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Most States Middling on After-School Availibility

The majority of states rank in the middle of the road in making progress on the availibility of their after-school programming, according to new reports from the Afterschool Alliance.

The progress reports, one for each of the 50 states, were released today to coincide with the alliance's annual Lights on Afterschool event, a national rally in support of after-school programs. [Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is even heading to Chicago to speak in support of after-school for the rally.]

States were rated on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the best. No states received a 5, and Delaware and Idaho received 1's. The majority of the states earned 3's and 2's. Scores were based on three main categories: growth in after-school participation, developments in after-school policy and funding, and advancements in state after-school leadership. According to the alliance, only 21 states are funding after-school programs, but 31 have initiatives that promote quality in after-school.

In addition to measuring a state's progress in improving after-school availibility, the reports include guides for parents on how to access programs in their respective states.

In other after-school progress news, the latest national Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, & Student Testing study on LA's BEST was released, finding that participants had strong academic gains while attending the program. Students had higher grades in core subjects and better performance on state standardized tests, as well as higher attendance. Students who attended the LA's BEST more frequently had more significant academic gains. LA's BEST is the largest after-school program partnered with a school district in the country; it currently serves 28,000 elementary students in Los Angeles.

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