“So, let’s talk about after-school programs generally. They’re supposed to be educational programs, right? And that’s what they’re supposed to do, they’re supposed to help kids who can’t — who don’t get fed at home, get fed so that they do better at school. Guess what? There’s no demonstrable evidence they’re actually doing that. There’s no demonstrable evidence they’re actually helping results, helping kids do better at school.” -Mick Mulvaney, White House Budget Director
A couple weeks ago, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney held a press conference to justify the proposal to cut billions of dollars from the Department of Education’s 2018 Budget.
The press conference was misleading. He focused his comments on whether or not programs that feed students are necessary. But the cuts impact more than just the programs that happen to feed students. And Mulvaney is missing the point of why there is so much frustration.
Hundreds of thousands of students will be negatively impacted.
Over 40,000 students will be impacted in Georgia alone.
There were two specific bullet points that caught my attention:
- “Eliminates the $2.4 billion Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program, which is poorly targeted and spread thinly across thousands of districts with scant evidence of impact.”
- “Eliminates the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which supports before and after-school programs as well as summer programs, resulting in saving of $1.2 billion from the 2-17 annualized CR level. The program lacks strong evidence of meeting its objectives, such as improving student achievement.”
In 2017, 21st Century Community Learning Centers allocated over $38,000,000 to programs located in the state of Georgia. Eliminating this program will influence Boys and Girls Clubs, school-based afterschool programs, YMCAs, Wings for Kids, etc. It also impacts jobs. Money is used to pay the employees that run these programs.
There is research that supports that after-school programs positively influence students. Below are just some of the figures reported by 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
Among students that regularly attend a Community Learning Center:
- Close to one and three improved their Math and Language Arts Grades
- Seven out of ten students improved their homework completion and class participation
- Two in three students improved their classroom behavior
Afterschool programs have a substantial impact on student outcomes. They also provide a safe space for students, and an opportunity for students to be enriched with other activities. We know the impact of these programs on our children, and we have to fight for them to not be eliminated.