Sometimes it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to the huge library of research and reports we publish on our website. To help you out, we’ve compiled a reading list of the top 10 most-downloaded documents from our website in 2013.
Even if you’ve read them all before, now is a great time to brush up on these popular afterschool topics for 2014:
- Afterschool Outcomes 1-pager
- Afterschool Benefits Kids with Special Needs (2008)
- Afterschool: A Key to Successful Parent Engagement (2012)
- Afterschool: A Strategy for Addressing and Preventing Middle School Bullying (2011)
- Aligning Afterschool with the Regular School Day: The Perfect Complement (2011)
- English Language Learners: Becoming Fluent in Afterschool (2011)
- Quality Afterschool: Helping Programs Achieve it and Policies Support it (2011)
- The Importance of Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs in Africa-American and Latino Communities (2013)
- Afterschool: Providing Multiple Benefits to Middle School Students (2010)
- Arts Enrichment in Afterschool (2012)
We loved the message of this recent GE ad, “Childlike Imagination.” Already, it has more than 1.2 million views on YouTube. Earlier this month we blogged about the importance of mentors for inspiring girls and other populations underrepresented in STEM. Working moms in STEM surely inspire their own daughters, and we hope they seek opportunities to inspire more girls in their community!
Reps. Kildee, DeLauro introduce bill to strengthen support of afterschool and summer learning programs
Yesterday evening Reps. Dan Kildee (D-MI) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Afterschool for America's Children Act in the House of Representatives, HR 4086. The legislation would reauthorize and strengthen the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative—the nation’s chief federal funding stream for afterschool programs—by supporting innovative advances taking root in before-school, afterschool and summer learning programs. The bill is companion legislation to S. 326 introduced previously in the Senate. A summary of the legislation is available here.
The House 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 toward 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.
On Valentine’s Day, a number of working moms sent an open-letter Valentine to their afterschool programs, thanking them for keeping their kids safe after school, inspiring them to learn, and providing an engaging and academically enriching learning environment. Their heartfelt letters echo what polls and research have shown for years—afterschool programs are providing the essential support working families need.
Our 2011 issue brief “Afterschool and Working Families in the Wake of the Great Recession” not only explores the variety of ways afterschool programs are helping kids learn and grow, but discusses the peace of mind they bring to parents while they are at work. For example, a study by Catalyst and Brandeis University found that as many as 2.5 million parents are overly stressed by what their children are doing after school. One aspect that leads to an even higher risk for stress is when their children are unsupervised during the hours after school. Afterschool programs give working parents the reassurance they need that their children are in a safe and supportive environment during the gap in time between when the school day ends and when they get home from work. A survey last fall of working parents in New York reported that 95 percent said that they rely on child care and afterschool programs to keep their jobs.
This month marks the 21st anniversary of the enactment of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the historic legislation signed into law by Pres. Clinton in 1993 that has done so much to support working families. Given the new focus in Washington on supporting working families, it is worthwhile to revisit another legacy of the Clinton administration that has also been tremendously helpful for millions of working mothers and fathers during the past decade: the 21stCentury Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative.
Quality afterschool and summer learning programs funded through the 21st CCLC initiative provide a safe and engaging place for more than 1.6 million children and youth while their parents are at work. We know that parents with children in afterschool programs are less stressed, have fewer unscheduled absences and are more productive at work. However, with 15 million school-age children unsupervised between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m. on weekdays, the need for afterschool programs far outstrips the availability. As detailed in our 2011 issue brief, “Afterschool and Working Families in Wake of the Great Recession,” the gap between work and school schedules amounts to as much as 25 hours per week, which presents working parents whose children are not served by 21st CCLC or another afterschool program with the expensive challenge of finding someone to care for their children while they are at work.
By Jodi Grant
Valentine’s Day is all about showing the people you love how much they mean to you. It’s about expressing how you feel to those who make your life richer and more meaningful.
This year, moms around the country are sending Valentines to their afterschool programs.
It’s no wonder that afterschool programs hold a special place in the hearts of many busy parents. As a mom myself, I know how important it is to be sure that when they are not with me, my children are safe, supervised, learning and engaged. Afterschool programs do all that—they provide a space for children to expand their horizons, learn new skills, have new experiences, and explore their potential—all in a safe environment with adults who care about their success in school and in life. For moms in the workforce in particular, they are a life-saver.
Every day at the Afterschool Alliance, we hear from mothers who tell us how important afterschool programs are to them. They are impressed with the dedication and commitment of afterschool staff and volunteers, who work so hard to create opportunities for their kids to explore their interests. They say their children enjoy the programs, talk about what they learned there, and participate in exciting activities – from judo to robotics to dance to creative writing.
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.
The latest Shriver Report on poverty in the U.S. shines a light on the many challenges facing working women, especially working moms, and the supports that could help them gain sure footing and step away from the brink of financial disaster. While women hold much sway as consumers and voters, too many are struggling to stay afloat, despite working harder than ever. The 2014 Shriver Report, A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink reports that:
- Women are nearly two-thirds of minimum-wage workers in the country.
- 40 percent of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income.
- The median earnings of full-time female workers are still just 77 percent of the median earnings of their male counterparts.
What’s refreshing is that Americans recognize we need to do more to support working women and families, and afterschool programs and child care are an enormous part of the solution. The Shriver Report poll of 3,000 Americans found that: