Federal After-School Funding Bill Divides Community
The federal education spending bill for fiscal 2011 would raise funding for a key after-school program, but also open the door to using that money to expand the school day and year—a move that has some after-school advocates worried, Education Week reports. Extra money would go to after- and before-school and summer programs, but it could be used to extend the school day and year, too.
The appropriations bill, which is pending in Congress, has exposed a division among some members of the expanded-learning community, which includes groups that provide enrichment activities outside school as well as those that work within schools with nontraditional school days. The learning-centers program serves schools with high percentages of low-income students—a group seen as an important focus for extended-learning time and after-school activities aimed at boosting achievement.
Jodi Grant, the executive director of the Afterschool Alliance, a Washington-based advocacy group, said she fears that opening the program to extended-learning-time initiatives could come at the expense of high-quality after-school efforts. She said she is concerned the bill would be “changing the very nature of the [CCLC] program.”