- The Trump Administration recently released its proposed budget for the 2020 fiscal year. As the Afterschool Alliance aptly points out, this budget includes proposals to eliminate the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, which funds various afterschool and summer learning programs in every state and territory in the country. There are about 1.7 million children and families who benefit from these programs, all of whom would be affected by the proposal.
- The proposals in the budget are completely counter to what has historically been strong bipartisan support for afterschool programs in Congress. In 2015, for example, Congress overwhelmingly voted to continue the Community Learning Centers initiative. In 2018, Congress approved a $10 million increase in funding for that initiative to meet the massive, growing need for those programs.
- Numerous studies have shown the benefits of afterschool programs. A decade of data and research shows strong evidence that this initiative provides positive outcomes for children in the areas of attendance at school, academics, behavior and more. Countless other independent studies (some cited in the Alliance’s article) have demonstrated the many benefits of afterschool programs.
The loss of funding for the Community Learning Centers initiative would be devastating to many children and families, especially children from economically troubled backgrounds. The administration’s justification for eliminating the initiative is that doing so would reduce waste, in that these programs do not have any evidence of their effectiveness. This is a claim that has been repeatedly debunked, as recently as last year.
One report from the Department of Education indicates half of students that participate regularly in the initiative’s programs improve their math and reading scores, and that more than two thirds improve class participation and homework. Another 60 percent improve behavior in class, and 25 percent of elementary students moved from “not proficient” to “proficient” or better in their reading test scores.
It is crucial that the administration be pressured to revise its budget to keep these programs in place, or else a significant number of children across the country will suddenly lose programs that have been imperative in their educational and behavioral development.
“3 Great Benefits of Afterschool Activities for Kids” – https://flexacademies.com/2016/06/21/3-great-benefits-of-after-school-activities-for-kids/