Where Can You Go for Help on Afterschool Issues? (page 2)
AASA is a valuable source of information on current issues in afterschool and how it relates to school leaders. In addition to our research and collaboration with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, we have a wealth of resources and links to websites to share. Additionally, this document is part of a toolkit to help school leaders address some of the barriers associated with this issue. Please feel free to contact AASA with questions or for more information on this important issue. Rebecca Nelson, AASA project director, can be reached at email@example.com.
Funding and Sustainability
The ability of school districts to develop funding sources to initiate and sustain afterschool programs is, as became clear in the AASA study, perhaps the biggest barrier to their development and institutionalization. Even if districts secure outside resources to initiate programs, those funds eventually expire.
In reviewing 13 different federal funding streams, as well as various state, local and private sources, child development researcher and professor Robert Halpern and colleagues found a system that is “fragmented and categorical, unpredictable and often unreliable and that places programs that should complement each other in competition for scarce resources." Public funding for afterschool efforts is consistently described in this manner. Public resources are not only seen as inadequate to the need, but they bring with them a tangle of bureaucratic requirements that often are at odds with one another. Constant staff time and resources (both in short supply in afterschool programs) must consequently be directed towards fundraising, noted Beth Miller in Critical Hours: Afterschool Programs and Educational Success (2003).
While Title I Supplemental Educational Services (SES) funds, part of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation of 2001, offer possible funding for afterschool services, experts predict that there will be many challenges. These include the required approval process at the state level, uncertainty of duration of funding and the strict accountability requirements.
The Finance Project, created in 1994, offers a broad range of services to a variety of public- and private-sector clients and provides expertise in developing short- and long-term financing strategies. The Finance Project disseminates an array of published resources, including papers related to financing, governance and management in education. The project will analyze the development of statewide afterschool networks focused on furthering sustainability policies.
Websites and Resources
Bowman, Darcia Harris. “Afterschool Programs Proliferate; Funding, Staffing Seen as Problems.” Education Week 21, 3 (September 19, 2001): 6.
Flynn, Margaret. Title I Supplemental Educational Services and Afterschool Programs: Opportunities and Challenges, The Finance Project, August 2002. www.financeprojectinfo.org/ Publications/suppsvc.pdf
Halpern, Robert. “A Different Kind of Child Development Institution: The History of Afterschool Programs for Low Income Children,” Teachers College Record, Vol. 104, No. 2, March 2002. pp. 178-211. www.tcrecord.org/ExecSummary. asp?ContentID=10823
No Child Left Behind. www.ed.gov/nclb/ landing.jhtml?src=pb.
The Costs and Benefits of Afterschool Programs: The Estimated Effects of the Afterschool Education and Safety Act of 2002. Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College, 2002. http://rose.claremontmckenna.edu/ publications/pdf/after_school.pdf
The Finance Project offers technical assistance on financing and sustaining out-of-school time initiatives. www.financeproject.org
The Afterschool Alliance also offers funding information on its website. www.afterschoolalliance.org/ funding_main.cfm
The Harvard Family Research Project provides a listing of web documents that detail federal funding streams for afterschool programs and related programming alongside their accountability requirements and evaluations. Funding streams are classified as major or minor depending on the amount of money they make available for afterschool efforts. www.gse.harvard.edu/hfrp/projects/ afterschool/resources/ fundingdescrip.html
Title I Supplemental Educational Services and Afterschool Programs. www.ed.gov/policy/ elsec/guid/ suppsvcsguid.doc. 21st Century Community Learning Centers, U.S. Department of Education. www.ed.gov/pubs.
Another major barrier to afterschool programs involves the issue of program quality and poses questions that have not yet been adequately answered by research. What characteristics are part of a strong program? What are appropriate outcomes? How can they be measured? Is it appropriate for academic outcomes to take priority? What connections should exist between in-school programs and afterschool activities? Desired outcomes vary dramatically across programs, notes Beth Miller in her 2003 report Critical Hours: Afterschool Programs and Educational Success, and so do the approaches taken to reach various goals. There is little clarity about what afterschool programming should look like, although Miller notes that “there is a general consensus that afterschool programs shouldn’t look like more school.”
Superintendents of successful afterschool programs understand that students want something markedly different from their afterschool program, even when such programs are academically focused. Without it they simply won’t come.
At the same time choosing and delivering program content that enhances engagement in learning and improves academic achievement in the short term is still an area that requires much research.
While that research is under way, however, many school districts are developing thematic and projectbased strategies to combine academics and other developmental skill and knowledge sets.
Reprinted with the permission of the American Association of School Administrators. © AASA
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