Wednesday, March 29, 2017

21st CCLC: Now and Then

By Sam Piha

Sam piha
"President Trump has unveiled his budget priorities—and his plan singles out afterschool funding for elimination. Congress is getting ready to determine whether local afterschool and summer learning programs remain open, reduce their services or close their doors. If the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative is eliminated, many programs will not survive. More than a million children will be affected, leaving parents without reliable afterschool choices." - Afterschool Alliance 

To advocate for continued federal support for afterschool programs, it is important that afterschool stakeholders understand two things: 1) The historical context surrounding the federal 21st CCLC initiative; and 2) How best they can educate lawmakers on the value of afterschool programs. 

Photo by Gage Skidmore
The federal 21st CCLC initiative was the first federal effort dedicated to promoting afterschool programs. This initiative was launched in 1994 by President Clinton in response to a "perfect storm" - growing concerns around crime and safety involving young people; changes in the composition of families and women entering the workforce resulting in "latch key kids"; and the need for more educational support. 

Photo Credit: Temescal Associates
This initiative garnered the support of law enforcement, educators, parent groups, and more.

Photo Credit: Fight Crime - Invest in Kids
Support for afterschool was partially driven by research that showed a spike in crime during the afterschool hours.

Photo Credit: Fight Crime - Invest in Kids
The 21st CCLC initiative was described by some as the fastest growing federal initiative in history.

Photo Credit: FIght Crime - Invest in Kids
The 21st CCLC initiative enjoyed the bipartisan support of the congress and three U.S. Presidents. Now, there are calls from the Trump Administration to eliminate all 21st CCLC funding. 

To read more about the history of the 21st CCLC initiative, click here

Below, we offer the advice of the California Afterschool Network

President Trump’s proposed budget calls for the elimination of 21st Century Community Learning Center funding, saying the program lacks evidence of improving student success. It is now up to Congress to counter these drastic cuts or approve them. If approved, the budget would eliminate programs across the nation that keeps kids safe and engaged. Over a million children and families would be left with no quality afterschool and summer learning programs nationally.

Check out this blog from the Afterschool Alliance around evidence that afterschool and summer learning programs work. To see the impact these cuts could have on California programs, youth and families see the breakdown here

Visit the Afterschool Alliance for more information or read the statement from Jodi Grant, Executive Director of the Afterschool Alliance.  

You can make a difference by:
  • Add your organization to the list of organizations supporting that 21st CCLC remain funded at current funding levels.  
  • Email, and encourage (via family engagement, social media, etc.) emails to congress members and telling them to protect funding for afterschool and summer learning programs!   
  • Locate your members of congress. Visit local district offices and invite your members of Congress to your site to continue to educate them about the value and impact of quality afterschool and summer learning programs.  

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