agencies.  The legislation consolidates more than 65 programs, including the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative (21st CCLC), into a Local Academic Flexible Grant designed to help schools support students.

The elimination of targeted spending for before school, afterschool and summer learning has the potential to be devastating to programs across the country, and it is possible that the new grant structure will not provide any resources to students outside the school day.  These students are at risk of being unsupervised after the school bell rings and losing valuable learning opportunities that help them succeed academically, as well as losing access to a host of additional resources including nutritious meals, physical activity, STEM learning and access to mentors.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy
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FEB
3

POLICY
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The president's FY2016 budget: An afterschool and summer learning perspective

By Erik Peterson

On February 2, President Obama released his budget request for the upcoming 2016 fiscal year, which begins this October.  The president requested $1.152 billion for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) —reflecting the same funding level as the current 2015 fiscal year.  Unlike his previous budget requests, the president’s proposal appears to keep 21st CCLC as a formula grant that flows to state education agencies, with states holding a competitive grant process at the state level.  The proposal from previous years to turn 21st CCLC into a national competitive grant competition is not included in the proposal this year.  However, as in past years, the budget proposal does propose using 21st CCLC grant funding for new purposes including adding time to the traditional school day or year, and for teacher planning and professional development.  The budget proposal comes as ESEA reauthorization efforts in the Senate HELP Committee seek to eliminate 21st CCLC.

In a challenging budget environment in which many programs face consolidation or elimination, the proposed level funding for 21st CCLC in the budget request demonstrates the importance and value of afterschool and summer learning programs.  Yet, we know that even with this strong support, more than 11 million students remain unsupervised after school and the parents of almost 20 million students would like their children to be in programs but they are unavailable, unaffordable or both.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Budget Federal Funding Federal Policy Obama
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JAN
30

POLICY
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More than 260 groups call on Senate HELP Committee to support 21st CCLC afterschool

By Erik Peterson

Today a broad coalition of 266 local, state and national organizations urged the Senate HELP Committee to maintain the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) initiative as a separate and specific federal funding stream for school and community partnerships to support students in grades Pre-K through 12 during the hours outside of the school day.  Quality afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs provide young people with the academic, social and emotional learning opportunities they need to be successful in school and in life.

Organizations ranging from the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) and the Food Research and Action Center, to the American Heart Association and the National Education Association, all came together on the letter because of the broad value of afterschool and summer learning programs as a platform to make a difference in the lives of children.  Whether it is inspiring girls to pursue a STEM career or providing a venue to offer a nutritious meal and vigorous physical activity, comprehensive afterschool programs funded by 21st CCLC since 2001 positively impact more than 1 million school-age children each year.  The letter comes in response to Senate HELP Committee Chairman Alexander’s discussion draft ESEA bill, which would eliminate 21st CCLC and replace it with a block grant that could be used for afterschool and summer learning or a variety of in-school student supports.  

The full text of the letter along with signing organizations including groups from 35 states and more than 50 leading national organizations can be viewed here and follows below.  Maximize the impact by emailing your Senators and urging them to support 21st CCLC—take action now!

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learn more about: 21st CCLC ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy
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JAN
29

POLICY
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Bipartisan Afterschool for America's Children Act introduced in the Senate

By Erik Peterson

With the Elementary and Secondary Education Action (ESEA) reauthorization process underway in the Senate HELP Committee, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Shelly Moore-Capito (R-WV) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced their bipartisan Afterschool for America’s Children Act in the Senate today.  The Afterschool for America’s Children Act legislation reauthorizes the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative and builds on past afterschool and summer learning program success.  The bill was introduced this week in the wake of a proposal to eliminate 21st CCLC through ESEA.

 The bill:

  • Strengthens school-community partnerships to include sharing of data and resources, the ability to better leverage relationships within the community and provide an intentional alignment with the school day.
  • Promotes professional development and training of afterschool program staff.
  • Encourages innovative new ways to engage students in learning that looks different from a traditional school day, with an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning; science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); and physical activity and nutrition education.  Supports approaches that focus on individualized learning that provide a variety of ways for students to master core skills and knowledge.
  • Provides accountability measures that are connected to college- and career-readiness goals and show student progress over time towards meeting indicators of student success including school attendance, grades and on-time grade level advancement.
  • Ensures that funding supports programs that utilize evidence-based, successful practices.
  • Increases quality and accountability through parent engagement, better alignment with state learning objectives and coordination between federal, state and local agencies. 
  • Does not prioritize any one model of expanded learning opportunities over another. 
  • Maintains formula grants to states that then distribute funds to local school-community partnerships through a competitive grant process.

The bill was introduced in the 113th Congress as S. 326, signifying the hours from 3PM to 6PM when young people need access to quality afterschool programs that keep them safe and inspire learning.  Among the groups registering support for the bill in the 113th Congress were the Afterschool Alliance, After-School All-Stars, American Camp Association, American Heart Association, A World Fit For Kids, Champions, Harlem RBI, National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Collaboration for Youth, Save the Children and the United States Tennis Association. 

In addition to these organizations, it’s important that Congress see a strong showing of support from afterschool advocates across the country.  Your senators want to hear from you!  Take action now by urging your senators to sign on as co-sponsors to support the next generation of afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs that are re-engaging children in their education and future.  Share personal examples or experiences that illustrate the importance of these out-of-school programs for enhancing learning, keeping kids safe and helping working families.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Federal Funding Federal Policy
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JAN
29

RESEARCH
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The eighth-to-ninth grade transition: How afterschool can help

By Dan Gilbert

This is first in a series of blogs the Afterschool Alliance will publish exploring the challenges of transitioning to high school, and how out-of-school time can help. 

The transition from middle school to high school is a tumultuous one, a transition in which students encounter many possible obstacles.  They must navigate shifting social structures and build new relationships in a new and unfamiliar environment, all while dealing with more difficult and rigorous coursework than in previous years.

A number of studies have shown that how students fare in the eighth-to-ninth grade transition can be a powerful predictor of whether or not they will graduate from high school on time, or at all.  Educational data show that there are consistently more students in the ninth grade than in either the eighth or the tenth grades, a phenomenon that experts commonly refer to as the ‘ninth grade bulge.’  This is largely attributable to two factors: first, more students fail the ninth grade than any other grade, and second, more students are held back in ninth grade than any other grade. According to the National High School Center, “a disproportionate number of students who are held back in ninth grade subsequently drop out.”

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learn more about: Youth Development
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