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More Than 1,450 Groups Ask Congress to Keep Federal Funding for After-School

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More than 1,450 organizations have signed a letter to members of Congress on a key appropriations subcommittee asking that they reject President Trump's plan to cut federal support for after-school programs.

In the letter, the signers request that $1.167 billion be provided for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC), which is the program's current level of funding. These learning centers provide after-school and summer programs for students in low-income communities. President Trump's proposed budget would eliminate the program.

The Afterschool Alliance, one of the organizations that signed the letter, released it to the public Monday.

"Quality after-school and summer learning programs are vital to communities across the nation," said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant in a press release. "The idea that the federal government would abandon the students and families that rely on after-school is unthinkable. President Trump's misguided proposal to eliminate 21st¬†Century Community Learning Centers has triggered a tidal wave of opposition that's reflected by the diverse and powerful voices that are calling on Congress to continue—or increase—federal funding for after-school. This funding directly supports after-school programs for 1.6 million children across the country."

Broad Support

The letter was signed by a mix of national, state, and local programs, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the California Teaching Fellows Foundation, and ExpandED Schools New York. Signers represented all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

"In every state and almost every Congressional district, 21st Century Community Learning Center funding supports after-school 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," they write. "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."

Congressional Support

In addition to releasing this letter, the Afterschool Alliance also praised a "Dear Colleague" letter that was addressed to Reps. Tom Cole, a Republican from Oklahoma, and Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat from Connecticut. They oversee a key appropriations subcommittee in the House.

The letter was signed by 81 members of Congress from both parties. It also asks that funding for 21st CCLC be maintained at its current level.

"More and more working families rely on 21st CCLCs each year to ensure their children are in a safe environment during nonschool hours, allowing them to excel in their jobs," they wrote.

The letter also cites a meta-analysis of 75 studies by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, which found that students in after-school programs performed better academically than students who did not participate in such programs.

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