Support Funding for Afterschool Programs

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Dear Sens. Cassidy and Kennedy,

Currently, Congress is debating the FY2019 Federal Budget, which includes funding for high-quality after-school and summer programming to more than 1.6 million young people across the country every year through the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) grant program. In Louisiana, over 22 thousand children benefit from the 21st CCLC program with over $22.3 million in funding provided to local non-profit and government agencies. As Congress works to finish the FY2019 process, I urge you to take the proposed current spending level for 21st CCLC and reject ANY cuts to the program.

After school and summer learning programs help working families by keeping kids safe and productively engaged when school is not in session – the time when youth are most at risk of losing ground. A wide range of research has found that regular participation in high-quality summer and after school learning programs is linked to significant gains in academics, school attendance, and work habits, as well as reductions in behavior problems among disadvantaged students. Without funding for summer and after school programs, students will lose out on essential learning opportunities that help them prepare for school, college, and careers.

Support for after school programs is also politically smart  - a recently-released Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) Poll of Public's Attitudes Towards Public Schools found that 92 percent of Americans believe local public schools should be providing after school programs. A little bit of federal investment goes a long way to support after school learning opportunities of all kinds at the local level. Help support the thousands of Louisiana students who benefit from high quality after school programming, and ensure that 21st CCLC grants are funded at the current levels with no cuts.