Afterschool Policy

Policy is a key part of the afterschool conversation

While policy debates have been focused primarily on K-12 school day issues, some significant steps have been taken around afterschool. The Afterschool Alliance has been an active voice in the discussions. 

Key Recommendations

  • Strengthen and fully fund the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative. Improvements should be made to reflect current research, including a new emphasis on alignment with the school day, informal STEM education, physical activity and wellness, and updated performance measures. Many of these recommendations are reflected in the Afterschool for America's Children Act, S. 326. A letter of support for the Senate version of the bill has been signed by more than 135 national, state and local organizations. A House version was introduced in February 2014 as well, with a letter of support touting the value of afterschool and summer learning programs.
  • Federal funding to support a longer school day or expanded learning time programs should require strong partnerships between schools and community based organizations. Programming provided during time added to the school day should complement but not replicate the school day and should include engaging, hands-on learning offered on a voluntary basis to students. Federal funding for a longer school day should not come at the expense of funding for needed afterschool and summer learning programs.
  • Maintain current law, which provides funds for 21st CCLC programs by formula to the states and District of Columbia, with each state education agency running a competitive grant program to award grants to local education agencies, community-based organizations and faith-based organizations. All grant applications should require school/community partnerships and a strong alignment between the community-based organization and the school.
  • Maintain flexibility for the 21st CCLC initiative to allow local communities to determine whether the programming occurs at school, at non-school community-based facilities or a combination of locations.
  • Base 21st CCLC funding eligibility on Title I status. With regard to the Carol M. White PEP Grants, the grant program should continue to be open to community-based organization and funding should not be consolidated with other programs. Programming should continue to be allowed during afterschool hours.

Latest Issues:

Contact Congress about afterschool funding and provisions in the reauthorization of ESEA. Follow the Appropriations process and ESEA/ed reform debate in Policy News.

Policy News: The latest afterschool policy news from Washington, D.C.

Federal Policy: More background and information on afterschool in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA - formerly No Child Left Behind), 21st CCLC appropriations, and policy arenas with ties to afterschool such as obesity prevention, STEM, older youth and rural areas.

Federal Legislation: View current bills in Congress relating to afterschool programs.

State Policy: State-specific data and contacts plus tools for developing and advancing afterschool policy at the state level. 

Take Action: All you need to take action for afterschool, whether you have 2 minutes or a lifelong passion to promote afterschool.  

Congressional Caucuses: A list of the current members of the House and Senate Afterschool Caucuses. 

Making Afterschool an Election Issue: Election season presents an important opportunity to put afterschool on the radar of policy makers and the public in a visible and meaningful way.