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Policy News


Upcoming webinar: How changes to CCDBG will impact school-age care

Please join the Office of Child Care (OCC) at the Department of Health and Human Services for a webinar-based discussion of school-age afterschool and summer care issues, including the impact of the newly reauthorized Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act.

Following a brief presentation by OCC on various pieces of the new law, there will be an opportunity to ask questions.  In advance of the webinar you can learn more here about the new Child Care Development Block Grant Act and potential changes.

All school-age care providers are welcome to join the free webinar, as are child care advocates and state-level groups.  You can register here for this webinar, which is scheduled for March 3, 2015, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. eastern time.

After registering you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the webinar.

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ESEA reauthorization debate heads to floor of House of Representatives

UPDATE: House Republicans opted not to hold a vote on HR 5 the ESEA reauthorization bill today as had been planned and instead adjourned for the weekend. It is unclear if the House will attempt to vote on the ESEA bill next week or if a longer postponement will take place. Media reports suggest the bill did not have the votes to pass.

The debate on the floor of the House of Representatives began this morning on the House Republican Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bill. A final vote is expected to take place tomorrow morning. The last time the bill was reauthorized was 2002, and Congress has been trying to reauthorize the current statute since 2007.  According to Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), who is managing the debate on the House floor for the Majority, HR 5, the Student Success Act, reduces the Federal footprint in education; empowers parents; supports effective teachers; and restores local control.  The White House has issued a veto threat on the partisan bill.

HR 5 does not reauthorize the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, which could lead to more than 1.7 million students losing access to desperately needed afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs that keep students safe, inspire learning and provide a lifeline for our hard working families.  While the bill does create the Local Academic Flexible Grant that would fund “supplemental student support activities such as before, after, or summer school activities, tutoring, and expanded learning time,”  it also allows the same funds to support school day activities, such as academic subject specific programs, adjunct teacher programs, extended learning time programs, dual enrollment programs and parent engagement.  At a time when local and state funding is declining, it is likely that this grant would predominantly be used to fund activities during the school day.  

While more than 100 amendments to the bill were filed this past Monday, including five supporting afterschool programs, the House Rules Committee only made 44 “in order” as they were ruled germane to the bill and debated on the House floor.  One of these amendments  focused on afterschool and was offered by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA). Also, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, will offer the last amendment – most likely tomorrow morning - which is the Democratic substitute bill, though it will fail along partisan lines.

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Farm to School Act of 2015 introduced in Congress, would include afterschool programs

The bipartisan Farm to School Act of 2015 was introduced in Congress yesterday by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH).  The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program.  The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes afterschool programs and summer learning programs as well as preschools and tribal schools while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. 

The legislation has wide support from a variety of sectors for several reasons:

  • Farm to school is a proven method for improving the health of our nation's children.  Today, more than 23 million students are making healthier food choices at school, afterschool, and at home thanks to farm to school activities like school gardens, cooking classes and incorporating local foods in school meals. 
  • Demand for the successful USDA Farm to School Grant Program far exceeds supply.  In its first three years, the program received more than 1,000 applications but only had enough funding to award 221 grants.  In other words, just one in five projects was funded.

A complete summary of the bill and ways to take action in support of the bill can be found here. The Afterschool Alliance supports the bipartisan legislation and will be tracking the bill throughout the child nutrition reauthorization process this year. 

Read Afterschool Snack blog entries about: Congress Federal Policy Health and Wellness Legislation Nutrition

Afterschool for America's Children Act introduced in the House

Yesterday, Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) introduced the Afterschool for America's Children Act (HR 1042) in the House of Representatives.  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 was announced at an event in Flint, Mich. last week and is companion legislation to bipartisan S. 308 introduced previously in the Senate.  A summary of the legislation is available here.

The reintroduction of the Afterschool for America’s Children Act comes as the full House of Representatives prepares to debate and vote this week on HR 5, a partisan ESEA reauthorization bill that would eliminate 21st CCLC and replace it with a block grant that can be used for afterschool or in-school programming.

The House Afterschool for America’s Children Act:

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Senate Afterschool Caucus briefing highlights the value of afterschool programs

A winter storm that shut down the federal government in Washington, DC on Tuesday, could not stop afterschool advocates from taking their message to the Capitol the next day.  On Wednesday, February 18th, the Senate Afterschool Caucus, chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), hosted a briefing titled “America After 3PM: Supporting Student Success Through Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs.”  The briefing focused on recently released America After 3PM data on the need for high-quality afterschool and summer learning programs and experiences at the state and local level of how the 21st Century Community Learning Center initiative plays a critical role in providing young people with educational and engaging experiences to help them succeed in school and in life.

A packed room of Congressional staff from both the House and Senate as well as afterschool advocates from national, state and local organizations heard from the panel of experts.  The panels was moderated by Nicole Johnson, a member of the board of the Maryland Out of School Time Partnership, consultant for Extraordinary Changes, and previously Senior Director for Elev8 Baltimore, a full-service community schools initiative.

The panelists painted a comprehensive picture of the supports that afterschool  programs provide:

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Congressman Kildee announces bill to support afterschool programming

At an event at Potter Elementary School in Flint, Mich. on Tuesday, Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI) announced new legislation in Congress to invest in successful afterschool programs in cities across the U.S.  The bill, the Afterschool for America’s Children Act, leverages local and private support for afterschool and summer learning programs to provide a safe space for young people after school and help increase opportunities for children both in and out of the classroom.

Congressman Kildee’s legislation, the Afterschool for America’s Children Act, would:

  • Invest in successful 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) programs.
  • Increase flexibility for states to tailor their afterschool activities toward non-traditional programs such as STEM education, health, fitness, art and music.
  • Expand afterschool programming from simply preparing students for a standardized test to providing children with a safe and constructive environment.
  • Establish rigorous state-based reviews to improve the quality of afterschool programs and ensure that funding is maximizing a child’s education.

The announcement of the bill comes just a week after the House Education and the Workforce Committee voted to pass ESEA reauthorization bill H.R. 5 out of Committee, sending it to the House floor.  The partisan HR 5 would eliminate 21st CCLC.  Friends of afterschool can continue to reach out to Congress in support of afterschool and summer learning programs.

The announced bill is companion legislation to the bipartisan S. 308 introduced in the Senate last month by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).  Congressman Kildee is expected to introduce the bill next week when Congress is back in session.

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Bipartisan group of senators call on Senate HELP Chairman, Ranking Member to protect 21st CCLC

This week a bipartisan group of fifteen senators wrote to Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray in support of keeping intact 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) funding that supports 1.6 million low-income children with afterschool and summer learning programs.  The letter comes in response to Chairman Alexander’s draft Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) legislation which proposes to eliminate the effective 21st CCLC initiative.

The letter in support of 21st CCLC outlines the extensive evidence for providing federal support to afterschool and summer learning programs and was spearheaded by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and signed by the following Senators: 

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
  • Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
  • Sen. Christopher Coons (D-DE)
  • Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)
  • Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
  • Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
  • Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM)
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
  • Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
  • Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-WV)
  • Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
  • Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

The letter follows one sent by more than 260 state, local and national organizations to the Senate HELP Committee earlier this month also calling on the committee to ensure 21st CCLC funds remain in place for afterschool and summer learning programs.  You can maximize the impact of the senators’ letter by emailing your Members of Congress today and urging them to support 21st CCLC—take action now!

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

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. 

Read Afterschool Snack blog entries about: 21st CCLC Budget Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy