Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Policy Recommendations for ESEA Reauthorization

By Guest Bloggers, Jessica Donner, Director, Collaborative for Building After-School Systems , and Jennifer Peck, Executive Director, Partnership for Children and Youth.

As you know, the federal reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) will influence the funding of the 21st Century Learning Centers (21st CCLC). The Partnership for Children and Youth and the Collaborative for Building After School Systems (CBASS) recently finalized ESEA policy recommendations and shared ideas to strengthen the 21st CCLC program with lead staffers from HELP (U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions) and appropriations committees in late March. Some of the key themes in our recommendations include:
  • Ensuring that local communities can choose from a variety of quality options that meet their needs for expanding learning opportunities
  • Ensuring all 21st CCLC funded programs are joint endeavors between schools and community partners 
  • Providing distinct and appropriate guidance for high-school level programs, recognizing the unique challenges and opportunities for this age group 
  • Structuring an accountability system that is clear and appropriate, based on research about what expanded learning opportunities can effectively impact, and include multiple measures
  • Recognizing and promoting the critical role of intermediaries in the success of programs and systems
In partnership with the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), CBASS and The After-School Corporation (TASC) co-sponsored a Congressional study tour of TASC expanded learning time schools in May, thanks to generous support from the Mott Foundation. During the two-day visit, two dozen Washington-based Congressional staff members and U.S. Department of Education policy leaders focused on the school-community model for expanding the time and ways students learn. We continued the discussion on June 27th, at an AYPF forum on effective school-community partnerships in Washington DC with more than 50 congressional staffers.

We’ll be sure to keep you updated as more activity unfolds. Likewise, we’d love to hear from you, and very much would like to hear your reaction to our policy recommendations. In addition, if your organization has developed your own recommendations, please send them along to jdonner@tascorp.org so we can help promote shared priorities.

Jessica Donner serves as the Director of the Collaborative for Building After-School Systems (CBASS), a partnership of after-school intermediary organizations in eight cities dedicated to increasing the availability of quality afterschool programming.

Jennifer Peck was a founding staff member of the Partnership For Children and Youth in 2001 and became its Executive Director in 2003. Jennifer leads a coalition of California organizations advocating for new federal policies to improve the effectiveness of after-school and summer-learning programs.

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