Updates and archives related to federal-level efforts to increase the quality and availability of afterschool programs.
President Joseph Biden signed a stopgap two-tiered continuing resolution, averting a shutdown for now. The measure sets up two new shutdown deadlines in January and February. The plan extends funding until January 19, 2024, for military construction, veterans’ affairs, transportation, housing, and the Energy Department. The rest of the government will be funded until February 2, 2024. The Afterschool Alliance has a blog on the situation and notes that the spending bill proposed has dramatic cuts to education.
President Joe Biden signed a stopgap funding bill on September 30, 2023, to avert a shutdown and keep the government open until November 17, 2023. Although this continuing resolution gives Congress additional time to pass a budget, programs may want to keep an eye out for updates in the next few weeks.
Congress is facing the quickly approaching deadline for action on FY 2024 spending. The House was unable to pass a proposed Continuing Resolution that would have cut eight percent from non-defense discretionary and extended government spending (such as that for education) for 30 days. If lawmakers are unable to reach an agreement, the federal government could be forced to shut down on October 1, 2023. The Afterschool Alliance wrote a blog on what a governmental freeze/shutdown could mean for afterschool programs, particularly those supported by federal funding.
This week the U.S. Department of Education released a letter outlining ESSER III extensions. The Department is allowing up to 14-month extensions on a case-by-case basis for liquidation of funds. Funds must still be obligated by September 30, 2024.
On September 5, 2023, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona will launch the “Back to School Bus Tour 2023: Raise the Bar”. The week-long, multi-state road trip will showcase the many ways schools, families, and communities are emphasizing accelerating student learning and raising the bar in education. The “Back to School Bus Tour 2023: Raise the Bar” will feature stops in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. On September 6, Cardona will be in Springfield, Illinois, and speaking about afterschool programs.
The Senate Appropriations Committee marked up several appropriations bills Thursday, July 27, including the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education spending bill. Unlike the House, the Senate stuck to the budget deal agreed upon in May, which holds federal funding relatively flat for FY24 and FY25. However, funding in the LHHS bill was overall less than the FY23 bill. 21st CCLC received level funding. The bill did increase Title I by $175 million, Title IV A by $20 million, and boosted Perkins CTE funding by $40 million. The House adjourned for a scheduled six-week break at the end of last week. When lawmakers return to the Hill after Labor Day, they will have three weeks left to stave off a government shutdown. The Afterschool Alliance has a blog on its website that covers the implications this situation has for education and afterschool.
On July 14, 2023, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS-ED) and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee marked up its FY 2024 spending bill. Overall, the FY 2024 Labor-HHS-Education bill provides $140 billion for the agencies and programs in the expansive bill which is a cut of $60 billion from 2023 levels. The House and Senate will have to negotiate a final spending bill. The Afterschool Alliance has a blog on the implications this has for the afterschool field and education sector in general.
On June 26, 2023, the Department of Commerce announced funding for each state for high-speed internet infrastructure deployment through the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program—a $42.45 billion grant program created in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and administered by the Department of Commerce.
The Senate passed a bill on June 1, 2023, to suspend the nation’s debt limit through January 1, 2025. The House already passed the measure, early last week. The bill can now be sent to President Biden to be signed into law. The Afterschool Alliance wrote a blog on the implications the deal has on afterschool and education.
The Biden-Harris Administration announced more than $95 million in awards across 35 states to increase access to school-based mental health services and strengthen the pipeline of mental health professionals in high-needs school districts. The awards were funded by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA). The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) received $1,201,072.
The RISE (Resilience Investment, Support, and Expansion) from Trauma Act has been re-introduced by Senators Dick Durbin, Shelly Moore Capito, Tammy Duckworth, and Lisa Murkowski. The RISE from Trauma Act would increase funding for community-based efforts to prevent the impact of trauma and expand workforce development efforts to promote resilience and deliver services to heal the impact of trauma. Find more information and resources here.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently proposed a new rule that would allow summer meal programs to provide meals to children in non-congregate settings. The legislation included the authorization of a permanent, non-congregate meal service through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Seamless Summer Option (SSO) for rural areas with no meal service sites while also making permanent the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) for Children Program. The non-congregate model for rural areas is available in summer 2023 and Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children Program will be available in summer 2024.
President Joe Biden released his spending plan on March 9, 2023, for fiscal year 2024 (FY24). $90 billion for educational initiatives, which will be administered by the U.S. Department of Education. The proposed budget also calls for $368 million to support community schools, which is a $218 million increase from the FY23 enacted funding. The budget proposal didn’t increase funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program, which provides grants to support afterschool programs. is the single largest funding line to support out-of-school time (OST) experiences. Now, Congress must go through the appropriations process to ensure that federal funds are directed toward projects and programs.
With funding provided by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), the U.S. Department of Education announced awards of more than $188 million across 170 grantees in over 30 states to increase access to school-based mental health services and to increase the number of mental health professionals in high-needs districts. Seven school districts in Illinois were awarded the grant.
The Afterschool Alliance wrote a blog post that discusses Congressionally Directed Spending Items that were in the FY 2023 Omnibus Spending Bill. A number of the Congressionally Directed Spending Items in the FY 2023 Omnibus Spending Bill focus on afterschool, youth engagement, social and emotional learning (SEL), summer learning, STEM, STEAM, literacy, and other issues of interest to the afterschool community. The blog also features two charts of the requests from Members of the House and Senators and how much money will be allocated to the cause.
On December 23, 2022, the House passed an omnibus appropriations bill, following Senate passage on December 22, 2023. The bill contains increased afterschool and summer learning funding. The omnibus spending bill appropriates a $40 million increase for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative. It also includes $18.387 billion for Title I formula funding to schools, which can also be used to support afterschool and summer learning programs.
The temporary boost to SNAP benefits put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic will end nationwide after the benefits are issued in February 2023.
On December 15, 2022, the U.S. Senate approved a one-week stopgap spending measure. The stopgap bill, known as a Continuing Resolution, will keep the government funded for another week while lawmakers work on a final spending package for FY23.The continuing resolution keeps the government funded through December 23, 2022.
On November 14, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education announced its initiative “Raise the Bar: Unlocking Career Success”. It is an initiative to connect K-12 education, post-secondary education, and workforce programs to prepare youth for the jobs of tomorrow. Afterschool programs across the country have already been doing great work in helping to prepare youth for the workforce, and they will continue to play a consequential part in this new initiative.
On October 18, 2022, Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI 1st District) was joined by 15 of his colleagues in introducing a House Resolution supporting Lights On Afterschool. This legislation speaks to the importance of afterschool programs and their role in providing students with a safe space to develop important life skills.
The United States Department of Education released a memo on September 29, 2022 stating
that schools can apply for a 14–month extension to extend the deadline to spend CARES Act
funding. The previous deadline was September 30, 2022.
On September 29, 2022, U.S. Representatives Kim Schrier, M.D. (D–WA) and Peter Meijer (R–MI)
introduced the Tax Credit for Student Parents Act. This bipartisan bill will make sure that
student parents who are working to get a post–secondary degree, including vocational school
and two and four–year universities, are eligible to receive the Child and Dependent Care Tax
Credit (CDCTC), which helps to offset working families’ child care expenses.
President Joe Biden signed an interim funding bill on September 30,2022, preventing a
government shutdown on the last day of the fiscal year. The continuing resolution keeps the
government funded through December 16th, giving lawmakers more time to pass Fiscal Year
2023 funding bills. Appropriators likely will wait until after the November 8th election to start
negotiating on an FY 23 spending bill. Congress is out on recess until mid–November.
On August 31, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized new boosters are to help protect individuals from the COVID-19 variants. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has aligned its guidance with that of the CDC and encourages Illinois residents to get up to date with the newly approved booster vaccines. The best way to locate a vaccine provider near you is to go to www.vaccines.gov and search for bivalent booster availability.
On August 24, 2022, President Joseph Biden announced his “three-part plan delivers on President Biden’s promise to cancel $10,000 of student debt for low- to middle-income borrowers.” This plan aims to support students attain post-secondary education and strengthen the workforce as many individuals have had to navigate burdensome debt and other life changing events. The government with forgive up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 in student loans for other borrowers. In addition to this debt relief, the White House also announced a final extension for the federal student loan repayment until December 31, 2022, and a 5% payment cap of a borrower’s monthly income. For the majority of individuals earning less than $125,000 a year, or the 93% of married couples filing jointly that make less than $250,000 per year, this debt relief also applies. The White House had developed a website to help share more information about this program, including eligibility and deadlines for applications.
On August 11, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated guidance for protecting youth and children as students return to educational settings. The following changes have been shared, and adopted, by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH):
- Keep students home if they are ill and to continue to test to confirm or rule out COVID-19 and other infections
- Provide remote learning opportunities for students that are isolating for COVID-19
- Promote being up to date with all vaccinations, including COVID-19 vaccinations
- Optimize ventilation systems
- Maintain good hygiene etiquette, and cleaning and disinfection procedures
- Encourage students and staff to wear a mask when managing cases and exposures, and responding to outbreaks
To learn more about the easing of COVID-19 quarantine and social-distancing guidelines for students, read the Chalkbeat Chicago article, here.
At the end of July 2022, the PLAYS for Youth Sports Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representative Allred and Representative Schultz. This piece of legislation would establish a $75 million grant program and provide opportunities for nonprofits and community-based organizations (CBOs) to foster healthy lifestyles in youth and facilitate youth development programming. This proposed annual grant would be administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Afterschool Alliance continues to monitor this bills progress.
On August 3, 2022, Chalkbeat released an article highlighting the uncertainty around the passage of President Biden’s early child care package. Chalkbeat interviewed one of ACT Now’s partners, Julissa Cruz, director of community-based advocacy at the Carole Robertson Center for Learning in Chicago, to understand the fallout if the package does not pass. Julissa noted that “expiring COVID stimulus funds will exacerbate old problems, from low wages to a shortage of slots [and the agency] may be faced with a reality in which providers are not able to pay a fair wage or may not be able to increase their staff’s wage to be competitive with other employers in the market.” Chalkbeat noted that the Illinois state budget for FY23 included a ten percent increase to the state’s early childhood grant for a total of $598.1 million. However, without sustained federal investment, it is very likely that some child care entities will have to close. On August 7, 2022, the U.S. Senate voted on the $433 billion Inflation Reduction Act, which unfortunately did not include the comprehensive funding plan for the expansion of early child care services nationwide.
Support for Informal STEM Afterschool Programming
On July 27, 2022, the U.S. Senate voted to approve the CHIPS and Science Act, which was then passed by the U.S. House of Representatives the following day. The CHIPS and Science Act is the final product of work in both congressional chambers to develop a bill that included different climate, trade, and education provisions. This bill hosts two funding opportunities for informal STEM programming:
- PreK-12 STEM Education: Focuses on the research and development of innovative before-school, afterschool, out of school, or summer activities designed to encourage interest, engagement, and skill development in STEM.
- Rural STEM Education Research: The Broadening Participation of Rural Students in STEM program will fund research and development of programs to identify barriers for rural students in accessing high quality STEM learning and also develop innovative solutions to improve participation. The language includes nonprofits and youth-serving organizations as eligible partners in this work.
FY23 Budget Update
On July 28, 2022, the U.S. Senate Appropriations committee released a Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (LHHS) spending bill for FY23. Within the legislation were the following proposed line items that support afterschool and summer learning programs:
- $85 million increase for 21st CCLC program, for a total of $1.375 billion.
- $1 billion increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, for a total of $7.2 billion. This funding supports afterschool and summer learning opportunities for school-age youth and child care services for toddlers and children.
- $2.6 billion increase for ESSA Title I grants to Local Education Agencies (LEAs), for a total $20.137 billion. While funding goes directly to school districts, community-based organizations may partner with these LEAs to leverage dollars for afterschool.
- $1.345 billion for Title IV Part A Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants. This is $10 million less than the House proposal, but more than what was allocated in FY22. These funds can be used for afterschool STEM, physical activity, and more!
- $150 million for Full-Service Community Schools.
To learn more about more proposed funding for afterschool and summer learning for FY23, the Afterschool Alliance has written a blog post. Congress is scheduled to leave for its August recess and there is an upcoming campaign season with mid-term elections. As such, there will not be a lot of action on FY23 spending bills until after the mid-term elections. Further, it continues to be likely that a continuing resolution (CR) will be passed to keep the federal government funded until the FY23 budget is completed.
Federal Support for Afterschool: Engage Every Student Initiative Has Launched!
On July 14, 2022, the U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced the start of the
Engage Every Student Initiative, which aims to ensure that every child across the United States
has access to high–quality afterschool programming. The initiative is a “bold new call to action
to utilize American Rescue Plan funds alongside other state and local funds” to expand out–of–
school time (OST) opportunities for children and families that want to participate in these
experiences. This is the first time that leaders in the federal government are pushing for
afterschool for all and plans focus on partnerships between a variety of stakeholders. There is
also emphasis on building upon the 21st Century Community Learning Centers framework in
place to support more students with OST programming. Read more about this historic
In May, Congress began negotiating a bill to address the nation’s competitiveness as it relates to STEM learning and technology and trade occupations. 107 members of Congress (26 Senators and 71 House members) were “charged with reconciling differences between the House’s COMPETES Act and the Senate’s USICA legislation.” The Afterschool Alliance reports that Afterschool STEM opportunities were included in both pieces of legislation and there is hope that they will remain a part of the final bill.
FY23 Budget Update
On June 23, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHSS-ED) Appropriations committee approved the FY23 spending bill for the federal government. Within the legislation were the following proposed line items that support afterschool and summer learning programs:
- $120 million increase for the 21st CCLC program, for a total of $1.4 billion.
- $1 billion increase for Child Care and Development Block Grant, for a total of $7.2 billion. Funding supports school-age afterschool programs as well as child care programs.
- $3 billion increase for ESSA Title I grants to school districts, for a total $20.5 billion. Community-based organizations are able to partner with these local education agencies (LEAs) to leverage funding for afterschool and summer programming.
- $75 million increase for Title IV Part A Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, for a total of $1.4 billion. These funds can be used for afterschool STEM programming, physical activity and more!
- $393 million increase for Full-Service Community Schools, for a total of $468 million.
To learn more about more proposed funding for afterschool and summer learning for FY23, the Afterschool Alliance has written a blog post. The annual spending process continues as Congress has until September 30, 2022, to pass all spending bills or a continuing resolution (CR). As the Senate has not yet started the markup process, it is likely, the federal government will pass a CR.
After the events in the past several weeks, Congress proposed the bipartisan Safer Communities Act. On June 23, 2022, the Senate passed the legislation and on June 24, 2022, the US House of Representatives passed the act. This legislation includes gun safety measures, mental health support investments, and school safety provisions that aim to prevent gun violence in learning environments for youth. According to the Afterschool Alliance, among the youth and school related provisions is $50 million in additional funding to the 21st CCLC grant program. The bill now goes to President Biden to be signed into law.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) authorized several waivers to allow community-based afterschool and summer program providers as well as school nutrition programs to provide meals to students even during school closures and remote learning. These waivers are set to expire on June 30, 2022. On June 21, 2022, Congress released the bipartisan, bicameral Keep Kids Fed Act, which will extend the summer meals waiver and provide funding and flexibility for the coming school year to address the increased costs of meals, and the transportation and delivery of the items. The Afterschool Alliance reports that the Senate passed an amended version of the bill (removing the provision that would have allowed reduced price meals to be free next school year), on June 24, 2022, and the US House of Representatives followed by passing the legislation. President Biden will now sign the act into law.
Over the weekend, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved COVID-19 vaccinations for children between the ages of six months and five years old. This means over 20 million youth are now eligible to receive the vaccine.
Last month, Senator Murray (D-WA) and Senator Kaine (D-VA) proposed the Murray-Kaine Child Care Reconciliation Plan that would expand access to child care opportunities to over 1 million children, lower costs of programs and help families return to work. This plan also focuses on school-age youth and provides support in funding to address this age group. If this legislation passes, the State of Illinois will receive annual funding of $383 million over six years to do the following:
- Serve an additional 29,000 children in Illinois
- Increasing access and quality for families
- Equitable compensation and/or wages
- Investments to improve facilities
On May 27, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidance for K-12 programs, with special considerations for day and overnight camps and out-of-school-time providers. The CDC continues to encourage families to vaccinate eligible youth to ensure the safety of staff and children during the summer. The CDC clarified that masking continues to be optional but highly encouraged as COVID-19 cases remain high across the nation. The CDC also included a FAQ that surrounds questions about summer day camps and programs as well as a FAQ specific to overnight camps.
On May 18, 2022, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) announced that it had expanded eligibility for COVID-19 boosters to children ages five to eleven (5 to 11). The CDC highlighted that boosters are recommended five months after the first vaccination for this age group. This announcement was later endorsed by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) as a strategy for maintaining children’s health and safety during the ongoing pandemic. To read IDPH’s guidance, click here.
The Afterschool Alliance released a brief update on the federal FY23 budget process. There appears to be increased support for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st Century) with President Biden proposing $21 million more in funding for the grant program. Within the FY23 proposed budget there are also historic amounts for federal education funding. In addition to the appropriations hearings in the House of Representatives, late last month Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), co-chair of the House Afterschool Caucus, sent a bipartisan Dear Colleague letter in support of out-of-school time (OST). There was also a letter of support sent to the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee to encourage members to increase 21st Century.
On April 5, 2022, the House Education and Labor Committee reviewed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2022. This legislation would reauthorize the WIOA Act of 2014, which aims at connecting individuals with quality jobs and includes funding to support young people gain the skills they need to succeed in the workforce. Some components within the proposed bill include:
- Comprehensive needs assessments at a local level to understand opportunities in the community/region
- Expands summer and year-round jobs programs for youth
- Support for youth getting additional workforce readiness opportunities via afterschool and summer learning experiences
- Opportunities for community-based organizations (CBOs) to lead the local Workforce Investment Board
In order for this legislation to go into effect, the Senate must pass a similar bill. To read more of the Afterschool Alliance’s blog post on this support of out-of-school time (OST) workforce experiences, click here.
The Afterschool Alliance wrote a brief article on the challenges that school-age child care providers face in accessing federal COVID-19 relief funding and highlights each state’s plan for the CCDF supplemental funding. This funding has until September 2023 to be obligated and then will be liquidated in 2024. The Afterschool Alliance encourages child care providers to learn more about their state’s proposals for this funding.
Last month, President Joseph Biden signed the FY22 federal spending bill, which included community project funding (previously known as earmarks) for the first time in more than 10 years. Community Project Funding (CPF) allows members of Congress to request direct funding for projects that benefit the communities they represent. In the past, programs in Illinois have received this direct funding to provide youth development programming and specifically afterschool offerings. The Afterschool Alliance has written an article detailing the advocacy process for securing this type of federal funding.
COVID-19 Boosters for Adults Recommended
Recently, the U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a second booster dose of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for adults over 50 years of age and certain immunocompromised individuals. Vaccines are still the best tool we have to prevent hospitalization and death from COVID-19 and its variants. The City of Chicago continues to update its website, Chicago Vaccine site, for ongoing developments.
Yesterday, on March 28, 2022, President Biden released his Fiscal Year 23 (FY23) discretionary budget request, with increased funding proposed for afterschool and summer learning opportunities. Below, you will find some of the other proposed budget line items we are following:
- $1.31 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC), which would be $51 million over the FY22 continuing resolution but is $21 million above the 2022 enacted level of $1.289 billion.
- $7.6 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). This is an increase of $1.4 billion over the FY22 enacted level
- $468 million for Full-Service Community School grant program. This is an increase of $393 million over FY22 enacted funding level.
- $36.5 billion for Title I funding to local education agencies. Reminder: afterschool and summer learning programs are an allowable use for this funding. This proposed amount is an increase of $19 billion above the 2022 enacted level.
- $7 million proposed increase for Title IV Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants.
- An increase of $21 million is proposed for the Perkins V Career, Technical Education (CTE) program. Community-based organizations are able to access this funding via partnerships with school districts.
- $120 million for the Youth Mentoring grant line, which aims to support mentoring programs including those provided through afterschool programs. This is an increase of $18 million over FY22 enacted levels.
To review the Afterschool Alliance’s full blog post on the funding for afterschool and summer learning programs in the FY23 proposed budget, click here.
Congress, after many months of discussion, appears to be moving forward with an FY22 budget bill, which totals $1.5 trillion. This budget would fund the federal government through September 30, 2022. Below, you will find some of budget line items we are following:
- $1.289 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC), an increase of $30 million and an all-time high level of funding for this grant program. However, this increase is not sufficient to meet the increased demand for quality afterschool and summer learning programs, nor the increased costs associated with offering high quality afterschool and summer opportunities.
- $6.2 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG)
- $75 million for Full-Service Community School. This is an increase of $45 million, but is significantly less than what was proposed in both the House and Senate.
- $17.5 billion for Title I funding to local education agencies. Afterschool and summer learning programs are an allowable use for this funding.
- $1.28 billion for Title IV Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants. This funding goes to school districts to holistically support the needs of students. Allowable uses for the grant include support for afterschool STEM activities.
- $2.1 billion for Career, Technical Education (CTE), an increase of $61 million, to state education agencies. There is opportunity for community-based organizations to partner with school districts to leverage funding for workforce education or career readiness programming.
- Continued support for a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Initiative. The goal is to integrate “whole child” approaches to educational opportunities. Specifically, $82 million is allocated for grants for evidence-based, field-initiated innovations that address student social, emotional, and cognitive needs within the Education Innovation and Research program.
- $120 million for Project AWARE, which provides mental health resources for children and youth
FY22 Budget Update
Last week, another Continuing Resolution (CR) was signed into law extending federal funding at FY21 levels through March 11, 2022. This gives Congress more time to pass an FY22 spending bill. Media reports suggest the Biden Administration will request emergency supplemental funding to address the situation in Ukraine as well as COVID-19 responses around the United States.
On February 8, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a three-week extension of government funding at fiscal year (FY) 2021 levels. This is in an effort to give Congress until March 11, 2022, to finalize a package of FY 2022 funding bills. The U.S. Senate has until February 18, 2022, to pass this continuing resolution (CR) before current funding expires.
Awaiting Federal Budget for Fiscal Year 2023
As Congress enacts another continuing resolution to push through FY 2022 funding legislation, the budgeting process for FY2023 will begin soon. The first step in this process is awaiting President Biden’s budget proposal hopefully in March.
On January 25, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives released the America COMPETES Act, a response to the $250 billion bill the Senate passed in June known as the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act. The House bill includes a Pre-K through 8th grade informal STEM grant program through the National Science Foundation that would provide grants to institutions of higher education or non-profit organizations on a merit-reviewed, competitive basis, for research on programming that engages students in grades preK-8, including underrepresented and rural students, in STEM. Programming included in the bill highlights before-school, afterschool, out-of-school, or summer activities, including in single-gender environments or programming, that are designed to encourage interest, engagement, and skills development for students in STEM.
The U.S. Department of Education is soliciting public comments on the Project Prevent Grant Program. This program aims to direct funds toward local educational agencies to implement community- and school-based strategies to help prevent and mitigate firearm crime and other forms of community violence. The proposed priorities emphasize the importance of a coordinated effort between schools and community-based organizations.
On January 6, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), announced its recommendation to reduce the number of days for isolation and quarantine for school personnel and students to five days. Both the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) have adopted this guidance as it applies to school settings. To read more about this isolation period and what it means for schools, click here.
On December 2, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate approved a bill to fund the federal government until February 18, 2022. This action helped to avert a government shutdown after dispute over President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine policies. By this new deadline, policymakers must adopt another short-term funding bill or “complete work on a dozen long-stalled appropriations bills that fund the government for the remainder of fiscal year 2022, which ends in September.” The Afterschool Alliance has created an action alert that urges legislators to pass these funding bills and support a significant increase for local afterschool and summer learning programs through 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) funding for next year.
Build Back Better Bill Passed by U.S. House of Representatives
On November 19, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better (BBB) bill. This legislation totals $1.7 trillion and hosts a variety of tax, healthcare, child care, and climate initiatives, and is considered to be the most significant restructuring of the safety net in decades. Here is a summary of afterschool-related funding in the BBB. The legislation now moves to the U.S. Senate, where it will likely be pared back in size and not considered until next month at the earliest. To learn more about the BBB, click here.
On October 29, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is projected to receive around 100,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for youth and will be calling on local schools, health departments, and community partnerships to encourage families to vaccinate their children.
This past week, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee proposed a $50 million increase to the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) grant program. Other key funding for afterschool and summer learning programs within the bill include the following:
- $7.31 billion for Child Care and Development Block Grant
- $33 billion for ESSA Title I grants to Local Education Agencies. Allowable uses of funding include afterschool and summer learning opportunities.
- $1.32 billion for Title IV Part A Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants. These funds can be used for academic enrichment such as afterschool STEM, physical activity, and more!
- $370 million increase for Full-Service Community Schools for a total of $400 million
- $1.38 billion for Career and Technical Education grants to state education agencies
- $15 million for Career Pathways for Youth Grants with funding prioritized for national OST organizations that serve youth and focus on workforce readiness programming
- $1.2 billion for AmeriCorps positions to support staffing shortage
FY 2022 began on October 1, 2021, however a continuing resolution is funding the federal government through December 3, 2021.
Last week, the Biden Administration shared its COVID-19 vaccination plan for children age 5 to 11 as federal agencies consider granting emergency use authorization to provide both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccinations. Here are some of the key takeaways:
- Partnerships with schools and community-based organizations to provide vaccinations at locations that families can access and trust
- Rapid shipment of vaccinations to sites
- No federal mandate for pediatric physicians to be vaccinated
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives proposed the Build Back Better Act. While the U.S. Senate will most likely make changes to the proposed legislation, funding for expanded learning appears to be strong:
- Workforce Development: $80 billion in total funding. $9.1 billion for youth workforce investment activities, such as youth apprenticeship, and pre-apprenticeship programs.
- Child Care and Universal Pre-Kindergarten: $450 billion in total. $90 billion to provide child care for specified low-income and other eligible families through a new “birth through five child care and early learning entitlement program.” This proposed program does not extend to school-age children, but potentially will allow the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funding to serve more school-age students. There is also funding for states to create child care information networks and for improving school-age child care infrastructure.
- Trauma-Informed Care: $2.5 billion for reducing community violence and trauma through community-based trauma-informed care services. There is also a $2.5 billion community violence initiative.
- Child Nutrition: Expands the number of schools that would be able to offer free meals to all students (statewide) through the Community Eligibility Provision. The bill extends Summer EBT nationwide for students who receive free or reduced-price school meals. The bill would allow states as well as Indian Tribal Organizations to provide Summer EBT. Finally, it provides $634 million for a Healthy School Meals Incentives project that would support activities like school and community gardens. Community-based organizations may be able to partner with schools.
Finally, the federal Fiscal Year 2021 ends on September 30, 2021, and Congress has not yet passed any final Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations bills. A continuing resolution (CR) is expected to pass, extending current government funding and preventing a government shutdown at the end of September.
On September 8, 2021, President Joseph Biden announced new COVID-19 vaccination mandates to encourage Americans to receive the vaccines available. Key points of these new mandates include:
- Requiring all employers with more than 100 employees to ensure that their workers are vaccinated or tested weekly
- Requiring vaccinations for all federal workers and contractors that work with the Federal Government
- Requiring vaccinations for all health care workers at Medicare and Medicaid hospitals and other health care settings
- Requiring employers to provide paid time off for vaccinations
- Requiring all Head Start program staff, Department of Defense schools, and Bureau of Indian Education-Operated Schools to be vaccinated
On August 31, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education released “Strategies for Using American Rescue Plan Funding to Address the Impact of Lost Instructional Time,” to the public. The Afterschool Alliance reports that this new guidance highlights successful practices and evidence-based approaches to support students, all of which can be funded by American Rescue Plan (ARP) dollars. This new guidance is a part of the Department’s Return to School Roadmap, a guide for states, schools, educators, and parents to prepare for the return to in-person learning this fall.
On August 23, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for individuals 16 years and older. For children between 12 and 15 years old and immunocompromised individuals who need a third dose, the vaccine will continue to be available under emergency use authorization.
The Afterschool Alliance has reported that in late July, the U.S. House of Representatives Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS-ED) and Related Agencies bill passed, including a $100 million proposed increase to the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) line. It also included a $413 million increase for Full-Service Community Schools for a total of $443 million. However, in the U.S. Senate, no FY 2022 spending bills have passed yet. Finally, on August 10, 2021, the U.S. Senate also passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). IIJA aims to invest approximately $1 trillion (roughly $550 billion in new spending) in traditional infrastructure. With regard to education, the bipartisan infrastructure bill includes a total of $65 billion for broadband investment to help families access the internet and afford devices and more.
On July 20, 2021, the federal government shared that it will be breaking up the City of Chicago’s “monopoly” of the $145 million Head Start grant program and redistribute almost $95 million in grants to five community-based organizations across the city. One of the grantees will be led by former Illinois First Lady Diana Rauner and City Hall will remain in control of $51.8 million of the grant. The new federal grantees will also oversee a small group of partner agencies, with Start Early’s roster including two charter schools that run preschool programs and kindergartens. Our colleague, Bela Moté, the CEO of the Carole Robertson Center for Learning, said her organization will “focus immediately on doing more to boost salary and benefits for educators and help stem the loss of teachers to the public school district, where pay is on a unionized pay scale.”
On July 12, 2021, the U.S. House Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education Subcommittee (LHHS-ED) proposed a $100 million increase to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st Century) funding line. This is $50 million more than President Biden’s proposed FY22 budget for 21st Century. The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate will not vote on the FY2022 spending bill. Urge your legislators to vote yes!
On June 28, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Science Foundation for the Future Act. This legislation addresses challenges at all levels of STEM education and training by supporting partnerships with community-based organizations (CBOs). The Act also broadens current projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Finally, this bill establishes a new directorate to accelerate progress on emerging technologies and advance research-driven solutions to societal challenges like climate change and inequality.
On June 23, 2021, President Biden released a statement emphasizing how youth development programming, such as summer programming, may help prevent violence that takes place over the summer. The press release also highlights the importance of providing employment opportunities, and other services and supports for teenagers, young adults, and formerly incarcerated individuals. The document shares guidance on using American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to reduce violence. President Biden also announced that the Administration will convene and support a CVI Collaborative of 15 jurisdictions that are committing to use a portion of their ARP funding or other public funding to increase investment in their CVI infrastructure, including to anticipate and respond to the potential rise in violence this summer. Chicago, Illinois is included in this new initiative.
The Afterschool Alliance has created a website highlighting states’ draft child care plans for 2022 to 2024. The plans were due July 1, 2021, and will now be reviewed by the Office of Child Care. The finalized versions will go into effect October 1, 2021. These plans support programs for children and youth ages 0 to 13, including afterschool and summer programs.
Child Tax Credit Awareness Resources for Program Providers and Families
Child Tax Credit Awareness Day was this past Monday (June 21, 2021). It provides $3,000 per child ages 6 to 17 years old and $3,600 per child under age 6. Families who filed taxes in the last two years or who used the IRS “Non-Filer Portal” to get a stimulus check last year do not need to do anything. The IRS will automatically send them a monthly payment by direct deposit or check starting on July 15, 2021. Families that are not automatically enrolled, such as low-income families that have not made enough money to be required to file taxes, need to sign up at ChildTaxCredit.gov. There is a flyer in English for families to utilize on social media platforms or print out and place in students’ backpacks or grab-and-go meals. There is also a Spanish-language guide for families more comfortable with Spanish.
On May 28, 2021, President Joseph Biden released the final FY22 Discretionary budget with heightened support of afterschool and summer learning providers across the country. Specific funding levels in the budget proposal that support afterschool and summer include:
- $1.30 billion for the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers line, $52 million above the 2021 enacted level of $1.25 billion.
- $36.5 billion for Title I Grants to Local Education Agencies, an increase of $20 billion above the 2021 enacted level. Schools are able to spend Title I funds on afterschool and summer learning programs.
- $443 million for Title IV Full Service Community Schools, an increase of $413 million, to provide comprehensive services and expand evidence-based models that meet the holistic needs of children, families, and communities.
- $1.22 billion for Title IV Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants. These funds are for providing students with a well-rounded education, ensure safe and supportive learning environments, and use technology to improve instruction. Allowable uses also include afterschool STEM activities.
- $138 million for Child Care Access Means Parents in School, an increase of $83 million above the 2021 enacted level.
- $1.36 billion for Career, Technical Education (CTE), an increase of $20 million for the Perkins V CTE program.
Funding in support of afterschool and summer learning providers allocated to the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies includes:
- $7.34 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), an increase of $1.5 billion over the FY 2021 enacted level
- $1.12 billion for Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which supports AmeriCorps and VISTA that are a key asset for hundreds of afterschool programs.
- $120 million for Youth Mentoring to support mentoring programs including those provided through afterschool programs, an increase of $20 million over FY 2021.
On May 19, 2021, the bipartisan Youth Workforce Readiness Act (YWRA) was reintroduced in both the Senate and House of Representatives. The Act would create investments in youth workforce readiness programs in order to prepare young people for the 21st-century workforce and ultimately address the skills gap. The legislation would establish a grant program through the U.S. Department of Labor to support youth-serving, out-of-school time programs in providing programming for youth ages six to eighteen.
On May 10, 2021, the U.S. Department of Treasury released guidance on the American Rescue Plan’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery (SLFRF) funds that can be used by local and state governments for a variety of uses including compensating essential employees and supporting education and learning loss recovery. Governors in both Wisconsin and Minnesota have announced using their state SLFRF dollars to fund afterschool and summer learning programs.
On May 5, 2021, The Afterschool Alliance received guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on the American Rescue Plan child care stabilization funds. This guidance clearly states school-age and licensed exempt programs are eligible for these funds. Illinois is expected to receive:
- $497 million for the Child Care Development Block Grant, which must be used to supplement and not supplant
- $796 million for Stabilization Grants (similar to previous BIG grants)
- $40 million for Head Start
The Afterschool Alliance is also hosting a webinar on June 3, 2021, for child care providers looking to gain insight into accessing this COVID-19 relief (link to register is in the Trainings, Events, and Webinars section).
NPR Article: FDA Authorizes Pfizer Vaccine for Children Ages 12 to 15
On May 4, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it was in the process of authorizing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 12 to 15 years old. Yesterday, the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine for this age group. To read the full article, click here.
President Joseph Biden: American Family Plan Released
On April 28, 2021, President Joseph Biden revealed the American Family Plan, which aims to support families and invest in young people. Key aspects of the plan include:
- Investing in the country’s education system to provide universal, preschool, and two years of free community college for each American individual.
- Investing in the child care system
- Comprehensive paid family and medical leave for families
- Extending tax cuts
To read the White House’s fact sheet on the plan, click here. The plan will be sent to U.S. Congress for deliberation.
U.S. Senate: Bipartisan Summer Meals Act Introduced in Senate
This month, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D- New York) and Lisa Murkowski (R- Alaska) introduced the bipartisan Summer Meals Act (S. 1170), which is similar to the U.S. House of Representative’s version (H.R. 783) that was proposed this year by Representatives Rick Larson (D – Washington) and Don Young (R- Alaska). The Summer Meals Act aims to:
- Lower the threshold to allow areas with 40 percent or more of students receiving free or reduced lunch to be eligible for the program, rather than the current threshold of 50 percent. This would make the meals programs consistent with the eligibility for summer learning programs provided through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.
- Reduce the paperwork burden for meal program sponsors and streamline the application process for programs operating year round.
- Improve nutrition in rural, underserved, and hard to reach areas by providing transportation grants for underserved areas to get children to summer meal sites and by promoting innovative ways to increase children’s access to summer meals, such as through mobile meal trucks.
- Offer sites the option of serving two meals and a snack or three meals to children who attend evening enrichment programs during the school year and summer months.
- Allow Summer Nutrition Program providers to serve food to children after emergencies or disasters and be reimbursed if the meals are taken offsite.
Tell your legislators that this Act must pass in order to provide healthy meals to youth throughout the summer and support families! To take action and send the Afterschool Alliance’s alert, click here.
President Joseph Biden’s Administration: Child Care Funding from American Rescue Plan Announced
On April 15, 2021, the Biden Administration announced the release of $39 billion of American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to states, territories, and tribes to address the child care crisis caused by COVID-19. To review the White House fact sheet on this funding, click here here. To review the Department of Health and Human Services’ document, which hosts allocations for ARP child care funds, click here.
President Biden’s Administration: FY22 Discretionary Budget Request Released
On April 9, 2021, President Joseph Biden released the FY 2022 discretionary budget request, which features the topline appropriations levels for each governmental agency. However, these appropriation levels are not mandatory spending and revenue policies. Rather, the Biden Administration will release the mandatory request and revenue proposals, along with the program-level budget numbers for FY 2022 discretionary funding (including 21st CCLC funding) later this spring when the Administration submits its full budget request to Congress. The President’s 2022 discretionary request includes:
- $102.8 billion for the Department of Education. This is a $29.8 billion or 41-percent increase over the 2021 enacted level.
- $36.5 billion for Title I grants, or a $20 billion increase compared to the 2021 enacted level. Notably, Title I funding can be used for afterschool and summer programming.
- $1 billion, in addition to the resources in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, to increase the number of counselors, nurses, and mental health professionals in school.
- $413 million in funding for Community Schools. This increase in Community Schools funding brings the total amount to $443 million, a historic level of funding.
- $19.8 billion for Health and Human Services’ early care and education programs, which is an increase of $2.8 billion over the 2021 enacted level. This includes $7.4 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, an increase of $1.5 billion over the 2021 enacted level to expand access to quality, affordable child care for families across the United States.
President Biden’s Administration: American Jobs Plan and the American Family Plan Announced
Last week, President Joseph Biden announced the first part of his Administration’s Build Back Better infrastructure plan called the American Jobs Plan. This plan aims to invest more than $200 billion in education and education-related infrastructure. Potential funding includes:
- $100 billion to upgrade and build new public schools, through $50 billion in direct grants and an additional $50 billion leveraged through bonds. There is currently a bill (Rebuild America’s Schools Act) in the House and Senate, that hosts provisions for the construction of community learning centers as part of new or renovated school facilities.
- $25 billion to help upgrade child care facilities and increase the supply of child care in areas that need it most. While the proposal specifies infrastructure for infant and toddler care, school-age care providers have also indicated a need for support.
Finally, President Biden also unveiled the American Family Plan, will be released in the coming weeks and is expected to include a number of priorities including a major expansion in health insurance coverage, subsidies for child care and free access to community colleges, and more. This is the second part of the Build Back Better Plan.
President Biden’s Administration: Paycheck Protection Program Extended
Last week, President Joseph Biden signed legislation to extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) until May 31, 2021. In order to learn more about this extension and how to access funding for your organization before the new deadline, click here.
U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee: Child Nutrition Reauthorization
On March 25, 2021, the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing on child nutrition programs. The importance of strengthening the summer meals program was at the center of the committee’s conversations. To read the summary of the discussion, click here. The U.S. Senate’s version of the Summer Meals Act is expected to be introduced by Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) and Senator Murkowski (R-AK) soon.
Congress: Climate Change Education Act Introduced
On March 25, 2021, U.S. Congress introduced The Climate Change Education Act. This legislation would create a grant program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to assist state and local education agencies to improve climate literacy, as well as institutions of higher education and professional associations. The grant aims to ensure that students at all grade levels are taught about climate adaptation and mitigation, climate resilience, and the effects of climate change on the environment, energy sources, and social and economic systems, including environmental and climate justice. The proposed Act includes language around out-of-school time (OST) programming. To learn more about the legislation, click here.
Afterschool Alliance: American Rescue Plan Provides Necessary Funding for the Child Care Block Development Grant
The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) provides funding for low-income and working families so that they can access quality child care for children ages 0 to 13 years old. The American Rescue Plan provided $39 billion of funding support for the CCDBG program and will be added to the $5.9 billion appropriated for the program for FY 2021. Of the $39 billion of federal aid, nearly $15 billion will be utilized to expand child care assistance to families, providers, and support the child care needs of essential workers. The remaining funding, approximately $24 billion, will be used to create a stabilization fund for eligible child care providers, including programs that were not eligible for previous CCDBG funding. The state of Illinois is projected to receive the following funding:
- Expanded Child Care Assistance: $497,857,043
- Child Care Stabilization Fund: $796,272,356
To read the Afterschool Alliance’s article on this historic funding, click here.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Updated Guidance for K-12 Institutions on Social Distancing in Classrooms
On March 19, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that it has updated its operational strategy guide for K-12 schools in order to reflect new evidence on physical distancing within classrooms. The CDC stated that:
- With universal masking, students should maintain a distance of at least 3 feet in classroom settings.
- In elementary schools, CDC recommends all students remain at least 3 feet apart in classrooms where mask use is universal — regardless of whether community transmission is low, moderate, substantial, or high.
- In middle and high schools, CDC also recommends students should be at least 3 feet apart in classrooms where mask use is universal and in communities where transmission is low, moderate, or substantial.
- Middle school students and high school students should be at least 6 feet apart in communities where transmission is high, if cohorting is not possible.
To read this updated guidance, click here.
President Joseph Biden: American Rescue Plan Signed into Law – Historic Funding for Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs
On March 11, 2021, President Joseph Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law. This piece of legislation will send a historic-level of funding to afterschool and summer learning programs in order to help and support our young people and families as we begin to recover from the pandemic. Funding for afterschool and summer learning providers is as follows:
- $8.45 billion will be made available to State Education Agencies (SEAs), like the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). In total, SEAs will allocate $1.22 billion for summer enrichment, $1.22 billion for afterschool programs, and approximately $6 billion for learning recovery – with afterschool and summer learning programs as allowable uses.
- $22 billion will be made available to Local Education Agencies (LEAs), or school districts. School districts must utilize this funding for learning recovery strategies, including afterschool and summer enrichment programs.
- $39 billion for child care providers, which also includes school-age child care providers. These dollars will flow to states’ child care agencies, such as the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS).
- $1 billion for Corporation for National and Community Service through AmeriCorps for AmeriCorps positions to help address learning recovery and other purposes
- $350 billion for state and local governments that can be used in part for child care and other purposes
Funding from the bill can be spent until September 2023. To read more about this historic bill, click here.
U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Supreme Court: Public Charge Rule Permanently Blocked Nationwide
On March 9, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) stopped defending the Trump Administration’s Public Charge regulations. The Trump Administration’s 2019 Public Charge rule is permanently blocked, nationwide. Under this policy, it is safe for immigrants and their families to access health, nutrition, and housing programs for which they are eligible. To read more about this policy update, click here.
U.S. Department of Agriculture: Extension of COVID-19 Meal Waivers Announced
On March 9, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the nationwide extension of several waivers that allow all children to continue to receive nutritious meals this summer when schools are not in session. These flexibilities are now available through September 30, 2021. In addition, these waivers:
- Allow meals served through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO), which are collectively known as “summer meal programs” – to be made available in all regions of the U.S. for free
- Allow meals to be served outside of the normally required group settings and meal times
- Allow parents and guardians to pick-up meals for their children, including bulk pick-up to cover multiple days of feeding children
To learn more information about the waivers, click here.
U.S. Senate: American Rescue Plan to Provide Funding for Afterschool and Summer Learning Providers
On March 6, 2021, the U.S. Senate joined the U.S House of Representatives in passing President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which supports afterschool and summer learning providers. In total, the Senate bill could make $8.75 billion available for afterschool and summer programs, across all states, which would be administered by State Education Agencies (SEAs). Funding at this level will potentially provide opportunities for more than 9 million young people across the country. There will also be $21.9 billion available for afterschool and summer programs, administered by local school districts. This bill was revised by the Senate and the House is expected to pass it before sending it to President Biden to sign into law later this week. To read the Afterschool Alliance’s blog post on this legislation, click here.
U.S. Department of Education: 2020-2021 Waiver on Accountability Measures for State Education Agencies Announced
On February 22, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it is soliciting applications from State Education Agencies (SEAs) for a waiver on 2020-2021 Accountability measures. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) stated that it will be applying for waiver for the 2020-2021 school year. The U.S. Department of Education noted that any state receiving this waiver would not be required to implement and report the results of its accountability system. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education did not release a waiver for 2020-2021 school year Assessments but is encouraging SEAs to provide flexibility in the administration of statewide assessments in the following ways:
- Administering a shortened version of its statewide assessments
- Offering remote administration, where feasible
- Extending the testing window to the greatest extent practicable, including into summer or even the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year
ISBE announced that the state agency will apply for the maximum flexibility available, including seeking the available waivers for summative designations and the 95 percent assessment participation requirement.
To read more about the Accountability Measures waiver, click here.
Congress: Full Service Community Schools Expansion Act of 2020 Reintroduced in House and Senate
Last week, the Full Service Community Schools Expansion Act of 2020was reintroduced in Congress.
Congress: Summer Meals Act of 2021 Reintroduced in House
On February 3, 2021, the Summer Meals Act of 2021 was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representatives Young (R- Arkansas) and Larsen (D-Washington). The U.S. Senate version of this bill is scheduled to be reintroduced by Senators Murkowski (R- Arkansas) and Gillibrand (D- New York) in the coming weeks. Furthermore, the Senate Agriculture Committee is starting the Child Nutrition Reauthorization period, which is the process when Congress reviews and updates laws that govern all child nutrition programs including school lunch and breakfast, summer meals, and after-school meals. Senator Durbin (D- Illinois) sits on the Senate Agriculture Committee.
House Education and Labor Committee: FY21 Budget Reconciliation Bill Supports Afterschool and Summer Learning
Last week (February 15-19), the House Education and Labor Committee released its portion of the FY21 Budget Reconciliation Bill, which enacts President Joseph Biden’s American Rescue Plan. This bill emphasizes the important role that afterschool and summer learning programs, child care providers, and nutrition programs play in helping young people and families across the United States recover from the COVID-19 crisis.
- Provides $128.6 billion in funding to State Education Agencies (SEA) such as the Illinois State Board of Illinois (ISBE). Afterschool and summer learning are allowable uses for these funds.
- Requires SEAs to reserve at least 5 percent (estimated to be about $6.4 billion nationally) of new ESSER funding for grants and contracts to carry out activities to promote learning recovery.
- Requires school districts to reserve at least 20 percent of their newly allocated ESSER funds to promote learning recovery including afterschool programs and summer learning experiences. Extended school day, extended school year, and other strategies and interventions are also allowable.
- Allows states and local school districts to use funding for evidence-based interventions that “respond to students’ academic, social, and emotional needs” and address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on low-income students.
The FY21 Budget Reconciliation Bill also attempts to support families with more-affordable child care and stabilize the child care system by investing $39 billion in child care providers via the Child Care Development Block Grant Program (CCDBG).
To read the full Afterschool Alliance article on the bill, click here.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: New Guidance for K-12 Schools
On February 12, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced updated guidance for K-12 schools as school districts across the nation begin to make the transition back to in-person instruction. This new guidance is not a mandate for school districts to reopen but rather a set of recommendations for making a safe shift to hybrid or in-person facilitation. To review these recommendations, click here.
U.S. Senate: Letter to Senate Leadership in Support of COVID-19 Funding for Summer Programming for Low-Income Youth
On February 10, 2021, twelve U.S. Senators, including Senator Durbin, wrote a letter to Senate leadership advocating for the dedication of future COVID-19 relief funding for summer enrichment opportunities for low-income youth. To read the full letter, click here.
President Joseph Biden: Executive Order Issued to Remove Immigration Barriers
On February 2, 2021, President Joseph Biden issued a Public Charge Executive Order, which removes barriers to the legal immigration system and calls for the review of the public charge regulations imposed by the Trump Administration. This Executive Order also requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of State (DOS), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to evaluate the current effects of the rules and to address the policies’ effect on the U.S. immigration system and public health within 60 days. The Executive Order does not directly rescind or replace the DHS or DOS public charge rules but rather holds DHS, DOS, and DOJ accountable to review the policy and take appropriate actions within 60 days. To learn more about this Executive Order, click here.
ACT Now: Sign-on Letter to Congress in Support of the Full-Service Community Schools Expansion Act of 2020
ACT Now encourages its members to advocate for the passage of the Full-Service Community Schools Expansion Act of 2020 by signing onto a letter to Congress. The letter also pushes for the inclusion of full-service community schools as an allowable use of funding for public schools and school districts in future COVID-19 relief packages. To read the full letter, click here. To sign on in support of community schools providers, click here.
U.S. House of Representatives: Learning Recovery Act of 2021 Introduced
On January 28, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the Learning Recovery Act of 2021, which aims to provide $75 billion in federal aid to school districts, over two years, via the Title I Part A formula. This funding may be utilized to support programs like afterschool, summer school or extended school days, as well as other school programming. The Act also directs the Institute of Education Sciences to conduct research on learning loss. The legislation emphasizes equity and addressing communities that have the most need, and also has language to allow funding to be used for trauma screenings, mental health supports, and other efforts designed to “locate and reengage within the school community missing students.” The Learning Recovery Act of 2021 is part of a three-bill package from the House Education and Labor Committee, led by Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Virginia). The other two bills address school infrastructure needs and protecting jobs in the education sector. Each legislation provides the funding for afterschool in the following ways:
- The Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act of 2021 would provide $130 billion in federal aid, with emphasis on targeting high-poverty schools, to help reopen public schools and provide students and educators a safe place to learn and work. The funds can also be utilized to develop community learning facilities and early learning centers.
- The Save Education Jobs Act of 2021 would establish an Education Jobs Fund to stabilize the education workforce across the country. Over the course of 10 years, states and school districts would receive up to $261 billion in funding.
To read more about the Learning Recovery Act of 2021, click here.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Out-of-School Time Providers Considered Essential Workers in Phase 1B of Vaccine Priority
On January 27, 2021, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials clarified that they consider Out-of-School Time (OST) program providers as essential workers along with teachers and child care workers with regard to vaccine priority. This means that OST providers would be considered to be in group 1B of states’ vaccine rollout plans. However, each state must include OST workers in their COVID-19 vaccine plans in order for program providers to be eligible to receive the vaccine. The CDC has designed a COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Toolkit for Essential Workers to help employers build confidence in this important new vaccine. The toolkit will help employers across various industries educate their workforce about COVID-19 vaccines, raise awareness about the benefits of vaccination, and address common questions and concerns. To access the toolkit, click here. Partners are encouraged to adapt the key messages to the language, tone, and format that will resonate with the organizations and programs they serve. Programs may place their logo on materials that have a place for your logo, but please retain the CDC URL (www.cdc.gov).
President Joseph Biden: American Rescue Plan Overview
On January 15, 2021, President Joseph Biden publicly announced his comprehensive “American Rescue Plan” which includes more than $400 billion for vaccine production and distribution, another round of stimulus checks for individuals, increased unemployment benefits, $350 billion in aid for city and state governments, and child care subsidies. The funding for vaccine production and distribution is part of the President’s goal of reopening k-8 schools across the United States within 100 days of his inauguration.
Education-related funding is as follows:
- $130 billion for Elementary and Secondary Education, which is almost twice what Congress has already allocated in K-12 education relief funding. These dollars may be used to cover a variety of costs to make in-person education safe, including technology, offer counseling and address social and emotional learning (SEL) needs, create smaller classes, provide Personal Protective Equipment, pay for transportation and cleaning costs, and other new costs associated with the public health crisis. There are also requirements that states use this funding to support low-income communities and areas most-impacted by the pandemic. Afterschool and summer learning opportunities may be an allowable use for this funding and have been recipients of these dollars in previous COVID-19 aid packages.
- $5 billion for the Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund, which has language for supporting the education of student populations that have been hardest hit by COVID-19. These funds can be used for Pre K-higher education, and afterschool and summer learning.
Federal aid for child care includes:
- $15 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to help millions of families and parents return to work. In Illinois, CCDBG dollars are used for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).
- $25 billion for an emergency stabilization fund for child care providers.
The plan also calls for the expansion of child care tax credits for one year, and the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit for one year.
Congress is expected to start work on a new COVID-19 relief bill this month which will be informed by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Now is the time to weigh in with your members of Congress. To read the Afterschool Alliance’s full brief on the plan and to take action in support of more funding for afterschool and summer learning, click here.
United States Department of Agriculture and President Joseph Biden: Illinois P-EBT Implementation Plan for School-Aged Children Approved and Increase to P-EBT Benefits
On January 15, 2021, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved Illinois’s Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer Program (P-EBT) implementation plan for school-aged children. This means that families with children on free or reduced-price school meals will soon be able to receive a food benefit for the days that their students are participating in remote or virtual instruction. To read the full plan, click here. On January 22, 2021, President Joseph Biden issued an executive order to allow states to increase the value of P-EBT benefits by 15%, making this benefit even more valuable for the families afterschool programs and community schools serve. To read more about the increase in P-EBT benefits, click here.
President-Elect Joseph Biden: Proposed Federal Aid to Support Educators and Districts Across the Nation
On January 14, 2021, President-Elect Joseph Biden publicly announced that once he is inaugurated on January 20, 2021, he will ask the U.S. Congress to provide $130 billion in federal aid for the education field. His primary goal is to help K-12 institutions reopen across the United States and provide rapid COVID-19 testing in schools. President-Elect Biden also stated that this plan aligns with his national vaccination plan, which would see to more educators getting vaccinated in a timely manner. Ultimately, President-Elect Biden aims to have a majority of school districts open for in-person instruction within 100 days of his inauguration. To read more about this goal and learn more about potential COVID-19 relief (The American Rescue Plan), click here.
The U.S. Senate: Child Care Protection Improvement Act of 2020 Passed
On December 31, 2020, the U.S. Senate passed S.2683, the Child Care Protection Improvement Act of 2020. This bipartisan legislation was introduced earlier this session by Senators Burr (R- North Carolina) and Van Hollen (D- Maryland), and established a task force to assist states in the process of implementing background check requirements for child care providers. There was a similar bill introduced and passed in the U.S. House of Representatives. This task force must consult with state agencies and partners, including the statewide afterschool networks, in order to develop recommendations and best practices regarding the background check process for child care workers. The task force must submit a final report with its recommendations within one year of the first meeting of the entity. To read the Afterschool Alliance’s article on the Act, click here.
U.S Congress: FY 2021 Omnibus Spending Bill and COVID-19 Relief Package Passed
On December 20, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an FY 2021 Omnibus Spending bill and COVID-19 Relief package. It was subsequently sent over to the U.S. Senate, which passed the $1.4 trillion bill and the $900 billion COVID-19 relief package just before midnight on December 21, 2020. The measure also included a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) and granted President Trump seven days to sign the bill into law. The passed COVID-19 relief also differs slightly from the proposed bipartisan legislation from the previous week.
FY 2021 Spending Bill Overview: Congress drafted the FY 2021 omnibus spending bill in order to provide funding for federal programs including education, health, and human services, and more through the end of the current fiscal year, September 30, 2021. This final bill language provides funding for local afterschool and summer learning programs, as well as child care providers and community-based organizations, and for combatting the digital divide. Specific funding levels for programs include:
- 21st Century Community Learning Centers:$1.26 billion, about $10 million above the 2020 enacted level.
- Title I Grants to Local Education Agencies: $16.536 billion,an increase of $227 million above the 2020 enacted level.
- Title IV Full Service Community Schools: $30 million, an increase of $5 million, to provide comprehensive services and expand evidence-based models that meet the holistic needs of children, families, and communities.
- Title IV Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants:$1.22 billion. These funds are for school districts, established under ESSA, in order to support afterschool activities including STEM programming.
- Child Care Access Means Parents in School: $55 million, an increase of $2 million above the 2020 enacted level.
- TRIO and GEAR UP: $1.097 billion for Federal TRIO programs, an increase of $7 million above the 2020 enacted level. Additionally, $368 million for GEAR UP, an increase of $3 million above the 2020 enacted level.
- Federal Work-Study: $1.190 billion which can be used to support college students working in community-based afterschool programs.
- Education, Innovation, and Research:$194 million in total, of which $67 million are dedicated to STEM education. Also includes $67 million within this program for grants for evidence-based, field-initiated innovations that address student social and emotional learning needs (SEL).
- Career, Technical Education (CTE): $1.334 billion, an increase of $52 million for the Perkins V CTE program.
- Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG):$5.911 billion, an increase of $85 million.
- Community Services Block Grant:$745 million, an increase of $5 million.
- Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS):$1.121 billion, an increase of $16 million above the 2020 enacted level. CNCS supports AmeriCorps and VISTA that are key assets for hundreds of afterschool programs.
- Youth Mentoring:$100 million to support mentoring programs including those provided through afterschool programs.
- CDC School Health:$15.4 million for activities that include comprehensive school health grants to states and Out-of-School Time program providers.
- Career Pathways for Youth Grants:$10 million for grants to support national out-of-school-time organizations that serve youth and place an emphasis on workforce readiness programming.
- Mental health resources for children and youth including $107 million for Project AWARE, an increase of $5 million.
COVID-19 Relief Bill Overview: Congress has allocated a total of $81.88 billion in education funds to be distributed in a similar manner as the CARES Act including:
- Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund: $54.3 billion (up from $13.5 billion in the CARES Act)
- Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund(GEER): $54.3 billion, an increase of $3 billion from the CARES Act, and now includes funds set-aside for private school emergency relief in the amount of $2.5 billion.
- Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund: $22.7 billion (up from $14.25 billion in the CARES Act)
- Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund allowable uses of funds include planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and afterschool programs. New allowable uses include addressing learning loss among students and funds can be used to administer high-quality assessments; implement evidence-based activities; provide information and assistance to parents and families; tracking student attendance, and improving student engagement in distance education.
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): $284 billion and extends PPP through March 31, 2021.
- Direct Financial Assistance: $166 billion in direct financial assistance to individuals nationwide. People making up to $75,000 a year will receive a payment of $600. The deal also makes the stimulus checks more accessible to immigrant families.
- Child Care and Developmental Block Grant (CCDGB) program: $10 billion in emergency funds for child care providers. These grants are designed to provide immediate relief to child care providers who and are currently in operation or have been temporarily closed due to the pandemic. The legislation also includes $250 million for Head Start providers.
- Broadband access: $7 billion, of which $3.2 billion will be set aside for emergency funds to support low-income families access broadband. There is also a new $1 billion fund for tribes.
- The COVID-19 Relief package also allows for the following:
- States and localities will now have until December 31, 2021, to expend funds from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CARES Act). State and local governments have used these funds for school-age child care in some instances.
- Provides increased funding for school and child care meal programs.
Afterschool Alliance: Bipartisan COVID-19 Relief Bill Proposed
On December 21, 2020, Congress was still working out the details of a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill, which is attached to an omnibus spending bill that will fund government agencies through fiscal year 2021. Congress must now vote to pass this legislation. Education funds are to be distributed in the same manner as the CARES Act, including:
- $54 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (an increase from the $13.5 billion in the CARES Act)
- $7.5 billion for the Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund (an increase from $3 billion in the CARES Act), including $2.5 billion for private schools
- $20 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund(an increase from $14.25 billion in the CARES Act)
- The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund allowable uses of funds are modified from those in the CARES Act, and include afterschool. Funds can be used to meet the SEL needs of youth and educators, for providing mental health services and trauma-informed supports, supporting access to school-age child care, and services provided by afterschool programs and community learning centers. This new language may help link education funds to community learning centers and hubs, as well as programs operating during virtual school days.
- Flexibility from the bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers Coronavirus Relief Act (S. 4868) is included in the new package.
- Second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds with an additional $300 billion provided to the Small Business Administration.
- For Child Care, the bill appropriates $10 billion for a new Child Care Stabilization Fund grant program at the Department of Health and Human Services to provide grants for child care providers, including school-age providers. Grants would be available to child care providers that are currently open or temporarily closed due to COVID-19, regardless of whether they had previously received funding through the existing Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program. Also, Providers could use stabilization grants for a variety of purposes.
- $3 billion for an Emergency Educational Connectivity Fund to
- provide E-rate support for educational and distance learning providers. The funds can be used for hotspots, devices, and other connected devices.
- $6.25 billion for State Broadband Deployment and Connectivity grants to expand affordable access to broadband.
- $200 million to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to purchase and distribute Internet-connected devices to libraries in low-income and rural areas.
- Provides increased funding for school and child care meal programs.
The U.S. House of Representatives and The U.S. Senate: One-Day Funding Stop Gap Passed
On December 20, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate proposed a one-day funding measure, to extend current funding for federal agencies and programs through Monday, December 21, 2020. This action allowed Congress to continue to develop and vote on a COVID-19 relief package and subsequent omnibus spending bill. President Trump signed this legislation. To read more, click here.
Afterschool Alliance: Sign-On Letter Regarding Vaccines and Out of School Time Staff
Last week, the American Camps Association (ACA), Afterschool Alliance, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, YMCA and the JCC Association and more than 45 organizations sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which is charged with advising the Director on the allocation and distribution of immunizing agents. The letter called for Out-of-School Time (OST) providers supporting the education of children and adult learners in a myriad of settings to be classified as “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” and made eligible for vaccinations like other workers in the Education sector. The ACIP was set to make their recommendations related to the request by December 20, 2020. However, the decision to include OST staff will lie with individual Governor’s offices, informed by the ACIP determination.
The U.S. House of Representatives: Continuing Resolution Passed
On December 8, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 8900, a one-week continuing resolution (CR), to extend current funding for federal agencies and programs through December 18, 2020. The bill will prevent a partial funding lapse and allow policymakers to continue to discuss a spending omnibus bill. To read more about the CR, click here.
The U.S. Senate: Rural STEM Education Act Proposed
On December 8, 2020, U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Jacky Rosen, (D-Nev.), proposed the Rural STEM Education Act in the Senate. This bill aims to improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education access and training in rural communities across the United States. The Rural STEM Education Act would:
- Direct the Secretary of Commerce to establish a prize competition to encourage innovative ideas to deploy broadband connectivity to rural communities
- Instruct the National Science Foundation (NSF) Director to establish a working group to address challenges and opportunities for improving broadband access
- Direct the NSF Director and the National Academy of Sciences to evaluate federal programming for rural STEM education and make recommendations for ways in which it can be improved
To read the proposed legislation, click here.
Afterschool Alliance: Take Action to Support Youth and Contact Your Legislators
The U.S. Senate is considering a bill to expand access to afterschool through the rest of the public health crisis. Now is the time to tell your elected officials to support S. 4868, which was introduced by Senators Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Smith (D-Minn.) in late October. S. 4868 is the bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020. The legislation would provide $1.2 billion in additional funding and greater flexibility for the 21st CCLC program. The House version of the bill passed in September.
As Congress debates an FY21 spending bill and another COVID-19 relief bill, consider reaching out to your members of Congress in support of afterschool programs and let them know how the pandemic is affecting young people, youth-serving programs and organizations, and your community at large. To take action, click here!
U.S. Department of Education: New CARES Act Funding Tracker
Last week, the U.S. Department of Education released a CARES Act education funding tracker that tracks in real-time the funds allocated to states and Lead Education Agencies (LEAs). Information on how the funds were awarded and how they are currently being spent can be accessed by clicking here.
Office of Child Care: Child Care Development Block Grant FAQ Update
On November 13, 2020, the Office of Child Care, which administers the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), updated its FAQ. One question in particular, (#29), surrounds the issue of whether Lead Agencies are allowed to use Child Care Development Funds to pay for subsidies for school-age children who participate in remote, virtual, or online schoolwork, while in child care. The Office of Child Care now allows states to be innovative in allowing CCDBG to fund community learning centers or “learning hubs” and supervised learning during the virtual school day. This new flexibility may encourage state and local entities to use this funding to further support youth as they continue with remote learning. To read the updated FAQ, click here.
U.S. Senate: Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriations Bills Released
On November 10, 2020, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee released twelve Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 2021) spending bills. The government is currently being funded under a continuing resolution (CR) that expires on December 11, 2020. A deal in Congress must be reached by this date in order to avoid a government shutdown. The spending bills include:
- No increase for 21st Century.The House proposed an additional $13 million which would support about 13,000 additional students under traditional 21st Century operations.
- $50 million increase for the Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG).The House proposed $100 million in additional funds.
- $143 million increase for Title I funds,which can be used for afterschool and summer supports for disadvantaged students and low-income schools.
- $125 million increase for IDEA for special education students.
- $40 million increase for Title IV-A Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants for a total of $1.2 billion. These funds can be used for afterschool STEM programming as well as for other afterschool activities. The House proposed $10 million.
- No increase for Title II professional development grants.
- $75 million increase for CTE grants. The House only proposed an additional $18 million.
- Level funding for the TRIO and GEAR UP programs that help prepare young people for college.
- $50 million increase for the Corporation for National and Community Service.
To read the Afterschool Alliance’s full brief on the Appropriations bills, click here.
Afterschool Alliance Article: Election 2020 Results From the Afterschool Policy Perspective
On November 6, 2020, the Afterschool Alliance released an article on the Election 2020 results from the afterschool policy perspective. The Alliance maintains that there remain bipartisan support for Out-of-School Time (OST) and summer learning programs in rural, suburban, and urban communities. To read the full article, with more specific details about elected officials and committees that oversee funding allocation for afterschool in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, click here.
U.S. Senate: 21st Century Community Learning Centers Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020 Proposed
On October 26, 2020, U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Tina Smith (D-Minnesota) introduced S. 4868, the bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020. This piece of legislation is designed to expand access to supervised learning for students through the remainder of the COVID-19 public health crisis. The legislation would provide $1.2 billion in additional funding and greater flexibility for the Nita M. Lowey 21st CCLC program by allowing afterschool providers to operate when schools are instructing virtually and not offering class in-person. The bill differs slightly from the U.S. House of Representatives’ version, which can be accessed here. To read the Afterschool Alliance’s full brief on the proposed legislation, click here.
U.S. Senate: Full-Service Community Schools Bill Introduced
On October 26, 2020, U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) introduced S. 4865, the Full-Service Community School Expansion Act of 2020. This bill will help schools and districts serve students, families, and communities by providing resources for public schools to be community hubs – using the community schools model to provide integrated student supports and expanded and enriched learning opportunities, as well as other support services to families. The proposed bill calls for the investment of $3.65 billion over the next five years to plan, implement, expand, and support full-service community schools, outlines grant opportunities for service, and would further develop the infrastructure to support these schools. To read more about the proposed bill, click here.
CNN: Federal Court’s Preliminary Injunction to Extend Census 2020 Deadline Rejected
Last week on September 24, 2020, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in the Northern District of California issued a preliminary injunction to respond to President Trump’s last-minute changes to the Census 2020 schedule. The preliminary injunction required the Census Bureau to continue counting the country’s residents through October 31, 2020, rather than the President’s proposed date of September 30, 2020. However, yesterday evening on September 28, 2020, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that he intends to conclude the Census on October 5, 2020. To read more on the issue, click here.
Afterschool Alliance: 21st Century Community Learning Centers Waiver Updates and FAQ
On September 18, 2020, State Education Agencies (SEAs), such as the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) received the template to apply for the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers Waiver. This waiver allows 21st Century programs to operate during non-school hours. SEAs must put out notice for public comment before submitting a request to the U.S Department of Education. The Afterschool Alliance reports that at least six states, including Indiana, Kentucky, New York, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Wyoming, are already accepting public comment. Grantees will need approval from their respective SEA to implement the waiver.
U.S. Department of Agriculture: Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Flexibility Announcement and Additional Funding
On September 18, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it is waiving area eligibility for Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) at-risk sites. To read more on this announcement, click here. You can also find more information on previous USDA meal flexibilities by clicking here.
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution, which included a bipartisan agreement that allocates nearly $8 billion for two nutrition provisions that connect kids and families to meals during the public health crisis. The legislation also ensured that:
- Pandemic EBT is funded and extended through the end of the current school year
- schools and community-based organizations have flexibility for how they serve meals during the pandemic through the end of the current school year
U.S. Department of Education: 21st Century Waiver Issued
On September 3, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it will be issuing a nationwide waiver which will provide 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) grantees with the ability to facilitate programming and provide support services during the school day. This decision will allow State Education Agencies (SEAs), such as the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), to waive the definition of Community Learning Center(s) as being entities only allowed to provide services during “non-school hours or periods when school is not in session (such as before and after school)” during school year 2020- 2021. While the notice allows for a 60 day comment period, the U.S. Department of Education is permitted to offer and approve waivers during the comment period. To read more, click here. To review the waiver request, click here.
U.S House of Representatives: 21st Century Community Learning Centers Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020 Proposed
On September 4, 2020, U.S. Representatives Susan Wild (D-PA) along with Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Dwight Evans (D-PA), and Don Young (R-AK), proposed the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020 in the House. This bill provides flexibility for grantees to facilitate either in-person or remote programming during traditional school hours when school is occurring not physically in-person, but rather virtually or in a hybrid setting. The legislation only applies to the 2020-2021 school year. To read more about the proposed bill, click here.
U.S. Department of Agriculture: Federal Summer Meals Program Waivers Extension Announced
On August 31, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it is extending nationwide waivers for a variety of programs, including the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO), until December 31, 2020. This flexibility will allow afterschool and summer learning providers to:
- Continue serving meals at no cost to youth throughout the fall
- Permit meals to be served outside of traditionally-required group settings and meal times
- Waive meal pattern requirements
- Allow parents, families, and guardians to pick-up meals for children
To read the full press release, click here.
U.S. House of Representatives: Two New Child Care Bills Passed
On July 29, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills relating to child care. The first, the Child Care is Essential Act, would provide $50 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). To read more about the bill, click here. The second, the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act, would increase mandatory CCDBG funding and expand child care tax incentives and deductions. To read more about this bill, click here. Both bills passed with bipartisan support and the legislation would apply to school-age care as well.
U.S. Senate: New COVID-19 Relief Bill Introduced
On July 27, 2020, U.S. Senate Republican leadership introduced its next COVID-19 relief bill. The Help End Abusive Living Situations Act (HEALS Act) is a package of bills that are now subject to bipartisan negotiations. The proposed relief bill has a total $1 trillion in funding and allocates dollars for education and child care in the following ways:
Augmenting the CARES Act Education Stabilization Fund (ESF): $105 billion
• $70 billion for public and private elementary and secondary schools, split 33%-67% based on district reopening plans. Afterschool is an allowable use of these Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund dollars.
• $29 billion for institutions of higher education
• $5 billion for governors to support K–12, higher education, and other education entities
Child Care Relief (which can be accessed by afterschool programs):
• $5 billion for CCDBG
• $10 billion for Back to Work Child Care Grants that are a little more flexible in nature
It is expected that a final package will move in the next several weeks before the U.S. House and U.S. Senate adjourn for August recess. To read more about the bill, click here.
Afterschool Alliance and Bipartisan Policy Center: $6.2 Billion Ask for 21st Century Community Learning Centers
Last week, the Afterschool Alliance, the Bipartisan Policy Center, and other community-based organizations (CBOs) wrote to Congress advocating for the inclusion of at least $6.2 billion in support of 21st Century Community Learning Centers in the Senate’s COVID-19 relief bill (HEALS Act). This aid would allow state education agencies to fund partnerships between local educational agencies and CBOs in order to provide safe out-of-school programming and expanded learning opportunities for students during hours they would otherwise be physically in a school classroom. It would also help support low-income and working families with child care. To read more about the Ask, click here.
U.S. District Court: Public Charge Rule Halted
On July 29, 2020, a U.S. District Court Judge from the Southern District of New York issued a temporary injunction that blocks the implementation and enforcement of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Public Charge rule nationwide for the duration of the COVID-19 public health crisis. To read the full civil suit, click here. The Judge also issued a nationwide preliminary injunction that prohibits the enforcement of the U.S. Department of State’s Public Charge rule and Health Insurance Proclamation, beyond the national emergency created by the pandemic. To review this ruling, click here.
U.S. Senate: Back to Work Child Care Grants Act Proposed
Senate Republicans proposed the Back to Work Child Care Grants Act, which is sponsored by Senator Ernst (R-IA) and Senator Alexander (R- TN). Currently, the bill does not specify allocation levels, but would provide stabilization funding to states to support child care providers. The proposed legislation would establish grants, extending for nine months, to child care providers including license-exempt school-age programs. This funding would complement services supported by Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). To read more about the Back to Work Child Care Grants Act, click here.
U.S. House of Representatives: FY 2021 Appropriations Passed
Last week, the U.S. House of Representative’s Appropriations Committee passed the FY 2021 Labor, Health, and Human Services-Education (LHHS-Education) bill along party lines. The bill increases 21st Century funding lines by $13 million. It is expected to pass the full House this week. However, it is not likely that the U.S. Senate FY 2021 appropriations bill will be passed until later this year. A Continuing Resolution is expected to keep the government funded after the current Fiscal Year ends on September 30, 2020. To review highlights from the LHHS-Education bill, click here.
- U.S. House of Representatives: FY 21 Appropriations Process BeginsLast week, the House of Representatives officially began the FY2021 appropriations process with multiple subcommittee mark-ups. Key funding provisions of the bill that will support afterschool and summer learning programs include:
- $13 million increase for the Nita M. Lowey 21stCentury Community Learning Center program
- $100 million increase for Child Care and Development Block Grant for a total of $5.9 billion
- $10 million increase for Title IV Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants for a total of $1.2 billion. These funds can be used for afterschool
- $172 million for an initiative to support social-emotional learning and “whole child” approaches to education, and includes $30 million for Full-Service Community Schools
- U.S. Senate: Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act ProposedOn July 1, 2020, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCERA) in the U.S. Senate. This bill would build upon the educational investments from the CARES Act and provide almost $430 billion in funding for child care, child abuse and neglect prevention, K-12 education, postsecondary education, services for individuals with disabilities, workforce development, and more. To read the full press release by Senator Murray, click here. To read the entire proposed document, click here.
- U.S. Senate: Bipartisan CORPS Act IntroducedTwo weeks ago, the U.S. Senate introduced the bipartisan Cultivating Opportunity and Response to the Pandemic through Service (CORPS) Act, which includes provisions that would improve benefits for national service members in programs such as AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps VISTA, and Senior Corps and increase the number of available service positions. To read the full brief by the Afterschool Alliance, click here.
- U.S. House of Representatives: Child Care for Economic Recovery Act ProposedOn June 25, 2020, the House Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal (D-Mass) introduced the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act, which would open up the child and dependent care tax credit for child care providers to cover mortgage payments, utility bills, and rent costs. The Act would also expand the employee retention tax credit to keep childcare workers employed. To read more about the Act, click here.
- U.S. House of Representatives: Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Legislation Passed in HouseOn May 26, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives proposed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, which would potentially loosen some of the restrictions stipulated for the conversion of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to grants that many nonprofits, community-based organizations, and charities applied for at the end of March 2020. The bill is expected to pass in the U.S. Senate with bipartisan support. To read the legislation, click here.
- U.S. Senate: The Work Opportunities and Resources to Keep Nonprofit Organizations Well (WORK NOW) ActOn May 18, 2020, the U.S. Senate proposed The Work Opportunities and Resources to Keep Nonprofit Organizations Well (WORK NOW) Act, which would authorize a major new grant program to help nonprofits — including OST and summer learning providers — retain their employees, scale their programs, and provide employment opportunities in communities. The legislation allocates $50 billion to create a program to be administered by the Treasury Department.
- 78% of funds are set aside for state and local governments
- 20% of funds are set aside for national nonprofit organizations to apply directly to the Treasury Department to distribute funds to local chapters and affiliates
- 2% of proposed funding set aside of funds is provided for Indian Tribes
The majority of federal funding must be used for employee compensation.
To read the a more in-depth summary of the legislation, click here.
- U.S House of Representatives: Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act
On May 12, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives proposed a new COVID-19 relief bill, a $3 trillion package, known as the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. It is currently only supported by Democrats. The HEROES Act would include additional funding for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, with $90 billion distributed to Governors, including:
- $58 billion for K–12 local educational agencies
- $27 billion for public institutions of higher education
- $4 billion for governors to support K–12, higher education and related activities
- $450 million each for the Bureau of Indian Education and outlying areas
The legislation has language calling for the fund to support the continuity of student engagement through social and emotional learning, professional development for staff on trauma-informed care, and the purchasing educational technology. The HEROES Act would also include an additional $7 billion in payments to states for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to remain available until September 30, 2021, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus (including for federal administrative expenses). Click here to read the Afterschool Alliance’s blog post.
- H.R. 748 – Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Signed into Public LawOn March 27, 2020,the President signed the third coronavirus aid package, the CARES Act.The CARES Act’s provisions would send checks to more than 150 million American households, set up loan programs for large and small businesses and nonprofits, increase funding for unemployment insurance programs, and heighten spending for hospitals, etc. The Act allocates several provisions that are essential for afterschool providers:
- The State Education Stabilization Fund can be used to support afterschool and summer learning programs and their providers.
- The additional funding for childcare can be used by afterschool staff that are continuing to stay open to serve their existing students and/or the children of health care providers and other essential staff.
- It makes it clear that nonprofits are eligible for all the resources targeted to small businesses.
- Makes changes to the charitable deduction for tax year 2020 to encourage support of nonprofit organizations.
- H.R. 6201: Families First Coronavirus Response Act Signed Into LawOn March 18, 2020, the U.S. Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act in order to provide paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing, expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requiring employers to provide additional protections for healthcare workers. That same day, President Trump signed the Act into Law, making it Public Law No: 116-127. For more information on it, click here.
- H.R. 6106: Developing Innovative Partnerships and Learning Opportunities that Motivate Achievement ActOn March 5, 2020, Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) reintroduced the Developing Innovative Partnerships and Learning Opportunities that Motivate Achievement (DIPLOMA) Act. This Act would provide federal grants to states, which would allocate subgrants to local partnerships to help meet students’ holistic needs beyond the classroom such as housing, nutrition, safety, and health services. Local partners include: afterschool providers, public school districts, local governments, nonprofits, businesses, foundations and community-based organizations. For more information on the types of services this Act allows, click here.
- S. 2683: Child Care Protection Improvement Act passes in SenateOn March 5, 2020, the U.S. Senate passed The Child Care Protection Improvement Act which establishes a federal interagency task force, chaired by the Administration for Children and Families, to support states in conducting required criminal background checks for childcare personnel. This task force will specifically evaluate how agencies are responding to interstate requests for information about childcare staff or prospective personnel who have lived in another state within the last five years. The Act will move onto the House of Education Committee. For more information, click here.
- Federal Government Confirms Implementation of New Public Charge Rule in Illinois Effective February 24, 2020The federal government has confirmed that they will begin implementing the new public charge rule in Illinois as of February 24, 2020. This proclamation comes after the U.S. Supreme Court decided to lift the public charge injunction in Illinois on February 21, 2020. To read this decision, click here. If you have questions regarding the public charge rule, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit the Protecting Immigrant Families Illinois (PIF-Illinois) website here.
- President Trump’s FY2021 Budget: Proposed Elimination of 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLCs)On February 10, 2020, the President released his proposed Budget for the Fiscal Year 2021 with the intention of eliminating funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) programs. This means that going forward, approximately 1.7 million youth and their families nationwide will no longer have access to quality afterschool and summer programming. Legislators in Congress have the power to decide whether or not local programs will continue providing vital services to young folks or if they will close their doors and negatively impact our youth. ACT Now Coalition and its partner networks in the 50 states urge you to advocate for the reinstatement of 21st CCLC funding. To take action, click here. To read the AfterSchool Alliance’s statement on the issue, click here. To review their blog summary of the President’s proposal, click here.
- USCIS Announces Effective Date for Public Charge RuleLast week, the U.S. Supreme Court set aside the initial injunction from New York (NY) that prohibited the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) public charge rule from taking effect nationwide. As NY was the final of three district court nationwide injunctions standing, this means the rule can go into effect nationwide – except in Illinois, where it is blocked by a statewide injunction. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency (USCIS) announced that it will only apply the Final Rule to applications and petitions submitted on or after February 24, 2020 (except for in the State of Illinois). For more information, click here.
- Federal Appropriations Update: Afterschool Funding Increased!House and Senate appropriators reached an agreement on final subcommittee allocations to avert a shutdown and fund the government. The final bi-partisan bill language specifying funding levels for all government programs provides $1.25 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers. This brings afterschool funding to an all-time high and is a testament to the strong 21st Century programs across our nation. Title IV Full Service Community Schools received $25 million, an increase of $8 million, to provide comprehensive services and expand evidence-based models that meet the holistic needs of children, families, and communities. For more information, click here.
- 21st Century Community Learning Centers Proposed Funding Increase: Last week, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) introduced legislation that would authorize doubling the current funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, with the additional $1.3 billion targeted to summer learning programs. The Family Friendly Schools Act also establishes a new Title IV Part G pilot program separate from Community Learning Centers, which would create 500 “Family Friendly Schools” that align the school day with the work day to better support working families, and disseminate the lessons learned from these model schools to communities throughout the nation. For more information, click here.
- Rural STEM Education ACT: This bipartisan bill was introduced by House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) along with Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Rep, Jim Braid (R-IN), and Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT). The legislation enhances STEM education at rural schools. Nearly half of all public schools are considered rural and more than nine million students in the United States–roughly 20 percent of all schoolchildren–attend rural schools. Rural schools face unique barriers to providing STEM education, including a shortage of science and math teachers, high teacher turnover, and difficulty accessing online and computer-based technology. H.R. 4979, The Rural STEM Education Act, gives teachers, students, and rural communities the tools they need to overcome these challenges, including NSF to provide rural STEM education grants that include working with afterschool and youth serving organizations to provide informal STEM education.
- Higher Education Act: The College Affordability Act passed the House Education Committee. It has strong language in Title II about partnering with afterschool, and including afterschool in grow your own teacher strategies. While progress was made on protecting the community service set aside in Federal Work Study, the bill still changes the 7% community service set aside to instead support work based learning.
- STEM Plan Update: The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy recently released a progress report on the federal implementation of the five-year STEM education strategic plan published in December 2018. The progress report combines an update on how agencies are implementing the new strategic plan with the inventory of federal investments in STEM education across the federal government. One of the more relevant pathways laid out in the strategic plan that applies to the informal STEM education field was a focus on developing and enriching strategic partnerships, particularly among federal agencies and education institutions, libraries, museums, and community organizations. Updates from a number of agencies are included in this section, providing insight into how the federal government is implementing the new plan. Check out the full progress report here.
- Public Charge in Illinois Update: Several federal court orders are blocking the public charge rule from going into effect. On October 14, 2019, the federal district court judge in the lawsuit pending in the Northern District of Illinois granted the motion for the injunction for Illinois, thus blocking implementation of the public charge rule in Illinois. These court orders could still be overturned, and the rule could still go into effect, but we will have notice when this might happen. However, for now the rule cannot be implemented in Illinois.
- Proclamation on Uninsured Immigrants: President Donald Trump issued a proclamation on October 4, 2019 that requires immigrants to prove they can obtain health insurance before they are issued a visa. Immigrants must now show that they will obtain health insurance within 30 days of their arrival in the US or otherwise demonstrate that they will be able to pay for their medical expenses. The new rule applies to people seeking immigrant visas from abroad — not those in the U.S. already. Additionally, it does not apply to asylum seekers, refugees or children. For more information, click here.
- Public Charge Rule Temporarily Blocked: On October 11, 2019, three federal courts blocked the Department of Homeland Security’s new public charge rule that was set to go into effect on October 15th. If implemented, the new public charge rule will set new standards for obtaining permanent residency and U.S. citizenship in order to limit immigration from those who might participate in taxpayer-funded benefits. It is possible that these federal orders will be appealed, however, the new rule is blocked for the foreseeable future until the corresponding lawsuits are decided.
- Youth Workforce Readiness Act: In late September, plans to introduce the bipartisan Youth Workforce Readiness Act were announced in the House and Senate by Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) and Reps. Josh Harder (D-CA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). The Youth Workforce Readiness Act would establish a competitive grant program at the U.S. Department of Labor for eligible afterschool programs. The grants would focus on four pillars of youth workforce readiness: essential skills development, career exposure, job-readiness, and work-based learning. To learn more, click here.
- Stopgap Funding Update: With only a few days to spare, Congress and President Trump agreed on a stopgap spending bill to avoid a government shutdown. Meanwhile, Senate appropriators continue to work on FY20 spending bills to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year. This means Congress has not yet set 21st Century Community Learning Centers’ funding levels for FY21. However, this is a forward funded program, so this year’s funding level is secure. To learn more, click here.
- 2020 Presidential Candidates: This interactive Education Week tracker gives you one-click access to where the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates stand on nearly a dozen major education topics including school safety, civil rights, teacher pay, charter schools, education funding, and more, along with biographical details on each of those seeking the White House. You can search either by topic or candidate. This tracker will be updated throughout the campaign based on what the candidates say and do.
- FY20 Appropriations Update: On Thursday, September 12th, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted along party lines to virtually freeze funding for the fiscal year (FY) 2020 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill at the current FY 2019 level. Due to a number of disagreements between members, the Labor-HHS-Education (LHHS) spending bill was not marked up last week, however a draft bill, summary, and report language were released to the public by the Appropriations Committee on September 18th. In the posted bill, which likely will be used to negotiate with the House-passed LHHS bill, 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) funding for afterschool and summer learning programs was frozen at last year’s level of $1.222 billion. For more information, click here.
- Afterschool & the Census: A new U.S. census will begin in 2020. The census is a count of people living in the U.S. that is conducted every 10 years. It is critical that the census is accurate, as the results of the census are used to determine how over $900 billion of federal spending will be allocated for the subsequent 10 years. Millions of U.S. children and youth rely on this federal support to attend afterschool and summer learning programs. The Afterschool Alliance has created a toolkit to help afterschool programs, staff, and youth insure that every member of their community is counted.
- Final Public Charge Rule Published: The Department of Homeland Security’s final public charge rule has been posted to the Federal Register for inspection, with official publication scheduled for Wednesday, August 14th. If litigation does not prevent the rule from taking effect, the policy will become effective in 60 days on October 15th. The rule sets new standards for obtaining permanent residency and U.S. citizenship in order to limit immigration from those who might participate in taxpayer-funded benefits. For more information, please see the following stories from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Politico.
- FY20 Appropriations Update: Last week the White House, Senate leadership, and House leadership announced that they had come to an agreement to increase spending capsfor FY2020 and FY2021. The spending deal paves the way for the Senate to join the House in passing their FY2020 appropriations bills with the new fiscal year scheduled to begin October 1, 2019. While the House bill included a $100 million increase for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) funding for local afterschool and summer learning programs, we will likely not know the Senate proposed allocation for Community Learning Centers until September.
- SNAP Rule Change: On July 23, 2019, the Trump administration issued a proposed rule that would take food assistance away from 3 million people by making them ineligible to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Because free and reduced price school meal eligibility is automatic for SNAP families, the change could mean fewer children receive free/reduced price meals – which impacts afterschool and summer meals, and Title I and 21st CCLC formulas.
- Building Blocks of STEM Act: The Building Blocks of STEM Act, which passed the House on July 23rd, directs the National Science Foundation to more equitably allocate funding for research with a focus on early childhood. The bill also directs the foundation to support research on the factors that discourage or encourage girls to engage in STEM activities.
- Afterschool & the 2020 Presidential Candidates: With the 2020 presidential election 16 months away, more than 25 politicians and business leaders have declared themselves candidates. Education has been a popular campaign topic for many candidates, from student loan forgiveness to increasing teacher pay, however several candidates have gone on the record in support of afterschool and summer learning programs as well. As of July 2018, here is where the 2020 candidates stand with regard to support for afterschool programs.
- Intersection Between CTE & Afterschool Programs: On June 25, 2019, the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus and Afterschool Alliance convened a briefing to discuss the newest iteration of Perkins that went into effect on July 1, 2019: Perkins V. This new legislation aims to increase learner access to high-quality CTE programs by focusing on systems alignment and program improvement. The briefing focused on providing facts on Perkins V and the importance of afterschool programs, data, and suggestions on ways that states can use the reauthorization to benefit all students. For a summary of topics covered at the CTE briefing, click here.
- FY20 Appropriations: Treasury Secretary Mnuchin announced Thursday that the Administration and Congressional leaders have reached an agreement on how much to raise the caps on defense and non-defense discretionary (NDD) funding for fiscal year 2020 and 2021, as well as raise the debt ceiling for two years. However, there are still important and possibly difficult details to work out, including what savings to include to offset some or all of the increased spending compared with the sequester-level discretionary caps currently in place. For example, a $100 million increase to the 21st Community Learning Centers program was approved by the House, but has yet to be taken on by the Senate due to the spending caps issue. Congress is scheduled to go on recess at the end of July meaning time is running out to finalize a budget caps deal.
- RISE from Trauma Act: The Resilience Investment, Support, and Expansion (RISE) from Trauma Act expands upon a GAO report released last month by Sen. Durbin (D-IL) and Rep. Davis (D-IL) and would help to build the trauma informed workforce and increase resources for communities to support children who have experienced trauma. Bill sponsors include U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and U.S. Representatives Danny Davis (D-IL-07) and Mike Gallagher (R-WI-08). The RISE from Trauma Act would expand and support the trauma-informed workforce in schools, health care settings, social services, first responders, and the justice system, and increase resources for communities to address the impact of trauma.
- At the House Oversight Committee hearing on childhood trauma held on July 11th, the Committee heard directly from trauma survivors, public health experts, and government officials to examine the long-term consequences of childhood trauma and the insufficiency of the federal response to this urgent public health issue. Witness Dr. Debra Houry, Director, National Center for Injury Prevention & Control, on behalf of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mentioned afterschool as a protective factor and Afterschool Matters in Chicago as a specific example when asked by Rep. Carol Miller (WV-3) about ways to mitigate childhood trauma resulting from the impacts of the opioid crisis on families and communities.
- Democratic Presidential Forum: The National Education Association (NEA) hosted 2020 presidential candidates at its annual Representative Assembly this month. Candidates appeared on stage one-by-one to answer questions on public education. Check out this article to learn about the key takeaways from the forum.
- Public Charge Update: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) public charge proposals are now at the Office of Management and Budget. For the DHS rule, this means that the rule is in the final stages of processing. We still do not know when a final rule could be published, but it is a strong signal that it may be finalized soon. For the DOJ rule, on public charge as a basis for deportation, this means that the initial proposed rule is being reviewed. This is a signal that we can anticipate a public comment period in the next few months.
- Summer Meals & Learning Act: The Summer Meals and Learning Act (S. 2070, H.R. 3667) was introduced last week by Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, along with Congressmen Joseph Morelle (D-NY-25) and John Katko (R-NY-24). The legislation would address summer learning inequality by keeping libraries open at schools that already serve free summer meals.
- Farm to School Act: The Farm to School Act (H.R. 3562, S. 2026) was introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH). The Farm to School Act would:
- Increase annual funding to $15 million and increase grant award maximum to $250,000
- Advance equity by prioritizing grants that engage diverse farmers and serve high-need schools
- Fully include early care and education sites, summer food service sites & after school programs
- Increase access among tribal schools to traditional foods, especially from tribal producers
- Summer Learning and Meals Act: The bill will be reintroduced by U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden of Oregon and U.S. Representative Joseph Morelle of New York’s 25th District. The new legislation would create a new federal grant program that provides grants to state libraries to allow schools with summer lunch programs to also keep their libraries open for student use during the summer months. By dedicating one day specifically to nutrition and wellness (July 13th), the National Summer Learning Association draws attention to the fact that the inequities of summer also extend to food security.
- No Federal Funds for Public Charge Act: Representative Chu (CA-27) re-introduced the No Federal Funds for Public Charge Act (HR 3222). The bill would prohibit any federal funds to be used to implement DHS’s public charge rule. Illinois co-sponsors so far include: Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) and Rep. Chuy Garcia (IL-04).
- Child Nutrition Act: Under the Child Nutrition Act, summer and afterschool meal sites qualify if 50% or more of children in the area qualify for free or reduced price school meals as defined by school or census data. This threshold keeps many communities with significant numbers of low-income children, but not a high enough concentration of poverty, from participating. Afterschool advocates are asking to change the area eligibility from 50% to 40% to increase the number of communities served. This is taking form in a bipartisan bill, the Summer Meals Act, HR 2818.
- Higher Education Act: The Higher Education Act is currently going through the reauthorization process where there is potential risk for the elimination of Federal Work Study (IV) 7% Community Service. The past three reauthorization acts have either eliminated or waived Federal Work Study (IV) 7% Community Service. This is a mandatory amount of money set aside for community service activities completed by eligible college students who are paid for that work. A common choice for those community service activities is working at an afterschool program, providing college students jobs and afterschool programs more staff without the financial burden.
- New Public Charge Research: The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) released a new paper titled, “Trump Administration’s Overboard Public Charge Definition Could Deny Those Without Substantial means a Chance to Come to or Stay in the U.S.” The paper examines the impact of the proposed Public Charge policy on U.S. citizens, if it were applied to them, and includes but is not limited to these findings:
- If one considers benefit receipt of U.S.-born citizens over the 1997-2017 period, some 43 to 52 percent received one of the benefits included in the proposed public charge definition.
- In just a single year, 3 in 10 U.S.-born citizens received a benefit included in the proposed public charge definition.
- For more information on how immigrant families engage with Public Benefit Programs, check out this article from the Urban Institute here.
- Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Proposed Changes to the Poverty Measure: On May 7, 2019, the Executive Office of President Trump and the OMB issued a notice of a proposed rule-making that would change how the poverty line is adjusted for inflation. The proposal would switch to an alternative inflation measure such as the Chained Consumer Price Index for adjusting the poverty line annually. Over time, this would reduce the number of people who qualify for health care, nutrition, and other aid, and in some cases the amount of aid qualifying individuals can receive. Read the Proposed Rule here. OMB will accept comments from the public regarding the rule-making until June 21, 2019.
- Child Care Development Block Grants (CCDBG): The Child Care and Development Block Grants (CCDBG) is a block grant to states for subsidized quality child care to eligible, low-income families. Currently, the President’s FY 2020 Budget indicates the same level of funding as last year. The U.S. House has proposed a $2.4 billion increase, and the U.S. Senate has taken no action yet.
- Commerce Justice Spending Bill: On May 22, 2019, the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year 2020 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies bill. It is noteworthy that this bill increases resources for programs that reduce violent and gun crime, including $100 million for youth mentoring programs.
- Summer Meals Act: On May 16, 2019, Congressman Rick Larsen (WA-2) and Congressman Don Young (AK-At Large) introduced the Summer Meals Act – bipartisan legislation to fight childhood hunger by expanding access to summer meal programs across the country. The Summer Meals Act would help strengthen childhood nutrition by cutting red tape for local organizations serving summer meals and expanding the availability of meals and snacks to students outside of normal school hours.
- Public Charge Update: This past Friday, the Trump administration released a proposed rule that would restrict access to housing services and supports. The Department of Housing and Urban Development released a proposed rule to limit “mixed-status” families’ access to housing aid, threatening the housing security of thousands of legally residing immigrant children and their caregivers. To learn more, click here. Having a hard time knowing what to say about public charge? This document will help you approach these types of conversations with your community.
- STEM Education Bills Introduced: March saw the reintroduction of two STEM education bills in Congress. The Building Blocks of STEM Act (S737, HR1665), is a bipartisan bill to support research in STEM education focused on early childhood. Additionally, the 21st Century STEM for Girls and Underrepresented Minorities Act (HR3119) was reintroduced in the House to provide grants for programs and curricula for girls and underrepresented minorities in STEM. A companion bill may be released for HR 3119 in the Senate in the near future.
- President Says Eliminate Afterschool: On March 11, 2019, President Trump called for eliminating federal funding for local afterschool and summer programs. These eliminations would include the Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants. If the funding is not maintained, over 50,000 children and families in Illinois would be left without reliable afterschool choices. Use this action alert to tell Congress that eliminating afterschool funding is unacceptable!
- On April 30th, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee marked up their FY2020 spending measure, showing strong support for education programs including a record funding level for federal afterschool support. Among the programs supported by increased funding is the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, which provides federal funds leveraged by local school-community partnerships to provide quality afterschool and summer learning programs to 1.7 million children.The bill provides the largest increase to 21st CCLC in more than 10 years, proposing to expand the program by $100 million. To learn more, click here.
- Every Kid in a Park Initiative: In 2017, the Every Kid Outdoors Act was introduced as a way of ensuring that the Department of Interior establish a program that gives fourth graders free entry to national parks and lands continues. The bill was never signed into law, however it is being reintroduced within a government lands package as the Every Kid in a Park initiative.
- Rebuild America’s Schools Act: On January 30th, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced H.R.865, the “Rebuild America’s Schools Act.” The bill would create a $70 billion grant program and $30 billion tax credit bond program to improve schools in high-poverty areas; develop a comprehensive national database on the condition of public school facilities; and expand access to high-speed broadband internet.
- 116th Congress Key Afterschool Issues: As January winds down and with the partial government shutdown on hold at least until February 15th, it is a good time to look at the new 116th Congress: what are the priorities, what might get accomplished, and what are the challenges and opportunities ahead from the afterschool advocate’s perspective.
The 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. The program helps students meet state and local student standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math; offers students a broad array of enrichment activities that can complement their regular academic programs; and offers literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.
Please be aware of the following updates and opportunities to take action.
- President Says Eliminate Afterschool: On March 11, 2019, President Trump called for eliminating federal funding for local afterschool and summer programs. These eliminations would include the Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants. If the funding is not maintained, over 50,000 children and families in Illinois would be left without reliable afterschool choices. Use this action alert to tell Congress that eliminating afterschool funding is unacceptable!
- On April 30th, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee marked up their FY2020 spending measure, showing strong support for education programs including a record funding level for federal afterschool support. Among the programs supported by increased funding is the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, which provides federal funds leveraged by local school-community partnerships to provide quality afterschool and summer learning programs to 1.7 million children.The bill provides the largest increase to 21st CCLC in more than 10 years, proposing to expand the program by $100 million. To learn more, click here.
- On Thursday, August 23, the full Senate passed a spending bill package that included the FY2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) spending bill. The LHHS bill was very similar to the one passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this summer and keeps federal 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) support for local afterschool and summer learning programs level with last year’s amount of $1.212 billion. The bill (H.R. 6157) passed with a vote of 85-7 marking a major bipartisan achievement. The Senate had not passed a LHHS bill on the Senate floor in over a decade. The next step in the FY2019 appropriations process is for the House to take up and pass the Senate version of the bill or pass their own version of the LHHS bill at which point the House and Senate would still need to combine their separate spending bills before a September 30 deadline. To read more, click here.
- On June 28th, the full Senate Appropriations Committee passed their FY19 education spending bill. It included funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) afterschool and summer learning programs at $1.212 billion. Funding allocations for other programs vital for children and families included:
- Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) at $5.2 billion
- Title I of ESSA at $15.9 billion
- Title IV Part A Student Support Academic Enrichment Grants at $1.225 billion
- Career and Technical Education at $1.2 billion
- Evidence-based STEM education programs, including computer science education, within the Education Innovation and Research program at $65 million
- On June 15th, the U.S. House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations (LHHS) Subcommittee voted to approve their FY19 spending bill. It maintains funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) afterschool and summer learning programs at the FY18 level of $1.212 billion. The bill will be considered by the full Appropriations Committee on July 11th before heading to the House floor. The federal fiscal year ends on September 30, 2018 and there is a possibility that Congress will pass a continuing resolution, putting off final spending bill decisions until after the November mid-term elections. To share with your legislators the importance of funding afterschool, click here. For more information on the appropriation proceedings, click here.
- On February 12, 2018, the Trump administration released its full FY19 budget. The proposal eliminates or cuts funding to programs that are vital for children and families, including:
- Funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC), the only federally sponsored afterschool program, was proposed for elimination.
- Funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), which supports low-income working families with quality child care, was reduced by $2.9 billion.
- Funding for Title IV Part A Student Support Academic Enrichment Grants, which provides all students with access to a well-rounded education, was proposed for elimination.
- Funding for the Youth Mentoring Initiative was reduced by $22 million for an allocation of $58 million.
- Funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service’s AmeriCorps VISTA, a volunteer service program used by many afterschool programs, received a proposed funding level of $5 million, which represents a $92 million reduction.
Other programs that support children and families identified for elimination or funding cuts in FY19 can be found here. To call on policymakers to continue to protect funding for afterschool and summer learning programs, click here.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the K-12 federal education law. It reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replaces No Child Left Behind. Signed into law on December 10, 2015, it returns significant management authority over K-12 education to the state and local school district. The law was designed to increase opportunities for local input and flexible decision making and will be phased in over the next few years. Many areas in the law provide opportunities to boost student achievement by building and strengthening before, afterschool and summer learning opportunities. ACT Now has developed a set of recommendations that demonstrate how afterschool programs are particularly suited to assist school districts in meeting their ESSA requirements as well as reaching their goal that students from all backgrounds are successful in college and their future careers. Those resources are below.
- School District Recommendations for Implementing ESSA
- Strategies for Using and Reaching Out About the ESSA Recommendations
- School District Recommendations for Implementing ESSA: Talking Points
- ESSA District Outreach Letter Template
- ESSA One Pager
- Program One Pager
- ESSA: Building Sustainable Bridges Between School Day and Afterschool Programs Webinar
- ESSA Webinar PowerPoint
- STEM Education Research Bill: Before the 115th Congress adjourned in December of 2018, the President signed the Innovations in Mentoring, Training, and Apprenticeships Act (H.R. 5509). This act provides $40 million in funding for the National Science Foundation to provide grants to universities and community colleges for research into STEM education approaches and STEM-related workforce issues.
- 2018 Federal Government Shutdown: Each year, Congress must pass a bill to allocate funding for the federal government. The money is used to fund everything from public schools and the Social Security program to the military and our national parks. Funding for the federal government ran out at the end of the day on December 21st and the House and Senate were not able to come to an agreement on how to fund the government beyond that date. Agencies such as the Department of Agriculture are impacted by the shutdown, however Child Nutrition Programs, including School Lunch, School Breakfast, and Child and Adult Care Feeding will continue running throughout the shutdown. Additionally, three-fourths of the federal government remains funded, including the Department of Education. Thus, afterschool programs will not be directly affected by the budget impasse.
- Update: On Friday, January 25, 2019, President Trump signed a bill to reopen the government for three weeks. Though afterschool programs were not directly impacted, several federal programs that support afterschool were directly impacted by the partial government shutdown. These programs include the Department of Justice’s youth mentoring initiative, as well as afterschool program support from national museums and parks. Additionally, if Congress and the President are unable to reach an agreement regarding the budget at the end of these three weeks, there is a possibility that the federal government will once again shutdown. This could lead to interruptions in child nutrition programs which would mean that afterschool programs could face a delay in reimbursement for meals served and some, which cannot float the money, may have to stop serving food that students rely on.
- Farm Bill Update: The reauthorization of the Farm Bill, a subject of intense negotiations, was signed into law on December 12th by the President. While few provisions impact afterschool programs directly, the bill does establish a new Agricultural Youth Organization Coordinator within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and recognizes the importance of involving youth in farming and ranching through programs like 4-H, Future Farmers of America, and Farm to School. The Agricultural Youth Organization Coordinator position is intended to promote youth-serving organizations and school-based agricultural education, serve as a resource for assisting youth organizations in agriculture in applying for participation in agricultural programs, and advocate on behalf of youth organizations in agriculture in interactions with employees of USDA.
- Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Act: On December 13th, sixteen years after last being reauthorized, the House of Representatives passed the Senate’s version of a five-year Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) reauthorization bill, sending it to the White House for President Donald Trump to sign. The legislation strengthens and updates the federal law that has been protecting justice-system involved youth since 1974, adding new prevention provisions including grant funding that can provide quality afterschool programming to young people. The law remains the only federal statute that sets out national standards for the custody and care of youth in the juvenile justice system and provides direction and support for state juvenile justice system improvements. Under the newly passed legislation, the core protections will be strengthened, and critical, research-based improvements will promote the rehabilitative purpose of the juvenile justice system.
- Stopgap Spending Bill: A partial government shutdown was avoided when President Trump on December 7th signed a stopgap measure, also known as a Continuing Resolution (CR), to fund several federal departments through December 21st, which affects some youth development programs. Five of the 12 Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bills that are required to keep the government running have already been signed into law, including the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. Therefore, programs such as 21st Century Community Learning Centers have been reauthorized. However, the remaining seven appropriations bills that have not yet been enacted.
- TANF Reauthorization: Two bills recently introduced in the Senate take very different approaches to reauthorizing the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which provides cash assistance and help in moving from welfare to work for low-income families with children. The first, introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) would extend TANF for three years, eliminate the ability of states to waive existing work requirements altogether, as well as make it easier for individuals receiving TANF benefits to participate in drug abuse, mental health, or rehabilitation treatments. The second, introduced by Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), would reauthorize TANF for 5 years, but would limit assistance to families with income no greater than 200 percent of the poverty level and would require all work-eligible individuals to meet monthly work hour requirements in order to receive benefits.
- Farm Bill: The United States Congress is considering a multi-year spending bill that will have a huge impact on the nutrition and well-being of millions of America’s most vulnerable citizens; children, families and even veterans. The bill, known as the Farm Bill funds key programs, including the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program as well as SNAP. Programs like these provide much needed assistance and nutritional balance to people in need and the farm bill is the only way to fund these vital programs.
- School Lunch Rules Update: The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its final school rule on school meals, relaxing nutrition standards championed by former first lady Michelle Obama. The new directive will ease requirements related to flavored milk, whole grains, and sodium in meals served through the National School Lunch and breakfast programs. Opponents of the original strengthened nutrition standards said they were difficult for schools to follow. Proponents of the nutrition standards set under the Obama administration said they are necessary to combat rising rates of child obesity and to guard against health concerns like heart disease, especially for students from low-income families who rely more heavily on school meals.
- U.S. STEM Strategic Plan: The White House unveiled their highly-anticipated 5-year STEM Education strategic plan detailing the federal government’s strategy for expanding and improving the nation’s capacity for STEM education and preparing citizens with the skills necessary for the STEM economy of the future. Regarding implementation, the plan highlights promoting informal STEM education, and the administration welcomes all stakeholders to engage with them to discuss implementation strategies and ideas that contribute to the plan’s execution.
- Every Kid Outdoor Act: There is currently bipartisan legislation that would get kids outside and moving.Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle came together to pass the Every Kid Outdoors Act, to help get our kids outdoors. The bill, introduced by Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), would encourage fourth graders and their families to visit America’s natural, cultural, and historical treasures. The bill authorizes the Department of the Interior, U.S. Forest Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Army Corps of Engineers, to administer a pass program to provide free entry for fourth graders and their families to visit our national public lands, waters, and shores. The companion bill is sponsored by Representatives Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Scott Tipton (R-CO), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), and Diana DeGette (D-CO), and also passed the House of Representatives.
- Opioid Crisis Response Act: The U.S. Senate is slated to debate an opioid package of more than 70 proposals this week, some of which include essential educational and community resources. It has been proposed that the Education Department should be able to award four-year grants to educational organizations to increase student access to trauma support services and mental health care. This measure would authorize $53.9 million annually from fiscal 2019 through 2023 for grants to support the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative and other activities for treating children who experience trauma. The measure also would authorize such sums as necessary from fiscal 2019 through 2021 for the CDC to collect data on adverse childhood experiences. Additionally, the measure would authorize a program through HHS, in consultation with the Education Department, to address substance use disorders among children, adolescents, and young adults.
- Click here to read a full statement by ACT Now on Education Secretary Devos’ recent Title IV-A comments.
- Update: U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos stated September 7th that she has no intention of taking any action or position when it comes to whether schools can use federal funds under the Every Student Succeeds Act to purchase firearms for teachers.DeVos’ letter comes after a top official in her department, asked about arming teachers in an interview with the Associated Press, said states and local jurisdictions always “had the flexibility” to decide how to use federal education funds.The letter appears to make it clear that the Secretary will not proactively issue guidance saying that it is okay for districts to spend their Title IV funds on guns or firearms training for teachers. But, importantly, DeVos also did not say that she would stop a district from using federal funding to arm teachers, if the district decided that was the best use of its Title IV funding. To read more, click here.
- Community Schools in Distressed Communities Act: On August 22nd, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced The Full-Service Community Schools in Distressed Communities Act (S. 3362) to help school districts and students affected by the opioid addiction epidemic.This bill will invest $45 million in full-service community schools and direct resources to schools serving low-income students particularly in areas with high poverty and high rates of substance use issues, fund site coordinators to work with designated school-site advisory teams, and set aside 30 percent of funds for rural schools.
- Summer Learning & Meals Act: On July 31st, Wyden (D-Oregon), Merkley (D-Oregon), and Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced the Summer Learning and Meals Act of 2018. The new legislation aims to help close the summer learning gap by keeping school libraries open at schools that already serve free summer meals.
- Restructuring Underutilized Resources for Advancing Learning (RURAL) Act: On July 25, 2018, Rep. Loebsack (D-Iowa) re-introduced the RURAL Act. In addition to establishing an Office of Rural Education at the federal Department of Education, the legislation would “enhance afterschool programs in rural areas by helping communities establish afterschool programs and improve existing programs by overcoming barriers to service.”
- Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act Update: President Donald Trump signed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. This is the first legislation Trump has signed that makes significant changes to federal education laws. The legislation is a reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, a $1.2 billion program last overhauled by Congress in 2006. The new law allows states to set their own goals for career and technical education (CTE) programs without the education secretary’s approval and requires them to make progress toward those goals, as well as additional changes to federal CTE law.
- Child Protection Improvements Act of 2017 (H.R.695): This bill was passed as part of the FY18 omnibus spending bill. It amends the National Child Protection Act of 1993 to provide youth serving organizations voluntary access to national FBI criminal history background checks to screen prospective staff and volunteers.
- Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2017 (S.860): This bill provides funding for delinquency prevention programming. It passed in the U.S. Senate on August 1st. The bill now heads to a conference committee to be reconciled with its House version, H.R.1809.
- Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act: This bill updates the Perkins career and technical education (CTE) legislation. It recognizes and supports the work afterschool and summer providers are doing to help students enter the workforce prepared and ready for well-paid, in-demand careers. On June 26, 2018 the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee voted to pass their version of CTE out of committee. The next step is for the bill to be presented to the full Senate. Similar to the House version, H.R.2353, the Senate’s bill promotes the inclusion of employability skills and establishes that career exploration programming can begin as early as the fifth grade. However, while the bill makes provisions for community-based partners to be included in the state plan, in comparison to H.R.2353 the language regarding community partners is not as strong.
On September 4, 2018, the Illinois P-20 Council met at Joliet Junior College. The Council heard a presentation from the Illinois Attendance Commission about the correlation between teacher attendance and student attendance. The Commission reported that the data was very nuanced, and it was hard to draw a direct correlation; but, the initial findings looking at CPS data showed a correlation as does national data. The Commission is continuing to look into this issue. The Council pointed out the passage of Perkins/CTE, which as many of you know from our previous updates includes a greater role for youth-serving organizations. The P-20 Council also heard a presentation on site-based expenditure reporting. In this presentation, ISBE representatives pointed out the number of districts operating below adequacy, the additional support low-performing districts will receive this year, the difference between site-based expenditure and site-based budgeting, and that this reporting is intended to not have data tell the story but to have needs inform the data. The Council also heard updates from committees, including the College and Career Readiness Committee who mentioned the expansion of competency-based districts and the initiation of a Perkins committee to implement the new law. The Family Engagement Committee mentioned parent engagement with ESSA, which is work with which ACT Now is greatly connected. To find meeting materials, click here.