21st CCLC Sustained Funding in FY18 is Essential

Dear Chairman Blunt and Ranking Member Murray; and Chairman Cole and Ranking Member DeLauro:

As your Committees begin the fiscal year 2018 appropriations process, the local, state and national organizations listed below urge you to provide at least $1.167 billion in funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Program (Title IV Part B of the Every Student Succeeds Act). At this funding level, which is consistent with fiscal year 2016, local school and community based providers of afterschool and summer learning programs will be able to sustain quality programming for 1.6 million children in high-need communities.

In every state and almost every Congressional district, 21st Century Community Learning Center funding supports afterschool and summer learning programs that offer locally based school and community solutions that keep children and teenagers safe, inspire young people to learn and support working families. These federal formula grants to states enable communities to leverage local resources by providing seed grants for 3-5 years that support community partnerships among community-based organizations, faith based partners, private industry, and school partners (public, private, and charters). Between 2006 and 2010, these grants leveraged more than $1 billion in partner contributions.

21st CCLC programs reflect the needs of local communities. Students gain access to activities and services designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program, such as: hands on learning, physical activity, cooking classes, workforce development opportunities including gaining knowledge and skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) that underpin most modern jobs, drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, the arts, and more. Additionally, families of children served have access to their own programs in literacy and related educational development. These programs provide an infrastructure to bring in other resources to students including access to mentors, tutors, snacks and meals, and in some places medical, dental and mental health programs.
Afterschool programs show returns on investment with reports from Minnesota, Vermont, Maryland and Oklahoma and nationally showing that each dollar invested in afterschool programs saves up to $9 by increasing young people’s learning potential, improving student performance in school, and reducing juvenile crime. Quality afterschool programming prepares students for college and the workforce, as demonstrated through evaluation reports from 21st Century Community Learning Center programs across states:

o Texas: Students participating in Texas’ 21st CCLC afterschool programs, referred to as the Afterschool Centers on Education (ACE), were more likely to be promoted to the next grade. The longer students were in the program, the greater the impact reducing disciplinary incidents and school-day absences.

o California: A statewide longitudinal evaluation of the After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) program—California’s high school component of the 21st CCLC program—found that students participating in the ASSETs program performed better on the ELA and math sections of state tests than non-participants.

Students who regularly participate in 21st Century Community Learning Centers improve their school attendance, class participation and behavior, homework completion, and reading and math achievement scores and grades. The demand for afterschool programs continues to grow in communities of all types, including rural, urban and suburban communities. Nationally, for every one student in a program, two more are waiting to get in.

Students spend 80% of their waking hours outside of school. Good policy means investing in programs that keep our students engaged after the traditional school days ends, when 11.3 million children are unsupervised and juvenile crime and risky behaviors peak. Afterschool programs provide safe, engaging, time tested and research based solutions that work for students, families, communities, and the nation.

Thank you for supporting sustained funding for 21st CCLC.

Signed:

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