The afterschool field needs active champions—whether you run a program or are one of many allies who recognize the value of afterschool programs. And 2016 is an incredibly exciting year for local, state and federal policy, as the country will elect a new president, 469 seats in Congress, as well as numerous local officials. Additionally, a new national education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), was just passed. States and districts are actively figuring out where to direct resources. We want all policymakers to understand the importance of afterschool STEM, and to actively support the solutions communities need. Over the coming months, the Afterschool STEM Hub will be actively producing and sharing advocacy materials to influence policymakers at the federal, state and local levels. This work builds on the significant policy and advocacy work of the Afterschool Alliance, and is done in collaboration with the STEM Education Coalition, an influential STEM education advocacy organization.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority in Congress, has established new funding streams that states and districts can employ to support informal, out-of-school, and summer education programs. In addition to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers funding stream, the new law includes a flexible block grant under Title IV Part A, called “Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants.” This funding stream can be used to support STEM programming in afterschool and specifically calls out supporting student participation in non-profit STEM competitions, hands-on learning, and integrating classroom and afterschool/informal STEM instruction. We have released an open letter to policymakers that urges them to ensure that afterschool, summer and informal learning are integral components of state ESSA implementation plans as well as any state level policy initiatives. Use the letter and the accompanying talking points to share this message broadly with your local policymakers over the coming year.
Give this paper to your local policymakers and education leaders to make the case for why informal and afterschool learning must be an integral part of policies to improve STEM education across the board. Written by the STEM Education Coalition, specifically for this audience, the paper includes a range of policy recommendations to address key challenges, such as integrating informal and formal learning strategies, dedicated funding for informal STEM learning, professional development for educators, and expansion of the knowledge base.Policy Paper
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides tremendous opportunity for statewide organizations to elevate the importance of afterschool and summer learning programs with key audiences and secure additional resources for out-of-school time. This online toolkit and playbook from the Afterschool Alliance will help you understand which parts of the new law have the most potential, who you can engage, and how. Additional guidance around STEM will be added soon.ESSA Toolkit
The Afterschool STEM Hub recently submitted a memo to the Trump Administration’s transition team. The memo outlines a vision and call to action around federal support to increase access to high-quality afterschool STEM programs.Download Memo
There are two pieces of federal legislation beyond ESSA that the Afterschool Alliance is tracking, as they have to potential to generate new resources and opportunities for afterschool STEM—the America COMPETES Act and the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act”, which is better known as the Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) bill. Read more at the Afterschool Alliance STEM Policy page.Federal Policy