Before- and after-school programs that serve nearly 45,000 Indiana children each day aren’t a funding priority in Indiana, but an influential state lawmaker said today that it’s time for that to change.
Advocates for after-school programs say their programs are vital resources, but they are often thought of as an after-thought to the traditional school day.
Stagnant funding is making it difficult for after-school programs to retain and attract high-quality staff and is reducing the number of enrichment activities, such as field trips or arts programs, offered to low-income students, according to a survey released Monday by the Partnership for Children & Youth. The daily rate of $7.50 a student from California’s state-funded program has not increased since 2006, when the program was first implemented.
Advocates for after-school programs will be holding a national summit in Los Angeles on Tuesday to build opposition to a plan to eliminate $1.15 billion in federal funding for after-school and summer programs.
Efforts to prepare students for college and careers are taking hold earlier and earlier, expanding beyond high school so that even students in primary grades are participating in university tours and job exploration events.
About a third of California foster youth don’t receive state-funded tutoring and counseling because they are living with relatives. Proposed legislation would change that.
When school lets out, many children in rural communities must take a long bus ride home, miles from their nearest neighbor. They don’t play basketball with their friends, do art or science projects with the local community group or get help with their homework. Most go home to families with limited resources, struggling to make ends meet. For many of these children, an after-school program is their only opportunity to get help with homework, take part in extracurricular activities and socialize outside of school. But school officials in rural districts say there is a shortage of programs in their communities because they struggle to provide transportation, find qualified staff and enroll enough students to generate adequate funding.
Some districts, including Oakland and San Francisco Unified, are looking to after-school and summer programs as one way to introduce students to scientific and engineering concepts in a more relaxed and fun atmosphere that encourages experimentation.
As California school districts implement the Common Core State Standards in English and math, more of them are looking to after-school and summer programs to help acquaint both teachers and students with the new approach to learning.
The Philadelphia School District is far along in the process of shutting down Truebright Academy Charter, but that didn’t stop the state from awarding it a three-year 21st Century grant for afterschool programming.