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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.

JUL
7
2017

POLICY
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"Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century" passes the House

By Jillian Luchner

The Afterschool Alliance celebrates the passing of H.R. 2353, Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century. The bill passed the House of Representatives by voice vote on June 22. The two major Career and Technical Associations have endorsed the bill.

The bill’s language borrows substantially from the CTE bill which passed the House in the 114th Congress and enjoys broad bipartisan support. H.R. 2353 provides much-needed updates to the current law, including an ability to begin pathways for youth earlier (fifth grader rather than seventh), an explicit inclusion of community-based partners as eligible entities for CTE work, and a recognition of the importance of employability skills, science, technology, engineering and math (the field known as STEM), and helping youth engage in non-traditional career fields. The bill would also gradually increase appropriations of the approximately $1 billion legislation by 1.38 percent each year through 2023.

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
14
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: June 14, 2017

By Luci Manning

Inside and Outside the Classroom, After-School Programs Work (PennLive, Pennsylvania)

Several Pennsylvania state representatives and Pennsylvania Statewide/Afterschool Youth Development Network Director Laura Saccente argue in favor of afterschool funding in a PennLive op-ed: “Pennsylvania’s 21st CCLC programs provide mentors to students that have no place to go after the school day…. In 21st CCLC programs, students have the opportunity to learn and explore some of the most innovative technology available today through STEM activities…. The worst thing we can do is take these programs away from the kids and families who depend on them. Supporting afterschool is a healthy, smart investment in our kids, our families and our communities. Let’s protect that investment in Pennsylvania.”

Grad Empowers Girls in Wake of Nasty Politics (Cincinnati Enquirer, Ohio)

Frustrated by what she saw as a negative climate for women in last year’s presidential election, recent high school graduate Nico Thom started She Became, an afterschool program meant to empower young girls to follow their dreams. Through the free, twice-monthly program, the third- through fifth-grade students have heard from female photographers, nurses, CEOs, layers and dentists about how to achieve their lofty goals. “There is a big lack in public schools of girl-centered confidence-boosting activity,” Thom told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

M*A*S*H* Actress Teaches Wendell Kids About Theater (Times-News, Idaho)

Students in Wendell School District’s Kids 4 Broadway afterschool program received special acting lessons from former M*A*S*H* actress Connor Snyder last week. The theater program combines lessons in the performing arts and STEM – students will perform a play on Friday about a family visited by a number of famous scientists from the past to explain their inventions and help them solve a technological problem. Many Wendell students come from low-income families and have not been exposed to theater in the past. “They’re learning there’s just this whole other world out there beyond Wendell, Idaho,” 21st Century program direct Jennifer Clark told the Times-News.

Monadnock Officials Find Way to Continue Before- and After-School Program (Keene Sentinel, New Hampshire)

Despite a loss of federal grants and other funding sources, Monadnock Regional School District officials worked out a way to keep the doors open to the popular ACES 93 and Back to Basics afterschool programs. The programs at several elementary schoosl will merge and fees will be raised for some students in order to make up for the funding losses, according to the Keene Sentinel. Approximately 435 students in kindergarten through eighth grade participate in the two programs.   

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
1
2017

POLICY
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House passes two justice-related bills supporting child well-being

By Erik Peterson

Last week the House of Representatives passed two pieces of juvenile justice-related legislation that will have a positive impact on young people in and out of afterschool programs.

On Monday evening, Congressmen Mike Bishop (R-Mich.) and Adam Schiff’s (D-Calif.) bipartisan Child Protection Improvements Act of 2017 (CPIA), H.R. 695, passed the House of Representatives. CPIA ensures youth-serving organizations in every state can access FBI background checks for prospective staff and volunteers. On Tuesday, the House passed H.R. 1809, the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2017, a bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act and enhance the focus on prevention. 

MAY
25
2017

POLICY
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Secretary DeVos testifies on administration’s education budget

By Erik Peterson

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Yesterday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies on the Trump administration’s newly released FY2018 full education budget proposal. While the hearing mainly focused on school choice, vouchers, and state flexibility, several members of Congress spoke out against the proposed elimination of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) afterschool initiative.

Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) opened the hearing, followed by opening statements by Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.).

Rep. DeLauro ran through a list of programs that are on the chopping block, including the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which “help keep two million kids safe after school.” Observing that “education is the great equalizer in our country,” DeLauro highlighted the necessity of quality education resources for the most vulnerable.

“We have an achievement gap in this country—and it is worse in high-poverty areas, both urban and rural. Yet these are the very areas we would starve with this budget,” DeLauro said.

Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) noted that afterschool programs are one of her favorite education initiatives because even if you “can’t get behind” educational enrichment activities, these programs can guarantee working parents that their children are safe after the school day ends. She also pointed out the stark contrast between the president’s proposed FY2018 and the bipartisan omnibus package just passed earlier in May.

Secretary DeVos testified in support of the budget, followed by an extended question and answer period. Reps. DeLauro, Lowey and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) all spoke out in support of the Community Learning Centers federal afterschool and summer learning program.

“[This] morally bankrupt budget steals health care from children and food assistance from hungry families in order to pad the pockets of billionaires and defense contractors,” Lee said. “If their budget is enacted, afterschool programs will close. Seniors will be forced to forgo medical care. Parents will have to choose between paying the rent and putting food on the table.”

While Secretary DeVos did not directly address the proposed cut to afterschool, she did speak to the need for creativity in education, stating, “ I want to unleash a new era of creativity and ingenuity in the education space. My hope is that—working in concert with each of you—we can make education in America the envy of the rest of the world.”

The afterschool field has long been a home to innovation and creativity and we look forward to continuing to make that case to the Secretary.

The subcommittee is expected to consider the FY2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education spending bill later this summer. While the president’s budget proposal eliminates afterschool funding, the subcommittee will ultimately determine the funding level for Community Learning Centers and all other education and human services programs. Earlier this spring, more than 80 members of Congress from all across party lines submitted a letter to the subcommittee calling for full funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

Friends of afterschool programs can reach out to members of Congress now, sending a clear message: Americans support afterschool and summer learning programs! Add your voice and take action now, and join us on June 7 for a national call-in day to send a clear message of support for afterschool funding for 2018 and for years to come.