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JUL
20
2017

POLICY
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House Appropriations Committee cuts afterschool by $191 million

By Erik Peterson

The full House Appropriations Committee met for a marathon mark up of the FY2018 education-funding bill on July 19, starting at 9:30 a.m. and lasting late into the evening. The FY2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) Appropriations Act sets funding levels for all federal education, human services, and health and labor programs—including the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, which provides federal funds leveraged by local school-community partnerships to provide quality afterschool and summer learning programs.

The Committee voted to approve the House LHHS FY2018 spending bill on a party line vote of 28 – 22. The bill includes a $191 million cut to 21st Century Community Learning Centers afterschool funding. The cut brings funding for local afterschool and summer learning programs below the current authorized level to the lowest level of federal afterschool funding since 2007 and means approximately 192,000 children could lose access to quality afterschool and summer learning programs next year. An updated table shows how the proposed cut to afterschool will be felt in all 50 states.

JUL
19
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Closing the achievement gap for Latino kids

By Guest Blogger

By Diego Uriburu, co-founder and executive director of Identity.

By age 16, Elam had been out of school for two years. Although he’d dropped out of school the first time, he knew he needed to turn his life around and that the best way to do that was to complete his education. Going back to school was extremely difficult, but that’s where Elam found Identity, an organization that provides afterschool programs for low-income Latino students in Montgomery County, Maryland.

“I enrolled in school and worked hard, but my passion and my escape was soccer,” Elam says. “That’s how I first met Coach Efrain Viana, who came to school to recruit for the Identity league. What I liked immediately was that everyone got a chance and was treated like family. I wasn’t alone anymore. Identity pushed me to work hard in school as well as on the field, and to take every opportunity presented. Opportunities like college — Coach Efrain connected me with coaches at Washington Adventist University. I started last fall with a full scholarship.”

Elam’s story is just one of the examples of afterschool making a difference to the youth who need it most. But the futures of young people like Elam have been put in jeopardy as the administration moves to eliminate funding for afterschool programs.

JUL
14
2017

POLICY
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$191 million cut to afterschool proposed in education spending bill

By Erik Peterson

As the nation celebrated National Summer Learning Day yesterday, an additional step in the FY2018 appropriations process continued. The House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee took up their FY2018 education spending bill. The bill sets funding levels for all federal education, human services, and health and labor programs—including the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, which provides federal funds leveraged by local school-community partnerships to provide quality afterschool and summer learning programs.

The House LHHS FY2018 spending bill cuts federal education spending by at least $2 billion ($4 billion if one counts recessions), rolling back necessary supports to children and working families due to a spending allocation that was $5 billion less than FY2017. An updated table shows how the proposed cut will be felt in all 50 states.

The bill passed the Subcommittee on a straight party line as expected. The full House Appropriations Committee is expected to mark up the bill next week. The Senate Appropriations Committee likely will not tackle their own version of the bill until later this summer or early fall.

JUL
5
2017

POLICY
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Experts and education professionals defend summer learning in Hill briefing

By Marco Ornelas

Summer isn’t a vacation for everyone. Every year, low-income students from underperforming schools find themselves experiencing a loss of knowledge freshly obtained during the school year. To address this important issue, the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill for Congressional staff and others to bring awareness to the importance of summer learning programs and to make the case for continued federal support of these programs.

A panel of experts, program providers, and advocates agreed that the faucet of resources available to our nation’s youth during the school year is turned off during the summer, creating a funding issue for vital programs across the country. The gap between school time and summertime resources becomes more problematic in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods. To combat the lack of resources, many organizations and school districts have formed partnerships to ensure every child gets the support they need.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Extended Day Federal Policy
JUN
28
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: June 28, 2017

By Luci Manning

Schools Let Students Take Laptops Home to Stop the 'Summer Slide' (NPR)

Topeka Public Schools has joined many other school districts in the country by allowing children to take home school-issued computers over summer break, with the hope that access to the devices will reduce disparities between higher- and lower-income students. Some see the laptops as a way to offer learning opportunities to students who may not have the resources to go to summer camps or family vacations like some of their peers. “It has opened up a huge educational resource to our kids who may not have access otherwise,” principal Kelli Hoffman told NPR.

Peacebuilders Camp Focuses on Human Rights, Relationships (Youth Today)

Each summer, kids ages 11 to 14 spend a week on a farm in Georgia learning about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, participating in lively discussions about the morality of hunting, serving in the military and more. Peacebuilders camp will host three week-long sessions this summer, with each day of the session focused on a different article from the Universal Declaration. “What we go for is openness and discussion and finding how to be in a relationship even when we disagree,” co-founder and curriculum director Marilyn McGinnis told Youth Today.

Local Girl Scout Shares Her Love of Math via Summer Learning Program (Newark Advocate, Ohio)

Girl Scout and math aficionado Ava Wandersleben decided to earn her Girl Scouts’ Silver Award – an honor that requires 50 hours of community service work – by creating a summer math program for elementary schoolers. Each Wednesday, she leads youths in kindergarten through fifth grade in math-themed games meant to improve their math skills and learn to enjoy a subject many of them find uninteresting. “Her idea for giving back was getting kids to like math,” Ava’s mother, Christina, told the Newark Advocate. “That way they could do well on their math tests in the fall.”

A Week of Touring for Local Students to Help Their Careers (Daily Nonpareil, Iowa)

A group of 22 high school students got a firsthand look at potential future careers as part of a summer program sponsored by a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant. Students attended different career seminars at the University of Nebraska at Omaha each day of the program, then toured a representative workplace in the afternoon, according to the Daily Nonpareil. “The purpose is to showcase different opportunities students can have,” 21st Century Community Learning Center site facilitator Julia Hartnett said. “It’s to [pique] interest in a field that maybe they never considered.” 

JUN
27
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Join us for a Day of Action to support summer learning

By Charlotte Steinecke

Summer isn’t a vacation for everyone. When schools close during the summer months, more than 25 million low-income students in America lose access to affordable food, safe places to spend the day, and opportunities to engage in learning and maintain the skills they’ve developed during the school year. And the effects don’t end when school is back in session: the culumative impact of academic skills lost each summer can leave low-income fifth graders up to three years behind their peers.

Summer should be for water slides, not achievement slides.

On June 28, the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) is bringing support for summer learning opportunities straight to Capitol Hill—and your help will be key! NSLA has set a few goals that supporters at home can help them meet:

  • Raise awareness among Congressional Members and staff of summer learning loss as well as the risks for young people related to health and safety during the summer
  • Share the impact of effective programs in their state or district, using both data and stories
  • Ask for support of key federal programs that support summer activities at the local level
  • Build a relationship with your elected officials and their staff

Mark your calendar for June 28 and be ready to send an email urging Congress to support funding for the programs that help students thrive year-round.

After the email, head over to NSLA’s website to learn more about Summer Learning Day (July 13). You can register your event and find resources for families and students, communities, and elected officials, along with factsheets and a calendar of events near you.

JUN
26
2017

CHALLENGE
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Advocacy for all: New tools and resources for afterschool supporters

By Leah Silverberg

Earlier this month more than 200 advocates traveled to Washington for our 16th annual Afterschool for All Challenge. Here at the Afterschool Alliance, the Challenge often feels like a culmination of the hard work we put in to create the tools and resources afterschool advocates need to make the case for afterschool. However, the advocacy work does not stop once the Challenge is over. Many of the tools we create or re-vamp for our national advocacy day can be used throughout the year.

Here are some of the resources we used for this year’s challenge that we hope can continue to help you make the case for afterschool:

Advocacy on the Hill

A lot of the resources that we create for the Challenge are specifically for use on Capitol Hill, like our Hill Meeting Tips, our Talking Points, or our 2017 Policy Asks, which can be found in our Afterschool for All Challenge Participant Toolkit.

However, some of our resources can be useful year-round to refresh knowledge on important afterschool policy. Big talking points on afterschool this year, with corresponding fact sheets, included conversations on 21st Century Community Learning Centers and the Child Care and Development Fund in the FY-18 budget. Each year we update our state-specific fact sheets and resources to help advocates operating at the state-level.

JUN
21
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: June 21, 2017

By Luci Manning

Trump Education Cuts Could Hurt Local Students (Newbury Port News, New Hampshire)

Afterschool professionals in Seabrook, New Hampshire, are worried about how President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant program will affect the kids who partake in their programs. Afterschool Ambassador Forrest Carter Jr. runs Seabrook Adventure Zone, which hosts programs for 174 kids after school and in the summer, giving kids a safe place after school and learning opportunities. “People need to be politically active and to be vocal,” he told Newbury Port News. “They need to reach out and contact their federal representatives and request they support this grant program.”

Stratford Grad Looks at After-School (Pauls Valley Democrat, Oklahoma)

Recent Stratford High School graduate Gia Fires had the opportunity to share her afterschool experience with her U.S. senators and representatives last week as part of the Afterschool for All Challenge. She was one of six afterschool students selected to attend the event and meet with her elected officials to urge them to support funding for afterschool programs. “This trip was a whole new experience for me,” she told the Pauls Valley Democrat. “I loved meeting new people from all over the country and getting a chance to speak with Representative Tom Cole and Senators James Lankford and James Inhofe about how the SAFE C3 program had such a positive impact on my life.”

Columbus State Program Helps Immigrant, Refugee Kids Acclimate After School and in Summer (Columbus Dispatch, Ohio)

Several ESL afterschool programs, run by the Columbus State Community College, are helping ease the transition for area refugee and immigrant students. “We’ve all heard the adage, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’” Prairie Norton Principal Mike Gosztyla told the Columbus Dispatch. “Well, I say it takes the community.” Over the past 13 years, the ESL Afterschool Communities have helped 2,326 immigrant and refugee children build social and academic skills through a myriad of activities. On any given afternoon, students can be found working on writing persuasive letters, learning about wildlife conservation from a local zookeeper or running through soccer drills.

After-School Programs for Poor: Boost for Kids or a $1 Billion Boondoggle? (Sun-Sentinel, Florida)

About 8,000 children in South Florida, many from low-income families, participate in federally-funded afterschool programs, many of which are in danger under President Trump’s budget proposal. The programs offer learning opportunities in art, writing, computer coding, physical fitness and more. Many single parents like Briget Louis, who sends her son to the Boys and Girls Club in West Palm Beach, rely on afterschool programs to occupy their children before they get home from work and worry about the potential budget cuts. “How can I manage my financial life, my career, be able to provide for him?” she told the Sun-Sentinel. “If he’s not in a safe place, how can you do that as a single parent?”