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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
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.

JUN
29
2017

POLICY
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Congressional hearing discusses the role of afterschool in workforce development

By Erik Peterson

On Thursday, June 15, the House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development convened a hearing titled, “Helping Americans Get Back to Work: Implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).” Part of the conversation centered on the positive role of afterschool programs in helping develop student employability and life skills.

The hearing was held in conjunction with President Trump’s “Workforce Development Week” – an effort by the administration to highlight job training programs and apprenticeships. Despite the bipartisan praise of these programs, in the FY 2018 budget request, President Trump reduces the Department of Labor (DOL) budget by 21 percent, with significant cuts to job training and employment grants, JobCorps programs, and job training for seniors.

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
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?”

JUN
9
2017

POLICY
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Secretary DeVos testifies before Senate Appropriations subcommittee

By Erik Peterson

On June 6, hours before afterschool advocates took to the Hill to meet with 200 members of Congress, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testified in front of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) on the U.S. Department of Education (ED) Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget proposal. Senators of both parties who questioned the proposed elimination of the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) initiative brought up the topic of federal afterschool funding.

Just as the House hearing last month was highly partisan and politically charged, so was the Senate hearing. Democrats and DeVos clashed about the federal role in protecting students from discrimination, whether federal laws would apply to students who used vouchers to attend private schools, and about cuts to federal grant and loan programs.

Republicans were considerably friendlier to DeVos, but many expressed their support for programs that were on the chopping block, including Community Learning Centers, Perkins Career and Technical Education program, student grants for higher education and Impact Aid. Repeatedly, DeVos reiterated well-rehearsed lines such as “if schools are taking federal funds, they need to follow federal law” while refusing to elaborate. While the partisanship was palpable, DeVos remained measured and calm.

JUN
8
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: June 8, 2017

By Luci Manning

After-School Programs Are a Lifeline for Kids and Parents (Boston Globe, Massachusetts)

Former Treasury Secretary and Harvard University President Emeritus Lawrence Summers and Citizen Schools CEO Emily McCann argue that afterschool programs are a key part of America’s educational system in a Boston Globe op-ed: “We need to recognize as a nation that education is about more than the school day and school year. It is about what happens before children are ready to enter school, what happens during half the days in the year when they are not in school, what happens after school ends and before a parent comes home, and about how students transition from school to work…. The reality is that a significant majority of Americans support federal funding for after-school programs because those programs measurably benefit students, working families, and the broader economy – and that’s good for all of us.”

Trump’s Proposed Budget Targets After-School Program in 12 St. Louis-Area School Districts (St. Louis Public Radio, Missouri)

Under President Trump’s budget proposal, some 600 students in the St. Louis area would lose out on tutoring, healthy meals, educational opportunities and more benefits of a popular afterschool program. Judy King, the leader of St. Louis Public Schools extracurricular activities, told St. Louis Public Radio that afterschool programs “provide just a really safe place for our kids to be, keeps them off the streets, gives them some place to go.” The program relies on federal funding, which is in jeopardy under the president’s budget.

Money Well Spent: Area Before- and After-School Programs Are Worth the Investment (Keene Sentinel, New Hampshire)

A Keene Sentinel editorial urges local school districts to continue funding afterschool programs: “Before- and after-school programs offer students from kindergarten thought middle school a chance for extra learning and homework help, raising test scores and academic skills…. at a time when federal and state support of public education seems shaky, at best, programs that give students – and parents – a needed boost are more important than ever.”

After-School Programs Investment in Safety and Security (East Bay Times, California)

In an East Bay Times op-ed, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley and retired U.S. Coast Guard vice admiral Jody Breckenridge urge California legislators to prioritize funding for afterschool in the state’s FY 2017-18 budget: “After-school programs make us safer and stronger in the short term, by keeping kids off the streets and in productive and healthy environments during peak hours for crime by and against children. Over the long term, these programs improve attendance and keep students on track to graduate – increasing the odds that they will become productive, law-abiding citizens.… The safety and security of our communities in Alameda County and across the state depends on keeping after-school programs adequately funded.”

MAY
26
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Not The Onion: Horses, surfboards, and cyberattacks in afterschool

By Jodi Grant

Photo by Pete Markham

Despite a wealth of research showing the importance of afterschool and widespread popularity with parents, students, teachers and community leaders, programs have never been more threatened. This week the president decided to double down on his call to eliminate afterschool funding in his 2018 budget proposal, leaving 1.6 million kids’ with no where to go after school. It’s a serious matter with implications for Americans across the country.  The cut has caught the attention of major national media, local media across the country, and late night comedians and Saturday Night Live.  

The Afterschool Alliance isn’t exempt from the heightened publicity. On Monday, we had our first mention in The Onion, which wrote a satirical piece on the Secretary of Education’s new plan to replace 21st Century Community Learning Centers with afterschool polo programs across the country.

I was flattered to be mentioned, but as in all great satire, the piece contained a lot of truth. If the Secretary of Education did call me, I’d be thrilled to tell her about pretty amazing afterschool programs. I haven’t heard of afterschool polo yet, but given the creativity and ingenuity local communities across the nation have developed, I would not be surprised. Afterschool programs keep kids safe, boost student success, and help working families – and quite often, they also blow your mind.