Reply: We can’t afford not to. If a youth falls into a life of crime, society will pay a tab of roughly $1.5 million over his or her lifetime. Quality afterschool has been proven to deter youth from risky behaviors and offer an alternative to gang life. Also, afterschool programs save at least three tax dollars for every one spent by reducing the need for remedial education and grade repetition as well as keeping kids safe and out of trouble.
Reply: Recent polling tells us the opposite. First, voters are very concerned that not enough afterschool programs are available. Second, they want government at every level to invest in afterschool.
Highlights from America After 3PM and other polling data:
Nine in 10 Americans think afterschool programs are important.
Eight in 10 parents (83 percent) support public funding for afterschool programs.
Parents of 18.5 million children (38 percent) not currently participating in afterschool programs say they would enroll their children if a program were available to them. That's a significant increase from 15.3 million (30 percent) in 2004.
Voters show a commitment to afterschool during both good and bad economic times. Voters say they are willing to use taxpayer money—and even pay more in taxes—to support afterschool programs.
Voters want to see all levels of government make a commitment to afterschool programs. They would like the federal, state and local governments to set aside specific funds to be used for afterschool programs.
Voters worry that if no new funds come to the programs, as a result of reduced federal funding or because of budget problems in the states, programs will have to reduce their services or close their doors.For more information on voter attitudes, look at the polling data section of the Afterschool Alliance website.
Reply: In addition to many compelling personal stories about the benefits of afterschool, dozens of formal studies clearly demonstrate the value of afterschool initiatives. These studies prove that afterschool programs keep kids safe, help working families and improve academic achievement. Some examples:
Elementary school students attending LA’s BEST afterschool program improved their regular school day attendance and reported higher aspirations regarding finishing school and going to college. Additionally, LA’s BEST participants are 20 percent less likely to drop out of school compared to matched nonparticipants. (UCLA National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing, June 2000, December 2005 and September 2007)
High school students participating in Chicago's After School Matters program—which offers paid internships in the arts, technology, sports and communications to teenagers in some of the city's most underserved schools—have higher class attendance, lower course failures and higher graduation rates than similar students who do not participate in the program. (University of Chicago, Chapin Hall Center for Children, 2007)
A five-phase evaluation of the Citizen Schools program found that former Citizen Schools participants were more likely to pass the tenth-grade Mathematics and English/Language Arts MCAS tests than were students district-wide. This is particularly noteworthy considering that participants as a group were more academically at-risk than the general Boston Public School population at baseline. (Policy Studies Associates, Inc., 2010)
For more information go to the Facts & Research section of our website
Reply: Unfortunately, adequate care is not always available in every community.
It has been estimated that parents of more than 28 million children work outside the home. Today, less than one-fourth of American families fit the “traditional” image of one parent at home caring for children full time, while the other parent provides financial support. In fact, 77 percent of mothers with school-age children are employed. Plus, both men and women are working more hours. Average work hours per adult increased 7.9 percent between 1960 and 1998, and nearly three-fourths of working adults say they have little or no control over their work schedule.
While the work day grows longer for working parents, the school day has not. The gap between work and school schedules amounts to as much as 25 hours per week, which presents working parents with the challenge of finding someone to care for their children while they are at work. Nationwide, nearly 5 million children in grades K-8 regularly care for themselves, and 26 percent of all children go home alone after school each day. Further, commercial child care can be prohibitively expensive for many working families. Nearly half of America's working families with a child younger than 13 have child care expenses that consume, on average, 9 percent of their monthly earnings, and families with earnings below the federal poverty level spend an average of 23 percent of their monthly earnings on child care.
The realities of today’s working world make afterschool programs an absolute necessity.
|Making Afterschool an Election Issue||Reaching Policy Makers|
|Sample Script for Calling Congress||Sample Script for Calling the White House|
|Sample Letter to the President||Building Relationships with Policy Makers - Organizing a Site Visit|
|Building Relationships with Policy Makers - Main||Election and Lobbying Guidelines|
|Policy Making Basics||Building Relationships with Policy Makers - Do's and Don'ts|
|Sample Letter from 21st CCLC or Other Programs||Building Relationships with Policy Makers - Call, Write or Fax Congress and the President|
|Building Relationships with Policy Makers - Organize a Letter Writing Campaign||Site Visit Sample Thank You Letter|
|Sample Letter from a Parent|