“If Congress agrees to the President’s FY2020 budget proposal to eliminate federal funding for afterschool, programs will close. Young children will be left without supervision. Working families will face untenable choices about how to ensure the safety of their children in the afternoon hours and over the summer. Learning opportunities will be squandered. Children, families and our economy will lose out.
21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) is the chief federal funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs, which are an essential part of the fabric of our communities. Federal support is vital to a great many of them. Eliminating this funding stream would deny funds that support afterschool for 1.7 million children. In fact, this budget proposal would cause catastrophic harm to students, families, schools and communities across the nation, and it would diminish our future workforce and harm our economy.
The President’s calls to zero out 21st CCLC ignore decades of research demonstrating the many ways afterschool programs help students succeed in school and in life. In each of the last two budget cycles, a Republican Congress rejected this proposal. But now, yet again, a program that is essential to students, families and communities across America is in danger of elimination.
We will not let that happen. We expect the call to eliminate 21st CCLC to again outrage parents,educators, business leaders, community organizations and others who recognize that qualityafterschool programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and give working parents peace of mind.
As in the past, we will work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to defeat this irresponsible and short-sighted proposal. The federal government’s current investment in afterschool is modest, but it is crucial to families and communities, providing afterschool to 1.7million children and leveraging support from public and private sources to support afterschool for many more. For every child now in an afterschool program, two more are waiting to get in,demonstrating that we are nowhere near achieving the goal of making afterschool available toevery child who needs it. Now is no time to backslide.”